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'Dog Days' EP CD / Picture Disc Reviews

 

Roadburn, words by Sean Palmerston

Hot on the heels of their excellent split CD with Burning Witch, Los Angeles retro-rockers Goatsnake return with yet another fine slab of seventies style swing that'll keep the kids on the edge of their seats. A mini-album this time out, the appropriately titled Dog Days sees the group offering up four new songs and a real slamming cover of the Free classic "Heartbreaker". With this release, Goatsnake make their claim to step to the front lines of American heavy music. Ironically, saying that seems a little weird, as Goatsnake are much more British sounding than most current UK rock music. Lead guitarist Greg Anderson is heavily indebted to the Tony Iommi school of riffing. His guitar playing is fiery from beginning to end without being masturbatory and while the band obviously tips their hats to the masters of yesteryear (Sabbath, Free, Deep Purple), they manage to do so without becoming derivative. Kicking off with the mind numbing drum avalanche of "The Orphan", the quartet make claims for being one of the heaviest current bands this side of High On Fire and Sons Of Otis. A necessity for fans of the "tune low, play slow" mentality and a really strong addition to any good heavy music collection.

 

Kerrang! (UK) by Phil Alexander

A couple of years ago, as the Foo's roared through London, Dave Grohl was heard enthusing wildly about his ex-Scream band mate Pete Stahl and his new band Goatsnake. "You want to hear Pete's voice in that band," gushed Grohl. "He out Ozzy's Ozzy!"

The release of Goatsnake's debut album, 'I', last year proved Grohl right, combining the heavyweight talents of drummer Greg Rogers, bassist Guy Pinhas (both ex-Obsessed), guitarist Greg Anderson (ex-THorr's Hammer / Engine Kid) and Stahl's soaring, emotive vocals. 'Dog Days' carries on where it's predecessor left off, featuring four new tracks alongside former Sabbath-esque seven inch favourite 'Man Of Light' from '97. Of the new material, opener 'The Orphan' and 'Raw Curtains' are both pieces of slow-grinding ultra doom that'll have fans of Sleep writhing with glee, while 'Long Gone' boasts a mid-paced Obsessed groove. The highlight of the proceedings, however, is an inspired cover of Free's 'Heartbreaker', which comes on like prime time Sabbath with Ian Astbury on vocals. A corker. Released on Anderson's Southern Lord Recordings label, 'Dog Days' is a fine stop gap between albums which leaves you wanting more. Roll on the next 'Snake ride.

 

Metal Hammer (UK) by Grahame Bent

Going by the sound of his current outfit you'd never guess that ex-Wool frontman Pete Stahl used to count one pre-Nirvana Dave Grohl among the ranks of his first band - DC hardcore stalwarts Scream. Suffice to say, counting ex-Obsessed bassist Guy Pinhas in their line-up, Goatsnake don't sound anything remotely like either of Pete Stahl's alma mater, being every inch the natural relatives of doom stoner outfits like Spirit Caravan and the forementioned Obsessed. Much as you'd expect, downtuned stumbling trudges knocked together in the shadow of Sabbath are the oder of the day on this five-track mini album whose most interesting feature is undoubtedly the suitably downbeat reworking of Fee's 'Heartbreaker'.

 

Stoner Rock Rules, by Mr Red

Thank the Southern Lord for putting this out and satisfying my Goatsnake jones until “Goatsnake II” is released! Four newly recorded songs and an outake from “Goatsnake I” are featured on this digipack EP. The production is clearer on the new songs making everything heavier and doomier than their sound before! A truly killer cover of Free’s “Heartbreaker” along with an excellent doom instrumental “Raw Curtains” are my personal highlights. You really can’t go wrong with Greg Anderson’s massive sound (courtesy of Sunn amps of course). Pete Stahl’s soulful vocals adds a dimension you are not going to find in any other band playing the doomy sort of gig. Another strong release from Goatsnake. If you liked them before, you’ll like them again this time around. I would even recommend this to fans of more traditional rock and roll as a primer into doomier sort of things in due to the presence of Stahl. Newbies will not have to adjust to the croaking/barking type of vocal delivery that is widely associated with this sort of music. All doom newbies have to adjust to is the sheer massiveness of the sound of the other guys in the band.

 

NME.com by Neil Thomson

The dog days being that time in high summer when drooling mutts are most likely to have a heavy dose of the mad death. Rabies that is. Goatsnake spent last August in an LA studio sweating it out and this five-track mini-album is the result. It's pretty diseased itself. Maybe they caught a dose. Judging from photos they certainly seem to dislike the look of bath water.

