Brighton’s own progressive doom metallers King Goat caused waves in 2016 with their debut release Conduit, that had many outlets raving about the band, earning them a well-deserved place on many end of year lists. Now 2018 has rolled around and the band are returning hot off the heels of a tour with titans of gloom Paradise Lost to unleash sophomore effort Debt of Aeons.
I had the fortune to catch them on their outing in Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms where the band premiered the eponymous title track of the album, whetting plenty of appetites for new music and showcasing a promising progression from their sprawling as well as crushing and epic debut.
Debt of Aeons delivers on the promises of Conduit and more; vocalist Trim steals the show again with a masterclass in epic vocals, effortlessly switching between epic, operatic doom vocals, in the vein of Candlemass, as well as snarls and roars that cut to the bone with their sheer emotional heft and rawness. He doesn’t overshadow the band though with guitarists Petros and Joe providing rumbling, cathartic and gargantuan riffs interspersed with furious solos and the rhythm section of Reza on bass and Jon on drums are the bedrock and foundations underpinning King Goat’s mountainous offering.
Opening with ‘Rapture’, Debt of Aeons’ leave-no-survivors approach is evident; the band weld monolithic, heaving riffs to proggier tendencies as well as epic doom. ‘Eremite’s Rest’ features a serpentine solo that binds together the slow, unforgiving main riff of the track as well as Trim’s growls that have all the subtlety of a brick. It also utilises a drastic shift in tone during a quieter passage that gives way once more to theatrical vocals accompanied by urgent, frantic guitar harmonics.
Title track ‘Debt of Aeons’ is a standout even amongst the quality on display, opening gently with somber melodies and subdued vocals before consuming all in its path like the slow, inexorable march of a lava flow. Morose but frantic guitar melodies entwine with operatic and furious growls employed to incredible effect by Trim. The false ending at the four minute mark allows the song to shift gears, if not in tempo then in feel as Gregorian-esque chanting is heard under swirling guitars and pounding drums and culminates in an unholy, throat shredding shriek. Lead track ‘Doldrum Sentinels’ is a masterclass in bombast and ritualistic doom, equal parts majesty, somber and furious. What King Goat do best is evident - their sound is desperate, longing but with a real sense of catharsis, the sound of despondency but not utter hopelessness.
King Goat excel in crafting desperation-filled soundscapes that reek of urgency despite the often slow or middling tempo, flattening all in their path; their sound is monolithic but with a feral beauty to it, the combination and the execution so entrancing that the album flies by which belies its near 50 minute run time. The sound, despite similarities with doom pioneers Candlemass, is in a league all of its own, in large part owing to having such a unique voice at the forefront with incredible emotion and range and their songwriting ability is peerless for a band only on their second release. Debt of Aeons is a sprawling beast of an album with its majesty and arcane, esoteric ritual, showcasing why King Goat are one of, if not the most exciting prospect in British doom right now and should absolutely not be missed.
Highlights: Debt of Aeons, Doldrum Sentinels, On Dusty Avenues
Debt of Aeons is out April 20th via Aural Music