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Taste BlackGoat's Finnish Steel! - 95%

BlackMetal213, May 21st, 2015

Wow. Where to start with this album? Goatmoon is a black metal band from Finland led by Jaakko Lähde, also known as BlackGoat. Goatmoon isn't that well known, but in the black metal underground where they are spoken of, they are spoken of quite fondly, and with good reason. If you happen to stumble upon a copy of this album, do yourself a favor and pick it up.

Those familiar with Goatmoon, and have heard the band's debut album "Death Before Dishonour", know how raw and relentless that album is. It is a very good album, but also a very flawed one. The production is very muddy and for those who are just getting into the more underground black metal, might prove to be a difficult album to start with. "Finnish Steel Storm" is different in terms of both approaches to the actual music and production value. However, different in this case, is good! This album is not overproduced, making it sound cleaner than a spit shined combat boot, but it is much cleaner than "Death Before Dishonour" was, giving it the perfect balance of clarity and cold, raw atmosphere.

Musically, what we have here is a pure assault of black metal injected with some doses of punk music. This is notable in both guitar riffs and the drums. For example, the song "Alone" is one of the most punk-black metal songs on here. It begins with an acoustic guitar, then we get this catchy, almost up beat style punk riff which pretty much serves as the song's main riff. The drums on this song are punk influenced, as well. That D-beat drumming speaks for itself! There are a lot of instruments on this album, giving it a varied sound, and that certainly is a good thing! Guitars, drums, and bass are obviously all there, but we also get flutes, keyboards, tubas, tin whistle, and even clean vocals (see the title track, "Finnish Steel Storm", for a good example of this). These instruments all work together to create a mix of sinister black metal, folky-pagan metal, and punk, which all meld together perfectly into one cauldron of Finnish black metal madness. One song that particularly stands out is "Bitter Winter of Depression". It starts off like your standard black metal song, very harsh, aggressive, fast...all of these adjectives work as an accurate description. It's got furious riffs, and blast beats o' plenty. However, these riffs are very melodic, and accompanied by a beautiful melody created by a keyboard. This song is probably my personal favorite off of the album. But let's not forget, black metal is also supposed to be cold and dark, right? For this, see "Immortal's Winter". In addition to the amazing instrumental aspect of this album, one cannot simply deny BlackGoat's vocals. They are powerful, ripping, and full of hate. Everything you'd want and expect in a black metal album. This guy is obviously dedicated to crafting some of the most relentless and throat-ripping vocals he can belt out, and they definitely do the music justice.

So, what we have here is a nearly 40 minute black metal masterpiece, being best described as a beautiful mess. There are a few personal gripes I have about this album. One in particular is the length of the overall disc and quite a few of the individual songs. Most of these songs are too short in my opinion. "Alone", one of the album's strongest songs, is also the shortest, and could at least use another minute. Most of these songs are in between two and a half minutes and four and a half minutes. Black metal is known for longer songs, which for me is one of the highlights of the genre. This likely has to do with the punk influence, using shorter songs and not sticking to one idea for too long. I understand that may be a reason for the songs being so short, however this album is one of the few that actually could be an hour long and not get old at all. The longest track on the album is "Finnish Steel Storm", which is about fifteen seconds shy of seven minutes long. This is probably my only gripe of the album, and is the sole reason it doesn't earn a 100 from me. Still, 95 is a great score, and this is an absolutely amazing album. For fans of bands like Absurd, Satanic Warmaster, Horna, Impaled Nazarene, and just black metal in general, this album is a must listen! Do not hesitate to check it out!