Released: 2016, Svart Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Journeyman doom vocalist Christus Linderson’s resume reads like a who’s who of the doom metal elite. Fronting Count Raven, Terra Firma, Saint Vitus, Lord Vicar, the guy’s mere association with a project is an implied sign of quality; he’s like a Swedish version of Wino. Currently fronting Goatess with longtime collaborator and guitarist Niklas, their sophomore PURGATORY UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT might just be the defining album that the man is remembered for.
I liked Goatess’ 2013 self-titled debut. It was a refreshing throwback to a simpler time in doom; focused on the mood and the riff, it was heavy without managing to break a sweat. I love PURGATORY UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT. Taking all of the things that worked on their debut and turning it up to 11, it’s a superb intersection of Iommi worship circa-‘74 and blueypsycheprogadelic space jams. Linderson’s vocals are full, passionate and soulful – total night and day from his work on CHILDREN OF DOOM. Guitarist Niklas doles out melody drenched in reverbed flange and chugs out slogging fuzz laden riff after riff. The rhythm section of Kenta and Peter Svensson rarely stray from the shadows, but hold down that bottom end like nobody’s business.
“Moth to Flame” collects these disparate attributes into a totally convincing album opener, while the title track submerges into some Floydian diversions a la Astra or High Priest of Saturn. “Murphy Was an Optimist” and “Good Moaning” are my personal favorites; the former a melodiously trudging slugfest carried by a powerful vocal performance, the latter an almost boogie infused, soul grooving hip shaker. Moments in between like the instrumental “Crocodilians and Other Creepy Crawling Shhh…” and the cannabis fueled “Shadowland” each bear similar traits, but each cast their own unique spell.
The songwriting and performances on PURGATORY UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT are definitely a step up from its predecessor, but so is the production. Compared to the debut, this album is wrapped in a warm, flannel blanket of doom goodness. The instruments are right where they should be in the mix and the whole thing just sounds fuller, heavier, and more satisfying. This is the kind of album that you buy on vinyl to get the full effect.
PURGATORY UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT is an album that just vibes well. Lindersson sounds better than ever and the rest of the Goatess give their all to keep up with him. With management this kind of management, Purgatory sounds like a pretty good time.