Less than a week into 2015 and what will likely be the year’s best – or at least heaviest – split has already sold out. The split LP from Goya and Wounded Giant sold out in less than eight hours upon its release January 3rd at noon. I had my eye on the Die Hard Edition which was a splatter vinyl, a patch from each band, a 4×3′ coffin-shaped flag with the cover art and an STB smoking pipe (for tobacco of course). Reports say that package sold out in two minutes. Sadly, I couldn’t get to a computer until 12:15 and it was long gone. Then, as I continued to work and contemplate not paying the full cable bill to get a “standard” edition, they all sold out. Snooze you lose!
Thankfully I can still listen to it, albeit on an inferior format (digital) as the album was mastered specifically for vinyl. And I got a new record player for Christmas too. Bummer.
So, what does the split sound like anyway? We’ll start with Goya’s 14-minute epic “No Place in the Sky.” It’s heavy as fuck, to put it plainly. Drenched in distortion and volume, it plods along step by meaningful step, decimating all that finds itself under those massive chords and sludgeoning riffs. It’s not purely crush for crushing’s sake as psychedelics have their place. No surprise there as Goya are about as smoked out as they come. Just the way I like it.
Despite the extended run time (relatively speaking) they don’t fall into the trap of boredom. The repetition and circular grooves feel like heaven no matter what state you’re in. There’s even some pretty sweet soloing. “No Place” locks you into a blissful trance of stoner doom with singable clean vocals connecting with the listener. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve annoyed my kids by wandering around the house with my arms raised to the heavens incanting “there is no place in the sky…for us!” at full volume. It’s a truly terrific track that not only measures up to, but exceeds their most obvious influence: Electric Wizard.
Seattle’s Wounded Giant takes the flip side and are no less powerful with their two tracks. However, Wounded Giant speed things up from the doom drudge to a sludgy cadence that gets the head nodding with a little more vigour. “The Room of the Torch” has a very live feel, kickstarted by various “Oooay! Eeeh! Hey!”s being hollered before the groove kicks in. Where Goya’s biggest asset is their stash. . . err, I mean, mighty tone, Wounded Giant dish out riff after ass-kicking riff. From a pounding pace to syrupy sludge/doom, all the way up to a quick pseudo-gallop, Wounded Giant pack all kinds of killer into this calculated beating, punctuated by a soaring solo near the song’s end that will shoot you right into the sun.
“Dystheist” takes a bit more of an OM-type voyage. Drawled vocals makes eyelids heavy then it all goes up a notch on the back of a punchy riff and declarative vocals and big cathartic scream that’s inescapably powerful. Cycling through the hypnotic plod and uptempo moments, Wounded Giant gain intensity with each go around, culminating in that scream that explodes like a supernova, leaving nothing but dust in its place.
This split served as my intro to both bands and I feel great shame for not checking these bands out before now. I have obtained Goya’s previous work and it is stellar as well. I’m digging into more Wounded Giant as we speak. This kind of muscular, powerful and realized doom/sludge is what I’m all about. If you have even a passing interest in sludge and doom you’ll love this. Other than the obvious Electric Wizard flavour, for Goya there’s no point listing references. Both Goya and Wounded Giant stand tall on their own merits. Now crank this shit as loud as possible and drop out of life!
Unfortunately the vinyl only release is sold out of every edition and isn’t available for streaming. But there is a possibility of a repress so keep your eyes peeled on the links below for info!
Goya on Bandcamp
Wounded Giant on Bandcamp
Keep up with all Matt’s exploits on Twitter @KingdomofNoise!