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Goatlord is Darkthrone’s sixth album by time of release and their second by time of composition. The music is basically death metal from their rehearsal era with vocals added in 1994, including backing vocals by Satyr of Satyricon and female vocals allegedly recorded by Fenriz himself. Unfortunately this is quite a weak combination of sounds and one which ultimately ruins this album.
The death metal instrumental work here is relatively good. Some parts like the end of the opener, Rex, are actually quite good, as are parts from other songs. This is just on the instrumental side though, and nothing here reaches what I’ve heard neither from Soulside Journey nor from Darkthrone’s demos. For example, the 9-minute instrumental Snowfall easily kills this entire album in terms of technicality and songwriting and it’s been recorded in 1988 for the “A New Dimension” demo. Goatlord isn’t much more than a rehearsal with vocals added later on and this painfully shows.
The vocals are what take this album to the brink of being complete shit. First of all, Nocturno Culto’s standard black metal rasp isn’t too bad compared to the rest of the vocals on the album but even this rasp is inferior to almost everything he’s done on other albums. Then we have the clean vocals. I don’t know who does them, but they fucking suck. And finally in the vocal department we have the female vocals. I don’t really care if Fenriz became an audio transvestite while doing them or if someone else did them because either way they suck and have no place on this album. Now I can appreciate both clean and female vocals but here they’re executed in such a laughable way that they nearly eliminate all potential enjoyment for this album.
Lyrically this is pretty standard stuff for either black metal or death metal…stuff about death, darkness and some anti-Christian stuff here and there. They’re not bad but nothing to get excited about either.
Now I haven’t heard the newer Darkthrone albums which are considered crap or sell-outs by many reviewers. In fact the only albums done after Goatlord’s release that I’ve heard are Total Death and Hate Them but they’re both far better and well written than this. Goatlord’s just a death metal rehearsal with added vocals (which are shitty for the most part). It should be regarded as such when one considers buying this. While a couple of listens might be worth your time only consider getting this after all other Darkthrone albums or if you’re interested in the period between the first and second Darkthrone albums.