Monday 4 March 2024

Goat Major - Ritual (Album Review)

Release Date: 08th March 2024. Record Label: Ripple Music. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Ritual - Tracklisting

1.Snakes (Goddess of the Serpent) 


3.Turn to Dust

4.Light of the End

5.Power That Be

6.Mountains of Madness

7.Evil Eye 

8.Lay Me Down


Jammie Arnold - guitar

Simon Bonwick - drums

Tom Shortt - bass & vocals 


Ritual is the debut full length album from Welsh Occult/Doom/Stoner Metallers Goat Major who bring a fresh and FUZZED up perspective to the Occult Metal sound. Bringing down tuned grooves which has a hint of Electric Wizard heaviness to the mix and even bringing moments of bands from the Welsh Doom/Stoner Metal scene such as Acrimony, Sigiriya and BUDGIE on this album alone.

Despite the albums classic Occult vibe and seedy Seventies Proto-Doom metal attitude, Goat Ritual play a modern day Sludge/Stoner Metal appetite within the more outlandish parts of the album. Tom’s vocals have elements of Ozzy Osbourne and Uncle Acid to them but with perhaps a more DEMONIC outlook within his vocal delivery with a slight nod of Electric Wizard and Green Lung darkness appearing within the more horror influenced lyrics that Goat Major have written for the album.

Ritual is packed full of mighty Down Tuned and stripped back FUZZY instrumental moments which allows the band to expose themselves further to the Psych Stoner Rock/Metal world on the excellent opening tracks of Snakes (Goddess Of The Serpent), Ritual and Turn to Dust. Atmospheric and Distorted grooves are abound with sinister forces hidden with the sublime lyrics that allows RItual to tap into the classic world of 1960’s and 1970’s Horror Movies being the most intriguing aspect but that could be my own insights with the album.

If you’re a fan of Acid Mammoth then Goat Major feel like kindred spirits as they play similar creative beats to each other with both bands still playing their own great blend of music. 

RItual becomes more Fuzz/Stoner Metal dominated on Light Of The End and Power That Be though Goat Major power on through delivering some wonderful classic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal beats with that LOW & SLOW or AMPLIFIER WORSHIP delivery that’s an essential element to this style of music.

I’m aware of Tom and Simon’s previous work with Welsh Sludge/Stoner Metallers HARK that featured the legend that is Jimbob Isaac of TAINT fame. I was surprised by this fact. As HARK and Goat Major are totally different bands to each other. Though, that’s to be expected with HARK perhaps being led by the creative ideas and themes of Jimbob Isaac than the other members of the band.

Tom and Simon are joined by Jammie Arnold on Guitars who brings a whirlwind style of different guitars and bone-crunching rhythms throughout the album. Goat Major have a killer Power Trio setup within their ranks which allows the band to bounce off each other superbly well on the later stages of the track.

The second half of the album returns to the more Occult Doom Rock/Metal aspect of the band’s sound with tracks Mountains Of Madness, Evil Eye and Lay Me Down being some of the outlandish and impressive tracks on the album which allows Goat Major to fully revel in their demonic roles whilst playing some brilliantly entertaining instrumental passages along the way.

Goat Major have the power, knowledge and expertise of one of the best labels within the scene helping them out with this release. The mighty RIPPLE MUSIC. You’ve heard me say this time and time before but the album sounds fantastic from start to finish with soaring production values that brings a level of CLASSIC SOUNDING DOOM to the party whilst also having a modern seedy approach on the heaviest parts of the album.

Ritual is a record full of street-level attitude that brings out some of the best collection of OCCULT and PROTO DOOM based tracks for a debut album. Add this DEVILISH album to your record collection at the earliest opportunity. As this is an definite Album Of The Year contender right here.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Purple Sage PR for the promo.

Ritual will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Ripple Music from Friday 08th March 2024.


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