By: Phil Weller
Album Type: Demo (Remastered)
Date Released: 01/06/2016
Label: Totem Cat Records ||
Their slow but towering sound, such as on the grim skin crawler of ‘Night Creeps’, is hypnotic at worst, utterly captivating at best. But it is their ability to inject pace into their songs that, as would continue to be the case with later releases, stands as the record’s greatest moment.
“Forever Dead, Forever Stoned” CS//DD//LP track listing:
1). God Like
3). Mourning Sun
5). Night Creeps
6). Maleficium (Bonus Track)
The music industry needs bands like Goya. For, since 2012 they have been steadily churning out releases of consistent, Electric Wizard worshipping quality without fuss. They seem to roll up, light up and release the smoke dwelling jams that happen under the influence of the sweet leaf. There is no egotism, no attention hailing headline grabbing from the Arizona trio; their sole focus is on writing music of a staunch, demented and doom nature and inspiration, it seems, is never scarce for the band. They possess a work ethic you just have to admire.
‘Forever Dead, Forever Stoned’ represents their first steps as a band, their first demo now re-mastered for vinyl release. Now replenished with a crisper sound, it succeeds March’s buzz saw ‘The Enemy’ EP and 2015’s potent opus ‘Obelisk’, it is a record which represents the child of bong water and Black Sabbath. Nothing has changed in this band’s innocent ‘lets get fucked and write some tunes’ approach to songwriting since this debut, and to hear it with an improved quality is great fun.
Their slow but towering sound, such as on the grim skin crawler of ‘Night Creeps’, which hollers the album’s title over funeral procession drum work, is hypnotic at worst, utterly captivating at best. All unpolished whines of feedback and cracklings of fuzz pedals dialled just that little bit too dirty, offering further flavour to their witches brew.
But it is their ability to inject pace into their songs – and consequently a defining diversity amongst many of their peers – that, as would continue to be the case with later releases, stands as the record’s greatest moment. The jittering grooves of ‘Blackfire’ that warp and contort with the swing of Uncle Acid and the evil grimace of Candlemass are rich in character, infectious in the way that pinging snare drum buries itself deep into your psyche. The guitar work is fired up, the whole song possessed by a driving thump that mutates into an almighty racket come its final throes; delay infested wah and banshee scream feedback their weapons of choice here.
‘Maleficium’, the album’s slow but deadly closing number, echoes with the sound of the final nail being carefully fixed into a coffin, before once again a show stealing pace explosion turns all that on its head. You could argue that the mix is a little muddy here, neither the vocals, guitars, drums nor bass dominating proceedings at any given moment, but the raucous result is one of a unified noise that, put simply, just makes you wanna get high and have a good fucking time. The record, and indeed the band on the whole, was founded upon that mentality and all their imperfections, for this writer at least, are great big plus points.
RIYL: Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath, Sleep