Heavy music has been a mainstay in culture for some five decades now. Though popularity has fluctuated with inherent ups and downs over the years, the subculture has proven to be impervious to pop culture trends. Die-hards who waved the flag of Black Sabbath in the ‘70s and Saint Vitus in the ‘80s remain true to their beloved genre. As the rays of modernity shine down, Sweden’s Year of the Goat intend to buck the system as they prefer to perform a style that is more akin to the sounds of yesteryear. Forming in 2006, the band have released two previous full-lengths. Their third, Novis Orbis Terrarum Ordinis, will be unleashed upon the public on September 6, 2019.
Though the band excel in a style that is deeply soaked with late ‘60s and early ‘70s influences such as Blue Cheer and Blue Oyster Cult, theirs is a skill that is all their own. In forming their brand, they have assimilated their influences and finely tuned their style into one as independent and rebellious as Chief Rebel Angel himself. The open embracing of the occult brings to mind acts such as The Devil’s Blood and even Ghost, however, Year of the Goat differ much with their blend of the Psychedelic and Blues-based Hard Rock. It is an immensely organic sound devoid of stacks of rack units and digital processors.
Through the simplicity of a guitar plugged straight into the front of a tube amp, the Year of the Goat sound is ceremoniously born. This rich sound is proliferated through the superbly plush production contained on the album. One gets the feeling of being an active participant in the ritual, one that is conveyed in a very live manner. The fuzzy bass sound is stunning and locks in with the tightest of grooves alongside the solid and tight percussion. Vocally, Pope has an undeniable charisma, a slick style that cleverly hooks the listener and one may soon be singing along, in fact.
The songwriting on Novis Orbis Terrarum Ordinis is nuanced, mature, and actually, quite prolific. Over the course of nine tracks, the band extends its ritual necromancy in fire, spirit, and song. With Halloween not too far around the corner, this album would serve as a devilishly delightful soundtrack no matter how one chooses to celebrate and/or commemorate the occasion.
Beginning with “Subortus,” the album is launched smoothly and focused with a mission statement to perpetuate a consuming supernatural ceremony. It is an invocation of sorts with mighty guitar swagger and dramatic, soulful vocals. The fourth track, “Ira,” is certainly a highlight. An evocative ballad, it has a compelling swing with the gorgeous chime of slightly distorted guitar. Over nine minutes in length, it is an epic song with peaks and valleys causing it to resonate deeply within one’s consciousness. The brief solos are melodic and expressive giving the song an added dimension with a Dickie Betts meets David Gilmour approach.
The album really gets going with the arrival of the fifth track, “Superbia“. Uproarious and irreverent, it is definitely the most upbeat track on the album, however, the band tempers the intensity with well-chosen restraint allowing it to truly open up during the chorus. The keyboard work gives the song a haunting feeling during the verse. Full of hooks, it is simply irresistible in its seductive allure. “Avaritia,” the seventh track, sounds like a Psychedelic anthem penned exclusively for a new generation of rabid, demonically-driven devotees. The eighth track, “Invidia,” excels with gargantuan guitar harmonies that both sing and wail.
This band should be on the radio! Listening to the album, one can envision scantily clad devil divas go-go dancing underneath myriad colored and shaped lights. Bands like Lucifer, Jess and the Ancient Ones, and Bloody Hammers along with Year of the Goat are helping to keep the genre pure by extolling the virtues of past greats and firmly building upon them. In an era where bands enter the studio to simply cut and paste the hard work of others, it is refreshing to hear a band that still operates with old fashioned ethics and diligence. Year of the Goat is a band that could hook a kid who thereby goes seeking out more and thus discovers hidden gems like Lucifer’s Friend and Sir Lord Baltimore. As such, Year of the Goat’s Luciferian vision will truly liberate the minds of the youth.