Goatsnake is a band I really must admit I dismissed many years ago. I still remember sometime around 1999 taking the trip down to Sound Garden in Fells Point, and looking through the metal section that was, at the time, was a treasure trove to a 15/16 year old metalhead who knew almost nothing of bands less well known than the Century Media or Metal Blade roster. Among the often overlooked G section was the self titled Goatsnake record, complete with Hessian biker and a viking ship adorned with rebel flag sails. If you've never seen it, it is indeed as silly as it sounds. Even as an eager kid, this was a little too over the top for me, and I eternally dismissed the band as corny rednecks.

So of course, imagine my surprise, grabbing this new record in 2015 and not only enjoy it, but find some rather interesting tidbits of info about them. More on that in a second.

The doom scene these days is beyond saturated, and it really takes a solid sound to stand out to my ears. The veteran musicians in Goatsnake do their best to offer a high quality product, and succeed pretty damn well. Having Greg Anderson (of Sunn O))) and Thorr's Hammer fame) at the helm of the riffwork doesn't hurt at all. Anderson dials in a hammering but tasteful and somewhat restrained tone on his rig, and throws in a myriad of riffs that never seem to stop coming.

Even as a somewhat well read music nerd, I honestly had no idea that singer Peter Stahl was the same Pete Stahl who was in DC hardcore legends Scream. You might remember this name as Dave Grohl's first major band, and might recognize Pete's brother Franz as guitarist in both Scream and the Foo Fighters. Pete is almost unrecognizable as a punk singer here. His creepy rasp is directly comparable to Ian Astbury of The Cult, and his haunting harmonica work adds the perfect southern blues edge to this record. At times a gospel choir chimes in adding to the chilling atmosphere, and it's just as perfect.

Overall, the sound achieved is pure southern sludge blues metal, with a very respectable amount of talent. This was perfect to listen to driving at full speed through the southern Virginia countryside. This is going to have to be followed by a visit to Goatsnake's small back catalog.

Top track: House Of the Moon