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Brilliant example of blackened funeral doom! - 93%

Apatheria, August 18th, 2009

Blackened funeral doom seems to be an emerging trend in metal these days. The hate-filled grimness of black metal coupled with the crushing riffs of funeral doom compliment each other very well indeed. I’ve heard many bands of this style, with Nortt being the best example…that is, until The Austrasian Goat came my way. The Austrasian Goat’s self-titled album is truly one of the finest blendings of black metal and funeral doom you’re bound to find anywhere. Hailing from France, the Austrasian Goat is an esoteric one-man project, with little info being known about Julien Louvet (AKA The Goat). All I can find is that he used to play in Shallnotkill, a sludge band that disbanded in ’07, giving way for The Austrasian Goat to be birthed into this decrepit world.

The album is very straight to the point, with “Pyre Without Flames” washing over you in a wave of powerful, majestic funeral doom, the distorted guitars sounding absolutely massive. The vocals are somewhat buried in the mix, however their power is still easily apparent, as The Goat triumphantly bellows, “The free mind is a torch, this land is a pyre!” Criticisms of modern civilization follow, and it is the driving theme throughout the album.

After that stellar opening, the album travels through many styles while still retaining a similar mood, although the funeral doom tracks grow more hateful with each passing one. Instrumental passages are placed throughout the album, including the particularly odd, yet endearing track entitled “The Fall of Everything”. As the distorted funereal riffs slowly seep into this otherwise quirky instrumental, it becomes the perfect setup for a cover of Grief’s “I Hate the Human Race”, which is pretty self-explanatory in mood and theme. It’s one of the album’s greatest songs, doing away with the original song’s sludgy approach and injecting the grooves with a black metal edge.

The next funeral doom track, “Black is not a Colour”, elaborates even more on the album’s contempt for modern society. The Goat’s vocals have contorted by this point in the album, coming closer to losing his humanity to his hatred. “We live a permanent dusk!” he shrieks.

The final track “Unchained” is amongst the mightiest of all funereal hymns, with a monumentally grim riff driving the song. It is a perfect funeral doom riff, bleeding nothing but filthy despair. The Goat’s vocals become completely wretched, barely even sounding human anymore. This is a dehumanized creature, spewing bile-encrusted hatred for the ways of humankind with its spade tongue, and it is evident this is exactly what the album’s been building towards. “Unchained” is a truly magnificent closer for an album of this nature, as the mood lasts long after the final chords have rang out from your speakers. One of the best funeral doom tracks ever? Not even up for debate, as the answer is a resounding yes.

The only track that isn’t spectacular is “Silence is Weapon”, which meanders its way through its 4 minute running time without really accomplishing much. Still, the power of tracks such as “Pyre without Flames” and the mighty “Unchained” more than make up for it. In closing, this is an essential blackened funeral doom album; one of the best that has ever been released in that genre.

Originally written for http://circleofdestruction.net/wp/