Goatvargr ‎– Black Snow Epoch [English]


[reviewed by / autor recenzji : Iaha Crax || ENG]

Distances are no longer a hindrance in the modern world, making possible even such intriguing collaborations. In terms of art, terrorism – as an act of boundless liberty – is acceptable. Goat’s first two albums, “Goathammer” and “Baphometamphetamine” have been a pinnacle of extreme electronics, expanding Merzbow or Richard Ramirez to a more aesthetically suitable experience. Nordvargr projected under the moniker Vargr an undeniably discomforting, harsh offering, allied with black metal on its first phase, both thematically and music-wise (check out the “Maria Orsic” trilogy on his own label 205 recordings). Thus, for the second time after their Goatvargr homonym album, the American Daniel O’Sullivan collaborates with the Swedish Henrik Björkk to convey their vision of times to come. Summer and winter become indistinguishable during the Black Snow Epoch.

Once you open the booklet – which is in fact a single-image poster – the line drawing of two robed hermits under a leafless tree, guided by a candle towards opposite directions, initiates a comprehensive glimpse into the future narrative of the record. The injunction “Kiss the goat!” introduces the listener into the chamber where he must bear a sort of sound hygiene that might wash him off any prejudices. Torture devices pound and slam with iron hissing likely to factory depictions of SPK, nuanced in bloodless steel-shining in the vein of In Slaughter Natives. Kissing the goat plays on the inversion of a typical worship where the symbol of adoration is replaced by its antithesis; and the song’s title, “Goatsbane/Scapewolf” plays on metaphorical transgression symbols, standing as an inner texture for the entire record.

Further, the artists use the image of a wolf or a goat alternately, in their endeavor to musically converge inferring aspects of their bipolar value. “Bearer, Begetter, The Sovereign Wolf” is a marching rhythmical track similar to Folkstorm’s style, picturing a wolf pacing towards another prey. It follows with impertinence and self-knowledge a path that no other dares to take. On “Dark Eyed And Frost Scorned” there is a calmer specter of ambiance evolving in more specific, Nordvargr parameters, from an undertone larvae-fuelled atmosphere to trip-hop noise; you can almost see the beast materializing in unrecognizable shape: it reaches you and slips vaporously inside you veins.

A constant impression of a sensory-motor corporeal schema comes into mind. Sometimes it seems that the two artists have based their composition on moving images of the beasts, and their intention is to depict these attitudes by using sounds. Actually, the sound-movement pairing acquires a ceremonial signification when the context is suitable.

The fourth track, “Goatwalking”, displays a similar feeling: the goat enters into an interchangeable, physical relation with your body so that you may experience a real “state-of-goating”. It is strangely beautiful that the track makes you actually see a tramping goat by the musical force of balancing loops and knocking rhythms.

The same delicate but forceful martial/ rhythmic noise structures the next track, “Razed Under Cloven Hoof And Bloody Maw”. It’s a short tactical industrial march, slightly touched by noise beats. It brings out from memory a unique project that Nordvargr seems to have abandoned, Econocon.

Afterwards the artists have ingeniously created a wall diptych, two faces regarding each other and tending to identify with one another when closed like a book: the goat and the wolf. The “Wall of Goat” paints a meditative, philosophical portrait colored in somber melodies and compressed by stony, almost atonal noises. The “Wall of Wolf” is based on an antithetical vision, so the track is deliberately alliterated by jagged electronics, an animalistic assault synonymous with the works of Daniel O’Sullivan himself, Skin Crime or Gelsomina. The diptych covers the two esoteric and mythological functions, sacerdotal and militaristic, and the music expresses the two particular states of mind that these functions possess exceptionally: contemplation and action.

“A Black Drum Droning” closes a fascinating album and opens the gate of imagination to a tunnel where the mind morphs itself in preparation for the realm predicted by the artists: expanding and revolving space-ambient noises illustrate an undetermined territory where “true hunters will pursue”.

Goatvargr ‎– Black Snow Epoch
CD, 2010
Cold Spring, CSR126CD

Goatsbane / Scapewolf
Bearer, Begetter, The Sovereign Wolf

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