Goatsnake – Dog Days – Review


Dog Days (Southern Lord)
by Brian Varney

Five tracks, a touch over 26 minutes of heavy, bluesy, hard rock-based doom. First cut wouldn’t be out of place on Alice In Chains’ Dirt, the second, third (a cover of Free’s “Heartbreaker”) and fifth move through the same basic territory as last year’s Goatsnake disc. That being a throbbing, updated roll rooted in the ’68-’72 germination of the heavy gunk that wasn’t progressive or fusion-oriented. Yeah, you can throw the “stoner” term around, but the band’s thusly identified have moved farther apart towards distinct identities. The singing is damn near pained classic rock clean, actual singing as it was understood by “bands who opened for Cream,” or those lumped last decade into the “grunge” identity, (minus Herr Vedder) OR: if you want to get a little “funny,” a better Ian Astbury (sang for The Cult). The seven-and-a-half minute doom/dirge that’s batted forth is apparently closer to Goatsnake’s side of the split they did with Burning Witch; crushed grunting pig iron doom that almost sounds like Slayer’s “South of Heaven” at 16 rpm’s stripped of the fancy chords and changes. One step beyond Alice in Chains’ sludge gunk, more akin to Southern legends, Buzzov:en, or England’s newest hitmakers, Electric Wizard. Overall, as minimal as this is, there’s real craft involved. Meaning the tunes stick as well as the sound does. Now that SubPop is signing rock’n’roll bands (albeit chasin’ rather than leading), let’s see if they can strap on balls big enough to push something like this through “the system.” Then again, maybe “the system” needs to go…
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