The new Goatsnake means to crush you with their thick as blood guitar riffs and trudging guitars. If you are unaware this is Peter Stahl's (Scream, Wool, Earthlings) latest incarnation in which he plans on taking all the best elements of Black Sabbath and introducing a stoner rock version of the band. This is their second album on the heavy Mans Ruin label and their best to date. The band also features ex-Obsessed members Greg Rogers (drums) which explains the killer drumming and newly recruited Stuart Dahlquist (Burning Witch) on bass. The band isn't afraid of the Black Sabbath references either. They take the heaviness of bands like Sabbath and slow it down and add some groove to it. Take Kyuss and slow it down even more. This is an album that has to be heard to be appreciated and it must be played very loud otherwise all is lost. One day Pete Stahl will gain the recognition he deserves.
They're here again! Flower Of Disease crawls like tons of snails, slow and heavy as hell! The good old mashed carpet of guitar/bass is still here, but now its not as rude as it was on the debut CD. Somehow i feel like Pete's vocals have more melodies that he user to have, not a bad thing, tho i like the first ones, slightly monotonous version, SO much. 'Easy Greasy' is one of the more upbeat songs, even though it doesn't have any more speed to than any of the others, I love the Mouth Harp in the beginning. The songs are in good order too, the slowest ones are mixed with the 'faster' ones so that the whole thing doesn't get too heavy for the ears...i gotta admit that it too is nice now and then. Somehow i feel Dog Days EP was kind of an in between thing, it didn't really make that much of a difference to me, but this new one definately fixes that up.
Wow. You hate to start a review that way, but in this case it's appropriate. Goatsnake have forged a considerable niche in the hard rock underground over the past few years, and their style and sound have become pretty recognizable. Now, they have taken their signature "Sunnsound" and written a different breed of song. Don't get me wrong, this is still low and slow bulldozer rock, but now it's more melodic, more musical, and slightly more upbeat. And the result? Wow. This is an amazing record.
Greg Anderson's Sunn guitar sound has always been at the heart of the Goatsnake sound. His warm dry heavy sound is all over this record, but set in the context of these more spacious, melodic songs it sounds even more distinctive. Added to that is Pete Stahl's vocal ability which started out at good and is now approaching great. His biggest improvement has been the ability to sing more naturally and easily, especially when singing with power. In fact, he is the highlight on songs like "Flower of Disease" and "Prayer For A Dying". Added to this is G. Stuart Dahlquist's super-low bottom end and Obsessed-veteran Greg Rogers on drums.
"Flower Of Disease" and "Prayer For A Dying" is a one-two punch to rival any of the great albums from rock lore. They are a devastating combination of power and songwriting. Sweeping choruses, outstanding riffs and a truly unique sound. Other standouts are "Easy Greasy" with its bizarre mouth-harp intro and sycopated drumming set against sustained chords, and "Live To Die" which comes across as a hard rock classic from the 70's. "The River" is a blues done in super saturation. "El Coyote" morphs from a blues song complete with harmonica into a straight-out Kyuss riff. "The Dealer" and "A Truckload Of Mamma's Muffins" sound like "I" era Goatsnake and make a nice contrast with the newer sound. All in all, slow and low with a shitload of melody and some classic rock elements. A future classic?
When you think of the term heavy you may think of an elephant or a whale or maybe a ten tonne weight. Well if you were to put the ten tonne weight on top of an elephant that was getting a piggy back ride from a whale then you still wouldn't be close to getting as heavy as Goatsnake are. It's easy to creat heavy music, but to do it with style and melody takes some skill and Goatsnake have it in spadefulls. 'Prayer For A Dying' and title track 'Flower Of Disease' are a case in point. Never has stoner, doom, call it what you will sounded so catchy. It's done with a sense of humour too, check out the jaw harp intro to 'Easy Greasy' and what if Pete Stahl's vocals vere into Bruce Dickinson Territory. Above all, this shit rocks.
Hammer (UK) (7/10)
Formed from the ashes of legendary doomsters The Obsessed, as well as The Scream and Wool (anyone remember the classic 'Budspawn'?), Goatsnake are already a well established act on the stoner rock scene - a fact confirmed by ex-Kyuss bassist Scott Reeder's willingness to deputise with them on a recent European tour. The band's second full-length album is indeed a mighty beast, heavy as fuck but focussed in it's aims. Marilyn Manson associate Nick Raskulinecz has blessed '...Disease' with a warm, rich a clear sound, propelling Pete Stahl's vocals to the fore and allowing the guitar work of Greg Anderson to swoop from a low rumble to to an anguished wail. The title track comes on like Trouble on a good day, although more subtle, melodic like 'Easy Greasy' abound. Following Queens Of The Stone Age into the mainstream market is probably the last thing on Goatsnake's mind, but potential definitly exists.
