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Finnish supremacy - 85%

JJM1, January 28th, 2014

Formed around 2002 by sole member BlackGoat Gravedesecrator (AKA Jaakko), Goatmoon issued eight demos during the next two years before releasing the debut, 'Death Before Dishonour' in late '04. With lyrics centered around hatred, anti-religion, Finnish nationalism and white supremacy, BlackGoat is something of a controversial figure, though he personally rejects the NS tag because his words are not centered around Nazi propaganda. I guess that just means he dislikes brown people a lot. Regardless of subject matter, Goatmoon is absolute class as far as Finnish black metal is concerned and I've been absolutely floored since picking up 'Varjot' a few months ago.

Enlisting guest help to provide drums, bass, keyboards, additional guitar, clean vocals and even brief flute and tin whistle use, 'Varjot' may very well be his finest recording to date, although this is the only recording I've heard from the band so far so I could be slightly misinformed. As I understand it, Goatmoon was considerably rawer in their early days, though here the recording is rather polished, while still maintaining the hissing guitar tone the genre is known for. Musically the band offers up mid-paced to speedy black metal compositions that remind of Satanic Warmaster, though with a strong melodic presence intermingled with vibrant folk metal chord progressions makes for a mostly original sound, but comparisons to some of the newer Absurd recordings or stuff like Stormheit could be made for sure.

'Storming Through White Light' opens with sounds of thunderous storm roars in the background alongside a quite pleasing acoustic guitar passage, when just a little over the two minute mark the clouds burst and the blackened fury is unleashed. Immediately the listener is greeted with a catchy and melodic lead riff and BlackGoat's raspy screams, the song gradually builds in dominance, occasionally featuring flute in the background as it reaches its epic conclusion with a mighty and totally headbangable guitar solo that just can't be beat. 'Noidan verestä männikkö herää' & 'Quest For The Goat' tend to be more straightforward, hard hitting and goddamn cold in their delivery, almost bringing to mind Horna at times, while 'Varjo Valolta Suojelee' is a slower instrumental of quite simply epic proportions. The remaining four songs are equally great too, not a wasted moment and not a thing out of line as these lads just continue to crush.

Notably the drum work is quite well performed with almost constant footwork and more than enough interesting rolls and fills along the way, while the bass is also audible during some of the calmer parts of the songs and has its own moments that truly standout and just make the album soar even more. Figuring in more than enough appealing riffs, leads and great solos as well a totally strong and menacing vocal performance and you've got a beast of an album on your hands here.

As mentioned earlier, 'Varjot' is my first contact with Goatmoon, but I eagerly look forward to checking out BlackGoat Gravedesecrator's other creations very soon.

Originally wrote for, Lunar Hypnosis:

Welcome to the Pinnacle of Raw, Pagan BM 2011 AD - 100%

TheAntagonist, September 21st, 2011

After stumbling upon Goatmoon’s new album "Varjot" on a whim I am still contemplating… where the hell did this album come from? Blasting away in Finland for all those years in relative obscurity, no doubt with the distinct title of being kvlt surely intact–– most of Goatmoon’s previous releases never held much sway over me. This album, on the other hand, is an all together different beast that should be lighting up soon enough on every black metaler’s radar.

Varjot, which means shadows, contains raw, black metal with some pagan/folk leanings, executed in a Satanic Warmaster like style with better production value. The album opens with a two minute folky acoustic passage and before you know it your “Storming Through the White Light”, a scorching, toe-tapping metal masterpiece. Keyboards are employed throughout the album, but sparingly enough to not overshadow the intensity or integrity of this endeavor.

Blackgoat Gravedesecrator’s vocals are extremely menacing and vicious; conveying the perfect amount of emotional distress to sound convincing, while not overdoing it. The influence of the German metal band Absurd is abundantly evident, particularly on the song “Wolven Empress”. The pagan/folk metal connection can be observed through the keyboard arrangements found on the song “Abomination of Winter”. It is safe to say that the listener will be hard pressed to find a standout track because this is clearly an album that needs to be experienced from start to finish.

All in all "Varjot" is a solid release that should receive it’s fair share of praise. I am really at a loss to find any discernible flaws with this album. One thing to keep in mind is that it is put together in its entirety by one entity alone. This album is the true embodiment of great black metal and should make it on to quite a few critic’s lists for best releases of 2011.

Originally written for