I can’t be the only one.
Whenever I look at an album cover, I immediately make an assumption about the music. Immediately. Everyone does this though, right? I mean, making flash judgments is human nature.
Either way, I can assure you that when I saw the album cover for Requiem, by Swedish band GOAT, I thought: Hey this is going to be some weird, ambient, demonic drone-y shit. Looks great.
But man oh man, I was off the mark. By a lot.
I’ve never heard of GOAT, but after hearing Requiem, I’d love to get more acquainted. Apparently, they’re “the greatest modern pop-culture mystery” in existence. Yes, that is self-proclaimed. Yes, I think that’s a bullshit, quasi-mystical characterization. But no, according to their Bancamp page, GOAT is a group of masked musicians from an Arctic “community” called Korpilombolo. Trying saying that five times fast.
This all amounts to soooooo much hipster cred. This is one of those bands that your pretentious friend enjoys; the one who likes explaining the weird backstories of his favorite artists more than he likes listening to them.
But enough with the quips. When all is said and done, Requiem is a stunning album (although, a part of me wonders if this album would be as good if it was a bunch of raunchy bearded dudes from Memphis and not mysterious, masked beings from Korpilo-whatever-the-fuck).
This was not the dark, experimental drone-type music I was expecting when I “read the book by it’s cover.” Oh no no no, this is far more complex. To be honest, it’s difficult for me to describe what I’m hearing.
A visceral genre identification would’ve left me saying “world music,” but there’s just so much more than that here. Elements of krautrock, nordic folk, and psychedelic rock all coalesce into this incredibly dynamic sound. I found myself completely absorbed throughout many of the tracks here; lost in a sea of percussion and strings.
It’s one of those albums that drones on and on, but the grooves are so good that you don’t even care. By the end, I felt tired but also accomplished: as if I had been on a multi-continent expedition navigating through thick forests, looming mountains, and barren deserts. It’s truly an adventure.
All in all, a stellar listen and a fantastic find.
~ The Boss