You see Goatsnake don't fuck around when it comes to metal. With a line-up featuring über-doomlords from way back in the day, (dudes such as Greg Rogers skulked around in Obsessed while the likes of Fu Manchu were still fiddling with their 'skins' in the back of their daddy's truck) 'Dog Days' is rock. It's Black Sabbath, unreconstructed and certainly bypasses the wax and polish of stoner LA gloss which many of their contemporaries have succumbed to. On 'Long Gone' a seemingly heartbroken Pete Stahl bemoans the loss of a lover with the line, "Just when life was getting good, good and greasy". Yuk. Free's 'Heartbreaker' is also given a righteous pummelling.

Much of this sounds like a hammer smashing into the radiator grill of a runaway monster truck. Nothing wrong with that - in these days of the mostly rubbish heavy metal renaissance the Goatsnake (their vibe's ugly, believe me, I've seen the T-shirt) is waiting in the bottom of your motorcycle boot. Ready to bite back. 7/10

 

Ultimate Metal.com by Chris Barnes

Fans of the stoner/doom genre will no doubt be familiar with the unique sound of Goatsnake. The Snake truly have a sound all their own. Ex-Wool guitarist, Greg Anderson, has an unmistakable guitar sound that is both drenched in doomy distortion and equally capable of ripping through uptempo rockers. The rhythm section that once drove the mighty Obsessed of Guy Pinhas (bass - alas now departed from the band) and Greg Rodgers (drums) provide the engine for Goatsnake's sonic quests into the void.

The topper for this incredible band is the voice of Mr. Pete Stahl. Mr. Stahl does not have the voice one would expect for someone that fronts a doom band, and I think that's why this band sounds so damn good... it shouldn't work, but the damn thing crosses the line into the realm of brilliance by exceeding the expectations of the listener. What I mean is: this guy can really friggin' sing!! The man is blessed with an unquestionable gift of white boy soul.

The Dog Days ep gives us five new Goatsnake recordings. "The Orphan" is a slice of doom/soul pie, starting out with a slow, plodding riff, then a drum n' Pete break (It's here that Pete treats us to a few psuedo-blues "wooooooooo-hooooos"), then dives right back into the plodding riff. The uptempo "Long Gone" follows which treats us to a down-tuned Bad Company rocker which is sure to be a crowd pleaser at the live gigs. A rendition of Free's "Heartbreaker" is next up, and this is the true gem on this ep. Pete has never sounded more soulful or more emotive than on this immaculately produced song, and Mr. Anderson gives us a heart-wrenching solo performance. Together, this is the type of song that brings tears to the eyes, and is worth the price of the ep alone. The instrumental "Raw Curtains" is strictly Sabbath on 'ludes filler material, while the last number "Man of Light" takes us on an exploration of Goatsnake dynamics. Cool riffing and quiet interlude before a rather tepid ending.

All in all, Dog Days, while not brilliant, is worthy of your hard earned shekels.

 

From Hellfrost.com

A cross between whiskey-soaked southern groove and numbing ambient-metal, this band Goatsnake is the main project of SOUTHERN LORD founder Greg Anderson. Even at their most "commercial" point, Goatsnake crank out a dark and dreary sound that fills one with a soulful pessimism. The imagery set forth by the album cover could not be more perfect, this is the kind of heavy blues rock you listen to on a late August night, when beer and depression are both on tap and the humidity is so high it's like breathing water. Goatsnake's grooves are about as heavy as Sleep's Holy Mountain-era Sleep, laced with some tasty cymbal crashes and of course plenty of low-end bass. The vocals are bluesy in the sense of the mainstream rock band The Cult, ironic I like this guy's singing and could never stand The Cult. "Heartbreaker" is a Free cover, they being a rock band from the 60's I believe. This(and "Long Gone") are prime examples of Goatsnake's most rockin' material, which I simply can't get enough of. Then out of nowhere, the unstoppable heaviness of "Raw Curtains" took me by major surprise(caved my skull in with a shovel is more like it) - this sounds almost EXACTLY like the drone-metal legends Earth! Earth did a few albums for the SUB POP label a few years back, and after hearing "Raw Curtains" you must have more of this heavy riff ambience, they come highly recommended. Advertisements for other bands aside, Dog Days is the perfect choice for the metal fan who likes a little rock now and again. Hopefully Goatsnake will keep swiggin' the poison and belting out grooves.