Whenever I put a new record on for the first time, there’s always a thought that comes in my head about how did the band decide upon their music. I mean that more in the sense of was there some kind of discussion upon forming the band that they were going to have a specific kind of sound. Especially bands that fit really well into a specific genre. Like, did Goatess have initial conversations about being a super spacey stoner doom band? Or is this just what naturally happened when these four dudes got together in a room?
I ask these questions because Blood and Wine is an excellent example of modern stoner doom. The Stockholm-based quartet are some serious students of music history as they have managed to create a sound that essentially sounds like a compilation of who’s who of stoner metal. Every track is completely drenched in fuzz and keeps things slow and riffy. If you’re a fan of a stoner metal band, you can find something in Goatess’s sound that you like a whole heck of a lot.
What stands out to me most about Blood and Wine is the atmosphere it creates and the imagery it conjures. The best psychedelic music can create the visualizer-style kind of effect in your brain when the music starts. You can see kaleidoscope patterns swirl and magnify in your brain as spacey riffs flow through each track. Straightforward but infectious rhythms and drums keep the groovy images alive without fully distracting you from each track. Each track has that signature drone that stoner doom bands are known for, and it doesn’t feel like it’s being drawn out for the sake of it.
Any individual track on Blood and Wine could give you these impressions, but listen to “What Lies Beneath”. A good drum beat introduces you to a really fuzzed-out riff. The riff is repeated before sending you into the chugging verse riff. The riff is spacious enough to let the vocals breathe and not have to compete against the wall of sound behind it. This track really does feel like it’s been lifted right out of the 70s. Bands like early Black Sabbath, Foghat, and Blue Öyster Cult come to mind. Goatess have cultivated a wonderful throwback sound that feels like an old hoodie. It’s always comfortable and readily welcomed.
Blood and Wine is a pretty enjoyable album overall. If this kind of sound is what you’re into (i.e. fuzzy guitars, plenty of riffs, good grooves, etc.), then you’re going to love Blood and Wine. It isn’t breaking new ground in metal or music generally, but not everything has to. Something can be deeply enjoyed just because it is, and encouraging the idea that everything has to be mind-blowing will leave you disappointed. Goatess is really good at taking the 70s riff rock sound and making new songs that fit the bill. It’s just a lot of fun, and fun for the sake of it is just fine by me. So pick up Blood and Wine and have fun, kiddos.
Blood and Wine is available Sept. 23 via Svart Records.