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Year Of The Goat's debut album, Angels' Necropolis, was released two years ago and I've since long lost count of how many times I've listened to it. They have often been compared to Ghost, seeing how both bands play rather "retro heavy metal" with Satanic lyrical themes. There are significant differences, though - for instance, Year Of The Goat has more of an early '70s sound, a less distorted guitar sound and the songs are more melody-based rather than riff-based.
Comparing Angels' Necropolis to The Key And The Gate, it is of course hard to create an equally impressive craft with the same epic feeling on a three-song EP. Still, I'm impressed - this release continues to build on the established concept and it's showing a great level of song-writings skills. The title track starts the EP and it's a rather fast song that follows the path set out by the preceding album, with a heavy '70s rock groove and an infectious chorus. However, where Angels' Necropolis sounded biblical and epic this EP takes another approach, sounding more inspired by horror film soundtracks than anything else.
Mystic Mountains takes a slightly different direction than the title track. It is a slower song with some really beautiful haunting melodies, a classic rock-style guitar solo and overall a very impressive musical arrangement. The small components really show that a lot of thought has gone into the composition of the song - such as the guitar picking during the verses, the harmonies, the discreet keyboard in the background and the song's overall structure that slowly progresses in a very intricate yet natural way during its seven minutes.
Closing song Non-Euclidean Calculus is the odd one out. After two phenomenal songs comes this instrumental song played on mellotron and keyboard. Don't get me wrong - it's not a bad song, far from it. It's actually pretty damn good but it would probably have fitted a lot better on a full-length album. It sounds like a song that could be an atmospheric intermission between two songs, perhaps an outro or in some way in a bigger context than a 16 minute long EP.
I did not expect to be as impressed as I am with this EP. Naturally there are many common denominators with the album but it shows Year Of The Goat going in a slightly different direction and with a slightly different tone to it. If this is any indication on what to expect from the next full-length album, then I'm staying optimistic.