Apparently, I am in one of those stoner/doom moods today. This is the BIG DADDY doom album for me. If you are a doom fan and have any respect at all for the doom of yore, in your mind you have a throne carved out of solid black obsidian. In that throne sits the ultimate and first doom album (and arguably, the first heavy metal album at all) The self titled Black Sabbath. It is THEE heavy, it opens with THEE riff, it is THEE alpha. The following five Sabbath albums are a royal court of sorts, but we are not discussing them, enough has been written about the Sabbath. Perched atop that obsidian throne with folded wings, holding all around it within it's steely gaze, clinging fast to it's lord's every command, striving for it's master's approval is the doom of now represented by a single album. It's not in the royal bloodline, it's not even the same species as royalty, but it makes sure that the doom of yore is not forgotten. It is the protector and the enforcer.
The album is different for different people. For some it is Epicus Doomicus Metallicus from Candlemass. For some it may be Forest Of Equilibrium from Cathedral. Others may feel it is Sleep's Holy Mountain or Turn Loose The Swans from My Dying Bride. For me, it is Flower Of Disease from Goatsnake.
I don't know exactly why the stars aligned for me on this one. It could have been any of the aforementioned albums really. It just struck me the instant I heard it. Greg Anderson's molasses guitar tone, the way the riffs swung from Greg Roger's drumming. Pete Stahl's incredible voice. The vocal melodies (dare I say, soaring? Celine Dion it's not.) Everything. In some ways, it betters the formula. It never boogie's, but there is a southern rock drawl to it that keeps it just shy of falling straight into the classic doom catagory. It never drones, but there is something strangely reverent about the way the riffs are treated by the vocals, and how the vocals are treated by the riffs. The songs don't often even shamble past the 7 minute mark. They actually keep pretty close to the 5-6 minute range, which for some of the windier doom bands, can be a radio edit. For the windiest, a snippet.
This is hands down, one of the most stick-to-the-ribs doom metal albums of all time. Every song has that payoff, and you don't have to sit through 20 minutes of mournful wailing to get to it. This is doom metal that means business. The songs are as abrupt and complete as Goatsnake's own abbreviated career (2 full lengths, 3 EP's) This was released long before the current doom-chic trends became de riguer for the skinny pants/fixed gear bike hipster set. I blame Isis.
rateyourmusic has an amazon.com feed that I peeked at when getting the cover art for this post. Flower Of Disease is currently going for $49.00. This gets my hackles up. Fucking greedheads. When I got this CD, Southern Lord was literally GIVING it away with every Goatsnake T shirt purchase. High five to me for being proactive. Until such time as the price actually comes down though:
put this in your ipod and smoke it