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Goatlord, or perhaps the end of a career? Call it what you will, but Darkthrone still made the decision to release this material. Is it fair to say it was unnecessary? I'd say so. Just as things were going well for Darkthrone, they messed it up by allowing Goatlord to be heard by the adoring fans world-wide. It's symbolic of the beginning of the end for a band who showed so much promise and potential.
There are numerous failings when it comes to Goatlord. As the material comes from a rehearsal tape, it is quite obviously and expectedly poor quality in terms of production. Lo-fi and scratchy in sound, hearing each instrument can become a challenge. Given the fact that there isn't much to appreciate here, perhaps challenging one's self to being able to decipher everything over the poor quality production is the only worthwhile thing to do. The vocals are substandard. Considering the fact that Fenriz claims to have recorded the 'female' vocals himself gives the listener a clear indication of what to expect. I'm not sure what these 'female' vocals are meant to add in terms of depth and additional qualities. I'm not a huge fan of female vocals as it is. There are even some form of clean vocals present, which adds to the confusing surrounding this full-length.
The fact that the vocals vary throughout is somewhat confusing and isn't necessary, just like the release of this full-length in general. Deep growls, tortured screams and whiny high pitched vocals reign supreme. It's hard to find a justification for this album considering it was recorded between what most people call their best albums to date. It would be somewhat understandable if the material was recorded years before they produced their best work, but it wasn't. It was practically in their prime. It makes no sense for them to release this amateurish, inept and unskilled piece of work.
Simplicity has never really been an issue for me, but Goatlord showcases a dull and lifeless form of simplicity that won't live on in the memory for any positive reasons.