By Lord Randall
Five albums in, more EP/Splits than you can shake a broadsword at – including a few live albums – over 15 damn years, and I still hadn’t heard of GOATMOON. Given founder/mainstay BlackGoat Desecrator’s past in rock’n’roll worshippers ARMOUR and crawling filth-mongers RIDE FOR REVENGE, I wasn’t really sure what, if anything, to expect from "Stella Polaris". Apparently for the first time featuring a full backline of fur-clad berserkers at his bidding, GOATMOON becomes an actual band, and – most will probably say – is now the stronger for it.
Well, now, the subtle, sparse acoustics of the intro didn’t really come as expected, nor the undeniable explosion of color that is the cover art for "Stella Polaris". The real surprise, though, comes with the title track’s majestic grandeur, at once beautiful and rugged. I’m reminded of certain early albums by TWIN OBSCENITY in moments, EINHERJER’s "Dragons Of The North" in others, but all shot through with a starshine rivaling pre-K COVENANT. ‘Wolf Night’ brings the primal, blood-coursing, flesh-consuming aggression of its namesake to the fore, hailing BATHORY’s more Viking-inspired material without becoming a mockery or mimicry. Also found within the galaxy of "Stella Polaris" is that rarest of finds in this type of black metal – the instrumental. I have no words for the emotions GOATMOON is able to invoke within the 5-minute span of ‘Sonderkommando Nord’, so I’ll leave it at this. Listen, and be enveloped.
Nearing the end of ‘Conqueror’, a staccato riff and seemingly off-time vocals don’t cause a stumble as expected, in its own way adding to the cinematic feel of the album, while ‘Overlord’ gathers everything that’s been memorable about "Stella Polaris" close, then flings it into the cosmos.
I don’t know what dead planet I’ve been dwelling on, but based on the grandeur of "Stella Polaris", it seems I have about 15 years of time travel ahead of (or behind) me. Not only worthy…vital.
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