For the first time in 15 years, Goatsnake has a new record.
The album, “Black Age Blues” is doomy as ever and it puts the “south” in Goatsnake’s new label and home Southern Lord Recordings (for which this is their first true release with).
Defiantly sludgy riffs merge southern rock and stoner metal; appropriately setting the albums tone from square one with “Another River to Cross.” The opener softly lulls you in with the sounds of rain, church bells and a gospel choir before kicking you in the teeth with heavy growling guitars.
Next up is a hot order of good vibes and southern hospitality with the insanely catchy “Elevated Man” and “Coffee & Whiskey.” The grooves are so tasteful you’ll be banging your head and snapping your fingers in no time. These two will get stuck in your head and cause one to strut down the street like an elevated man with said tasty beverages on the brain.
Before we go any further, it is worth noting that the albums artwork completely defines “Black Age Blues” before hearing anything. A southern church with an ominous storm brewing in the distance. The sheer simplicity alone shows us how clear of a vision the members of Goatsnake had going into this.
The title track, “House of the Moon” and “Jimi’s Gone” take a more serious shape for the second act; cranking the doom with more of the heavy and less pizzazz. The latter leaves sorrow in the air with a tinge of despair looming overhead. “House of the Moon” especially quells much of the upbeat from the first third of the album with roaring dirges and a murky midsection. The drums especially take the pace as they channel the river downstream before the fall of the third act.
“Black Age Blues’s” torrential downpour rages on with “Graves,” “Grandpa Jones” and the closer; “A Killing Blues.”
“Grandpa Jones” is a masterpiece unto itself and one of the best pieces Goatsnake has ever written. The hook of the chorus presents itself as an audible offering to any fan of metal. “A Killing Blues” brings the album full circle with a reprisal of the opener’s use of the gospel choir and the pitter-patter of rain; a calming end to a beautiful and treacherous outing.