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A Decent Start - 77%

CountFistula, April 23rd, 2008

'Goat of a Thousand Young' marks GBK's entrance into the (at the time) budding USBM genre. While it's hard to consider this 'pure black metal', the performance across these four songs is pretty good for its day and age. All the tracks here are memorable, if not down-right catchy.

The songs on 'Goat of a Thousand Young' are driven by mainly thrash-oriented riffing with the occasional melodic lead, up-tempo drumming and pretty sub-standard black metal vocals that are, sporadically, a bit too theatrical for their own good. The music is also accompanied with occasional keyboard parts that, much like the vocals, are just a little too corny. The lyrics are mainly oriented around 'LaVeyian' Satanism, with one of the tracks utilizing the Seventh Enochian Key. The guitar work moves around simple song structure ideas, utilizing repeated song sections, with the intermittent break or bridge to vary things up a bit. 'Shemhamforash', the opener, shows some quick triplet work that weaves into a melody before turning back into a driving arrangement of simple two-note chords to keep things moving forward, while 'Sumerian Fairy Tale' shows off some palm-mute/power chord thrash-like writing that's a little more direct and a little more faster.

What really hurt this demo are some sections of the vocal work, such as those within 'Goat of a Thousand Young'. While the aforementioned is a pretty killer track, it is painful to hear the 'Crypt-Keeper' style laughter employed by the vocalist that really turns things sideways and puts a damper on the whole progress of the song. The keyboards are also pretty painful in some parts, especially the beginnings of 'Sumerian Fairy Tale’ and 'Shemhamforash' (the prior track having its keyboard intro removed in future versions of the song'). The only other problem is how contemporary some of the song-writing is, not to be taken the wrong way…the song writing is solid for being early demo material, the problem is the lack of anything ‘daring’ or original.

The production is more then ample. The instruments cut through clear with a hazy warm tone spread across the mix, bearing a nice strong low end presence (a surprise for it's age, and the fact that it's a demo), with none of the instruments attempting to beat one another out of the spotlight. The riffs can be picked apart, and the vocals can actually be understood word for word.

Overall, this is a decent first shot by a band that is often considered one of the pioneers of USBM. While this isn't 'true' or 'pure' black metal, it is still solid material to kick around and enjoy a few times over, and GBK fans will appreciate hearing the bare ideas of some of their more popular, earlier songs. Unfortunately, it's maybe only GBK fans that will want to check this out...

A charming little number. - 87%

Feeble_screams, March 9th, 2007

This is GBK's first demo, containing 3 songs featured on "Mocking the Philanthropist", and Goat of a Thousand Young from "A Witness to the Regicide" EP. The songs here are nearly the same as their later versions, although one noticeable difference is the use of occasional synth/keyboard melodies, including an intro at the start of Shemhamforash not featured on the first full-length. There is also apparently a different lineup, from what I can tell. (aside from Gelal, I don't know who exactly is playing what).

The music itself has a standard analog feel to it, with all of the instruments audible and mostly very clear. Gelal’s perfomance/songwriting is definitely a standout factor of GBK's work, and this offers no less. Vocals are a bit louder than the music, and the lyrics can actually be deciphered within. The only real set back here, if any, would be the vocal performance, which seems a bit theatrical and amateurish (for lack of a better description) as he seems to randomly emphasize (with volume) certain stanzas over others. Despite that, this is a relatively good first demo, showcasing the talent that Grand Belial's Key had at such an early stage and considering the fact that it was released in a still relatively primitive era. This might appeal to more of the diehard GBK fan base rather than someone looking to start with the band. It serves to be an interesting first demo, but the listener is more advised to seek out the songs here in their latter versions, which are simply better.