By Gruesome Greg
Another highly-anticipated album for yours truly, The White Goddess is the long-awaited follow-up to the German power-doom band’s 2010 debut, The Golden Bough. Mind you, crafting a record of such epic length takes time; although, at 58 minutes, it’s actually some seven shorter than its predecessor!
“Trumpets of Doggerland” opens the album, fittingly enough, with a trumpet, followed by a brief spoken-word clip, before a gong-accentuated slow-‘n-heavy riff takes hold. Alas, tis but a two-minute intro, leading us to “Sol Invictus.” The latter begins with an operatic vocal before putting the pedal to the power-metal, blasting out a thundering cavalcade of deadly riffage. Yes, this is an 11-minute song right off the bat. The chorus comes crashing down before launching into a brief frantic fury that might even make Dragonforce’s heads spin. But this isn’t pure wankery, as they quickly bring things back to a chugging, fast-paced verse. The second chorus signals a more lasting change of pace, the band bringing things down a notch to what could maybe be considered doom territory, were it not for the uplifting vocals. And man, does that guitar solo really rip your head off! Talk about some tasteful shredding…
After another brief interlude, we get another 11-minute epic, “Heresiarch” adopting a slower pace with some great melodic doom riffs. Verses are vocal-driven (backed by bass), but after a couple cadences, the doomy downstrokes return with a vengeance… along with some weird spoken-word clip that’s practically unintelligible. Hey, that’s power metal for ya, I suppose. Fortunately, we only get one sound-clip, as it’s replaced by an impressively powerful chorus on successive appearances. (Well, there is another one a lot later, but I digress. Hey, it “adds ambiance” or something…)
Suffice to say, there’s plenty more epicness in store, as all non-instrumentals exceed eight minutes. “Twelve Stars and an Azure Gown” has a mellower feel, almost coming off as a Scorpions power ballad, although “Wind of Changes” never packed this much of a wallop! “Enthroned in Clouds and Fire” adds some eerie chanting to its epic-doom concoction, throwing in a slithering, serpentine riff a third of the way through that will have all thee doom fanatics coming… to the Sabbat. 😉
“White Goddess Unveiled,” the de-facto title track, ups the tempo somewhat for the first time since the (proper) opener, but still maintains that gloomy, funereal air to the proceedings, operatic vocals soaring over downtrodden riffs, although it ends on a lighter note with some stirring piano. In contrast to the new Argus, these guys might be less power, more doom this time around—and I certainly can’t complain about that!
(20 Buck Spin)
The White Goddess will be released on October 1st in North America on 20 Buck Spin