Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Music Review: Goatfisted Writhes from the Black Metal Abyss with Self Titled Album

Wisconsin has given us much in the way of unimaginable horror and violence that rises above your garden variety shooting spree or machete decapitation.

Disgruntled mama's boy Ed Gein turned townies into furniture on his farm in Plainfield.  Necro playboy Jeffrey Dahmer was born in West Allis, moving shop to the city Schlitz built to become the Milwaukee Monster.  Hell, Wisconsin spawns homicidal terror at such a clip they even wrote a book about it.

But that's just human murder and mayhem.  The crass stuff of mortals.  A deeper darkness born amid cold, alien chaos also lurks under the facade of quaint dairies and rolling fields, as Wisconsin is also ground zero of Arkham House, located in the unlikely village of Sauk City.  Founded by August Dertleth, the enterprising, bull necked confidante of one Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Arkham House played a leading role in rescuing the mind splitting cosmic horror of Lovecraft's writings from the dust bin of the Pulp Age.

Approximately 85.9 miles from Sauk City and Arkham House HQ, up trusty US 151, is the picturesque hamlet of Fond du Lac, nestled on the sleepy shores of Lake Winnebago.  This is a true bedroom community, in every sense.  They even have a cute little lighthouse.  But, as with much in this state, the cheery outer glow is all a facade, as Fond du Lac is contributing its own legacy to Wisconsin-born horror and inescapable darkness, as Fond du Lac is the home of Goatfisted, a Black Metal band bending knee and Ernie Ball strings to the writings and Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft.

Goatfisted's self-titled, debut album is a growling, crunching, 8-song dirge to the hopes of humanity in a universe proven to be cold and malevolent.  This is D-tuned choir music for a mass blacker than anything birthed within the time of man.  This is the metal soundtrack to the very last All Hallows' Eve.  This is horror metal with a distinguished edge befitting the alienated gentleman of Providence who inspired it.

From band member monikers - Shogtha (vocals), Jhatanth (chief guitarist/bassist), Ren-Sothoth (drums, extra vocals), and Geth-Omog (guitar) - to lyrics inspired by the stories, themes, and characters of HPL, Goatfisted are true dyed-in-the-woolen-robe Lovecraftians, fusing dark cosmicism and indescribable horrors with thick, thudding guitars, hammer double bass drums, occasional (just enough) keyboards, and dynamic vocals into a fantastic brew of mausoleum metal.  It's heavy, but balanced, technical without getting all Musicians Institute arpeggio wonky.  And the lyrics are quite interesting and well crafted, demanding a line by line follow-along while the album plays.

The cover materials and art are top shelf, and engineer John Jones' deft production is surprisingly slick, but not overly so...  In short, this album - this musical foursome in general - are record-store ready.  As a music journalist three lives ago, I spent a decade listening to all manner of local band releases, from EPs to full length, full studio affairs purchased with mommy's credit cards.  While I have no idea how long ago Goatfisted belched into being, the band already sounds like a million fucking bucks.  Maybe their mommy's have credit cards, too.  Or maybe they're just a talented, polished band, inspired by the Unnameable to record the hugely Listenable.

I enjoyed all 8 of the pieces, but some that stood out were "Black Stone Harvest," featuring nice, ribeye fat riffs, joined at the hip with just an echo of creepy organ music; "The Calling," which has some chugging guitar that moved the lower end of my spine back into alignment; and "His Return and Ascension," the song destined to be played by the Deep One house band at Cthulhu's eventual (re)birthday party.

"Dominion" is the last song on the album, and Goatfisted's coup d' grace. It shows a maturity and bare chested brass from the opening lines, as Shogtha spits out the measured promise, "The reclamation of soil and sea.  As priest of Ancients, thou shall harken to me."  As gritty as it is cosmic, like an artistic punch into the solar plexus.  Goatfisted wants to open your eyes to new vistas, while pouring thunder into your ears to clue you in on what's coming, what has always been... 

While listening to the album last night, my wife - whose musical taste ranges from Wu Tang to Slayer - walked into the office, raised her eyebrows and declared, "That fucking rocks."  I just smiled, and thought to myself that if you're a Black Metal band, and a beautiful woman digs your sound, nothing this side of the Outer God Apocalypse can stop you.

Goatfisted, for the win.


  1. FYI - Search facebook for Goatfisted and message them if interested in purchasing a copy of their album.

  2. Gucks, these dark dogs will hunt.