King Goat – Conduit (2016) – Review

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I did not even like the record at first when I discovered the disc sometime around spring break last year. Too loud, too chaotic, too unharmonious. Take that, unknown record! So, all its wonders more or less intact, the dish got shelved quickly and brutally. And continued to collect dust ever since, sent to oblivion to rot forever.

But then, some magic sun ray appeared [weird music playing]. And the 2016 debut full-length album Conduit from the UK band King Goat returned to some inkling of good graces. The album even received a first listen. Now, get this: The feeling was still of chaotic, unnerving disharmony, but surely of pretty good musicianship at the same time. And a disturbing sense of a confusing, but steady flow, and fuzzy flavors of stoner-esque doomy melodies.

It is their grungy, kind of muddy type of Doom Metal that constantly chips away at your inner resolve. To not like it, that is. On top Conduit displays a lot of the slick geekery the late Crypt Sermon record was able to project. But what definitely flipped the switch to more listening intensity was the fact that this kind of Doom Metal is really different from the good ‘ol Peaceville Three.

By the same token, King Goat call themselves Progressive Doom Metal. Whilst I would mostly cut out the progressive part, it is indeed so that they truly differentiate themselves from the pack. And that is quite a feat in a genre that is getting more and more crowded.

What do they do differently? For instance, here is finally a band knowing how to use a bass to its full effect. Perhaps not as stringently as the Black Metallers Riti Occulti or the prog nerds of Vvon Dogma I like to do. But their bass offering is still remarkably good. Check out Sanguine Path at about 1:15 or so. And this never fails to create this somber atmosphere where doom thrives in.

Then, you get the aforementioned pretty cool flow of the album. I like to call it flawless variation. Because everything sticks, almost perfectly bound together. You will not find any rough edges when they change pace or track. Whereas there is enough rough of other kinds throughout the album, but for all the good reasons. Add to that some gallivanting about the metal soundscape with similarities to Candlemass, Black Sabbath, and – not to forget – some nods towards the masters of Heavy Metal like Iron Maiden.

On top, King Goat are not afraid to use lengthy tracks too. Actually, they do so exclusively. Conduit only has five tracks to offer, none of which are shorter than 7 minutes. Okay, some argue that doom needs to be long-winded, but this is not necessarily so. Oversize tracks need to get you enough oomph and variation to stay meaningful. If not those might very well end up in meaningless stumbling, fumbling, and mumbling, ever repeating the same beat. And many bands have fallen into exactly that track in the past, not necessarily in doom only. King Goat – to the contrary – again delivered beautifully.

The elastic voice of Anthony ‘Trim’ Trimming provides just the right amount of glue to hold this tune firmly together. That they mix growls with clear vocals and throw in female vocalists for good measure just adds this trifle spice necessary to keep the interest level up. This – by the way – becomes apparent already at the beginning in Flights of the Deviants. This one already pulls out the stops with changes of tempi, abundant use of the bass instrument, a cool song structure, and a pretty sturdy solo to boot.

Now, I really got a kick out of track no 2, Feral King. For an instant, I thought we were back in AC/DC territory with the bells ringing. But the track turned quickly into a stoner-esque doom piece. Very crunchy that one and one of my favorites. The title track Conduit is not bad at all. Specifically the centerpiece and the down-to-earth doom and gloom. This one feels like a roughly hewn piece of rock with its meaty riffs and dark growls. But – hey – the laid-back Revenants with its Candlemass-infused moving parts really steals its thunder.

The ruling? 

I am not sure what tree these guys dropped out from, but in the end, their stuff is good, no doubt about it. And here – again – I stand corrected. Conduit features a refreshingly new-ish brand of Doom Metal. They present a savvy, almost eclectic medley of different style elements mixed with traditional doom.

Together with Trim‘s skillful singing style and the band’s knack for creative songwriting, the outcome is a somewhat hefty slab of doom that is never boring. And it never ceases to amaze. And by doing this, King Goat put themselves apart from the mean mainstream.

Well done.

Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Self-Released| Web: Official Site
Release date: 25 March 2016

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