"Flower Of Disease" is L.A. based Goatsnake's second full length album. And compared to last year's debut album "I" they made a huge leap forward. Whereas their first album beheld some parts of lesser quality, the new one is packed with only good songs. Diversity raised to a square must have been the motto, considering the occasional use of mouth harp, lap steel, violin and female backing vocals. But also in pace you'll get everything served on a nice silver plate. Slow and threatening crush grooves in "The Dealer", a mid tempo masterpiece called "A Truckload Of Mama's Muffins" and some fast stuff like "Die To Live" and "El Coyote" (my personal favourite). Especially when they put the pedal to the floor, Goatsnake can easily be compared with a band like Orange Goblin. And hell, they all make it as catchy as the long forgotten 80s glam music. Take your hats off, bang your head and get in the mood * final advice: don't just strain your neck with this release. At least once listen closely, booklet in hand, because there are some great lyrics on there too.
I actually had the pleasure of listening to this album while walking through the French Quarter in New Orleans and damn if Goatsnake's style of low-slung, low-speed, low-tuned, Black Sabbath-bayou sound didn't fit perfectly.
The proper question here is not how heavy can Goatsnake get, but can they possibly get any heavier? From the moment the title track kicks in with Greg Anderson's super-crunchy riff and Greg Rogers boom-thud-crash drum beat you instantly like these guys. It's like listening to an entire album of Soundgarden's "4th of July." This is a band that refuses to go above 50 beats-per-minute because they don't have to, they can sustain the energy level with that bottom heavy groove. As they drag the tempo down, Goatsnake creates this great moody and doomy atmosphere. Listen to "The Dealer" or "Easy Greasy" and you'll get it.
Overall, the band's sound is much cleaner than your average stoner rock band, which Goatsnake is definitely not. They obviously are devout Sabbath heads who want to get more back to the sound of Master of Reality. The nice mix of the grind music with Pete Stahl's melodic vocals (that are actually good to boot) makes their sound work. "A Truck Load of Mama's Muffins" shows of this style nicely as Stahl sings "dragging my nuts through valvoline," over the prodding doom jam.
Best to buy supports for you CD player - this one's heavy.
Flower Of Disease is L.A. stoner outfit Goatsnake at its heaviest and most original. What separates the 'Snake from the hordes of other St. Vitus-inspired bands is the added color around the edges like the eerie harmonica solo on the title track. Augmenting the witchy feeling on that tune are the wailing background vocals from Petra Haden of That Dog. Elsewhere, "Live To Die" has a greasy, boogie-rock flavor that sounds like Humble Pie jamming with Black Sabbath. Former Thorr's Hammer/Engine Kid guitarist Greg Anderson's thick, down-tuned riffs and the funeral-dirge drums of Greg Rogers (ex-Obsessed) slowly push the songs along. Meanwhile, vocalist Pete Stahl puts in a typically soulful performance, and new bassist Stuart Dahlquist lays a dense low-end foundation with the same heaviness he provided for nihilistic doom-masters Burning Witch. Flower Of Disease is a 45-minute dark night of the soul.
Ok, Ok, you've taken the stoner rock challenge and you're not sure it's for you. If you've been sitting on the fence about this heavy sounding, and admittedly often heavy-handed genre, here's a band that might pull you over. Yes, they are slow, heavy, distorted, detuned, but unlike many of their cohorts, the riffs come together to support a larger structure, rather than just being the aural version of a tractor-trailer trudging along. Best of all - and this is the point where so many potentially great stoner bands miss the mark - these guys have a top-notch vocalist in Pete Stahl.
Stahl has been around the block a few times. Along with brother Franz, he led Scream, DC-punkers who recorded for Dischord and counted among their ranks Dave Grohl. The bros later led L.A.-based alt-rockers Wool, a critic's fave who never quite took off. (Franz later played guitar in Grohl's Foo Fighters, but that's another tale). Stahl's clear and powerful tenor cuts through the quicksand of Greg Anderson's double-wide guitars with no problem; Stahl even makes the decidedly un-typical move of layering his voice into harmonies. His bold tenor is reminiscent of power trio belters of bygone days, most formidably Jack Bruce of Cream (is that going too far back??) Dig it if ya can, 'cause to my ragged ears, it's some of the strongest singing heard in awhile, especially amidst the grunts and bellows that pass for vocals around these parts.
Drummer Greg Rogers can cite first-generation stoner band the Obsessed as a prior employer, and his chops and feel are definitely in homage to the lord god on high of the style, his highness Bill Ward. When he lays down the swingin' boogie on "El Coyote," it's nuthin' but a good good thing. Anderson spins triplet figures overhead while Stuart Dahlquist plays bass like he's pouring concrete.
Elsewhere, L.A.-based violinist Petra Haden scratches out a few lines but makes more of an impact with her soulful vocal wailing alongside Pete, particularly on the disc's epic closer "The River." The Goat forges a newer, broader brand of garage rock - and I mean a monster truck-sized garage. Check out the mid-tempo groove prodded along by guest Chad Essig's harmonica on "Live to Die" for proof. The band excels on between-the-eyes leadfoot shuffle feels, as on "A Truckload of Mamma's Muffins." It is a song about getting' goin' somewhere, Stahl howls, "I rust like tin if I stand still/ I got my Barney Olfield grin on / And I take my bitch for a ride / Hey man, do ya wanna come along?"
Yeah, I'll hitch a ride. I recommend you hop on board too, particularly if you're a fan of old-school Sabbath, Queens of the Stone Age, Cathedral, or powerful, no-bullshit rock in general.