Friday, February 5, 2016
Satanic doom champions Goya are giving listeners another reason to revisit their majestically evil and sonically depraved Satan’s Fire EP (review HERE). Released in 2014, both digitally and on limited CD through Owens’ own Opoponax Records imprint, Satan’s Fire found Goya seamlessly blending evil, freak-out psychedelia in the vein of Glitterhouse Records-era Monster Magnet (particularly opening track “Malediction and Death”) with the filthiest, sleaziest riffs to emerge from the bloated underbelly of the doom underground. While the Satan’s Fire 7” is not a literal translation pressed on wax, sadly, as it only features the title track, BUT there is more than enough reason to hunt down the new 7” other than having the ability to bury a needle into “Satan’s Fire” or for simply being a completist. The Satan’s Fire 7” may have shed the awesome “Malediction and Death” and the haunting percussive instrumental “Symbols,” but it does come backed with an incredible cover of Iron Maiden’s “Wrathchild.”
Barely recognizable upon a casual listen, Goya’s subsonic, bass-heavy rendition—like a heaving mass of rising dough—palpably bloats its way through stereo speakers and menacingly threatens to suffocate the listener for its six minute duration. Goya defiantly matches Iron Maiden’s galloping energy with a gargantuan, sloth-like lethargy. Where Paul Di’Anno imbued “Wrathchild” with a streetwise, yet likeable upbeat sneer, Jeff Owens counters with a suitably gruff, road-weary bellow. Both versions have exceptionally killer, somewhat spacey guitar solos, but Owens’ are appropriately twisted and acid-drenched.
No matter what tune Goya had decided to tackle from Iron Maiden’s vast discography the results would have been remarkable, but it is particularly cool that the band chose an upbeat number from the Di’Anno era to deconstruct and rebuild into an abominable golem of doom-and-gloom. Fans of Maiden or not, Goya’s rendition of “Wrathchild” is worth the price of admission alone.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
The phrase “power trio” is often bandied about for any old act consisting of three players, but if there’s any current band truly deserving of that designation it would be Fargo, North Dakota’s Egypt. The band’s second full-length, Endless Flight, spotlights everything that the band has done so well since the release of their debut self-titled EP (review HERE). Endless Flight is a ceaseless blitz of bluesy, often doom-laden riffs, powerful vocals, and molten leads that are both soulful and sublime.
The opening title track is one of the most enjoyable sonic experiences that the band has recorded up to this point. The bluesy opening guitar notes are reminiscent of the late great Junior Kimbrough, but there the similarities ends. “Endless Flight” has a timeless, classic rock feel that simply smokes. This is a blues driven hard rocker that ebbs and flows from upbeat barnburner to laidback, downtempo groove. Vocalist and bassist Aaron Esterby really delivers one of his finest vocal performances by balancing his gruff bellows with more melodic passages.
If there’s a single track that truly reveals the band firing on all cylinders that would have to be the excellent second track, “The Tomb.” It’s a darker journey compared to the album opener and finds the band foregoing calmer waters in favor of in-the-red, amp blowing stoner groove. Esterby and drummer Chad Heille are completely locked in and really lay down a pulsating rhythm that is programmed to destroy. And those leads. Neal Stein layers the tune with fluid, acid-drenched leads while Esterby and Heille keep the momentum rolling at a steady, earth-quaking pace (check the latter half of “Shaman’s March” for an equally awe-inspiring performance).
Endless Flight, with its doom-tinged, blues driven hard rock, is not much of a departure from the band’s excellent 2013 full-length Become the Sun, but it does come across as meticulously refined almost to the point of perfection. Egypt has, from the very beginning, proven to be the real deal and the band continues to hone their sound—the musicianship on Endless Flight is staggering and is in no short supply of obliterating riffs and extended jams. The perfect way to close out a year…