Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Lavagoat - 'Monoliths of Mars' EP (Review)

By: John Slaymaker

Album Type: E.P.
Date Released: 10/02/2012
Label: Somnambulist Sound System
 
 
‘Galactic Dementia’ comes in heavy and angry, sounding a bit like Entombed had they more doom in them. Wide boy riffs with great dual guitars and vocals depicting scenes of violence and madness amongst the Vulcans.

‘Monoliths of Mars’ CD//DD track Listing

1). Forge of Vulcan (9:49)
2). Planet of the Dead (7:02)
3). Galactic Dementia (6:10)
4). Monoliths of Mars (21: 47)


The Review

The band  have a new E.P. to offer , though at 4 tracks and 45 minutes I’d be more inclined to consider this an album. Lavagoat released this self financed nugget earlier this year.   It’s called ‘Monoliths of Mars.’

‘Forge of the Vulcan’ starts off nice and melancholy, and sets the scene for space exploration, with some psyche guitar flourishes. The rhythm starts to build and pound with a really good bass drum sound, nice and deep and commanding. Twin guitars chew up 3 rotating riffs, still building, giving you no insight to what’s coming next. After three minutes the verse comes in, accompanied by a meaty growl of a voice, which completely distracts me from the very talented and spacey artwork.  Vocal splurges and chuggy guitars with the bass not far below them, like a mad beast waiting to lunge. Man these Vulcan's are pissed off. The Vulcan’s then slow their pace and wring themselves out, slowly chugging and thrashing, not wanting to die just yet. Some spacey interludes follow, then very cleverly leads us into the intro to ‘Planet of the Dead's low ended bass riff with guitars and effects really setting up for the madness to come. Already sounding like a horror soundtrack to the recent film Apollo 18, I think they must’ve borrowed Hawkwind's effects box, because there is so many fantastic cosmic space excursions on offer.

‘Galactic Dementia’ comes in heavy and angry, sounding a bit like Entombed had they more doom in them. Wide boy riffs with great dual guitars and vocals depicting scenes of violence and madness amongst the Vulcans.  Now for the highlight and title track, vocals sounding much like Lee Dorian and it does sound a bit like Cathedral, very doomy and twisting. After 5 minutes it starts to make it’s mark inside my head, these boy’s have a penchant for very hooky riffs, coupled with very passionate playing, and also some great guitar tones, the two just different enough to compliment each other.  This is a 20 + minute monolithic beast of a track and the song really should have ended around the 8 minutes, but lingers on with even more great spacey sound effects, I had to turn the stereo off suddenly as I thought a plane might be about to crash into the house!  This twisting mash of modulation goes on for another 10 or so minutes, as if it were the eerie calm after a missile barrage.

It’s not over though, as now we have a flanging guitar riff, very much sounding like classic Tool, but then we get vocal harmonies (I suspect the whole band joined in on these) and it all starts to sound like Alice in Chains, which is wonderful really. The guitars pick and pluck now, going into some typical post rock, which creates a nice mellow atmosphere. It’s at this point I realise this must be the epilogue to a classic sci fi story, like the old black and white TV series and B movies of the 50’s and 60’s. 

In conclusion this is a really good psychedelic doom album.  There were moments at first that the guitars reminded me too much of Swedish death metal, but on the umpteenth spin, it all seems to have settled down and made this sound their own, the sound of Lavagoat. 9/10

 



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