Year of the Goat

Lucem Ferre

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The recently piqued curiosity about heavy metal's historical origins has yielded several new bands devoted to pulling back the iron curtain set at 1970 by the genre's founding fathers, Black Sabbath, and into the murky, candlelit chamber haunted by a few isolated, late-‘60s occult rock practitioners such as Coven and Pesky Gee (later Black Widow). Ironically, given the scarcity of these bands, Sweden's Year of the Goat probably owe just as much of their inspiration -- probably more, in fact -- to fellow new millennium devotees like the Devil's Blood, Sabbath Assembly, Blood Ceremony, and, to a lesser degree, the Mercyful Fate-influenced Ghost. All of which explains why the songs on Year of the Goat's Lucem Ferre EP actually have so little in common with what modern listeners would define as "heavy metal": it's simply not aggressive or heavy enough. Nevertheless, it is certainly one of the style's root sources, and it's most definitely musicians of metallic pedigree crafting the occult-laced psychedelic rock presented by opening number "Of Darkness," where restrained guitar work leaves ample room for the forlorn croon of vocalist Thomas Eriksson (imagine a less histrionic Messiah Marcolin) to carry the day. Song number two, "Vermillion Clouds," takes an even softer tack before gradually establishing a firm rock groove aided by Mellotron thrums, and then, finally, an urgency approaching heavy metal that carries over into song three, "Dark Lord," where the band weaves meandering lead melodies over powerful riffs and more forceful vocals. By contrast, the closing title track (which is Latin for the "bringer of light," aka Lucifer, naturally) winds things down with cryptic yet gentle guitar figures and soothing organs, suggesting that more contradictory sounds lie ahead for Year of the Goat should they choose to build on this pint-sized yet darkly alluring first taste of their talents.