Goatpsalm – Downstream

Let’s try to think of someone who, while proposing a form of funeral doom with broad connotations ambient and even filling it with ethnic elements, can nail for an hour to the chair the unfortunate listener offering him any kind of feeling except the most deleterious, boredom. An enterprise, the one just described, which is the prerogative of a few daring among which you can count Goatpsalm, Russian band that, with this his third full length, Downstream, moves much further the known boundaries of the most disturbing musical forms giving birth (so to speak) a magnificent work, which annihilates and oppresses without any failure. In addition to the ability to make functional to the final yield every single step, moving in a territory where the risk of dispersion is, however, very high, it should be noted that the Goatpsalm are a real band, as it includes four musicians of thickness able to erect a sound envelope of unknown quality to the frequent releases of similar tenor, especially if the work of a single musician. Just this, together with a certain care for details that includes, of course, a production at the height, provides a picture of the whole that makes the work constantly pervaded by a dark tension that, however, in its rare melodic outbursts or folk nuances, manages to reach emotional peaks not indifferent. In Downstream sometimes it seems to listen to Dordeduh (and, therefore, to Negură Bunget before the split) devoted to funeral rather than to the black matrix (which, however, is also manifested here, with references to the French avant-garde scene), but every approach is aimed mainly to frame in some way the sound of Goatpsalm without necessarily wanting to identify a specific influence. The first 25 minutes, which see the succession of Grey Rocks and Flowers Of The Underworld, are already able to produce dismay, with the opening track that in ten minutes contains ambient, experimental and funeral impulses without these components ever appear disjointed from each other, while a footprint ethics, supported by female vocals of mold “galasian”, dominates the next, the real masterpiece of the album. What remains is also a lot of stuff, with the soft electronic carpet of White Sea, the sometimes brutal noise of Orphan, the avant-garde black of Of Bone And Sinew, the long delirium of the frightening ambient The Waylayer and the conclusion entrusted to the title track, to close an emotional circle from which, in the long run, will become almost impossible to escape. One of the most convincing and impressive works among those released in this area during 2016, and this is said by someone who, as a rule, prefers funeral forms much more linear and tear-jerking than the restless and suffocating expressed by Goatpsalm.

2016 – Aesthetic Death