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the_navy_blue_vicar, May 7th, 2005

Just when you almost forgot about them, Goatsnake return with their first release in 4 years, and they’re much the same you’ll be happy to hear. Another brilliant in places but overall patchy release, packaged in another pretty crap sleeve. But would you really want it any other way? A: NO. Crap sleeves and patchy records are metal as fuck so shut down.

But there is a significant difference here though and that’s the addition of legendary Kyuss plank spanker Scott Reeder on bass, his first contribution released on bass in many moons, I believe. It’s certainly the first thing I’ve heard him on since Kyuss anyway, and it’s me that’s doing the review here so I can ignore whatever contrary evidence I choose. REEDER BACK IS BACK FROM MAKING FENCES OR WHATEVER IT WAS HE WAS DOING AND, HEY, HE’S STILL GOT IT!

First track is the classy “Portraits of Pain”, which starts out as a really slow sludgey dirge with crooning over it before it breaks into a groovy double time jam with eastern sounding melody for out man Pete Stahl. Reeder does a big crazy bass run under the riff in the middle while Stahl croons “YOU KNOW IT’S TIME FOR YOUR SACRIFICE” and the track gets faster and faster gaining momentum before a 2-note lick slams the break on and it’s back to an even more agonizingly slow repetition of the intro riff. YOU CAN’T ARGUE WITH SHIT LIKE THIS.

Track 2 is Black Cat Bone, a total motherfucker of a song with a Kyuss-y boogie rhythm and a total bastard of a riff. “I’LL GIT SOME, I’LL GIT SOME! GIT SOME, I’LL GIT SOME!” A pretty short and straightforward tune, tarted up with Stahl’s screams and whoops and Reeder’s flappy bass runs. FUCK YES. Stahl sings his arse off on this one too. Honestly, it’s hard to believe this man is bald.

The third track is Junior’s Jam and the intro is dead like Wizard by Black Sabbath’s 2-note harmonica riff, until the band crunch in, in a totally different key than you expected. This starts off as a really slow jam again before a wee drum takes it into another Kyuss-y bouncy rhythm, but with Pete holding back a bit on this one for added SMOOORVE-NESS. The on-the-one build up bridge is pretty cool, culminating in a nicely unexpected falsetto burst from Stahl before the track ends with a barking-dog and harmonica duel. I’m not kidding either. Fantastico.

There’s a huge gap between the end of this song and the start of Track 4, Burial At Sea, (I think) because the last 2 tracks are “bonus” tracks or something. They’re both covers, Burial at Sea is from the Burning Witch split they did anyway and the last track is just a daft wee conversation, with some country music in the background and then a totally over-the-top super-cheesy Black Oak Arkansas cover called Hot Rod. The only redeeming factor in this song is a bit cowbell which there isn’t enough of in metal. CONK CONK CONK CONK. Burial At Sea is alright but it’d woulda been cooler just to release this with the 3 new songs methinks.

It’s well patchy.