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Goatsnake - "Flower Of Disease" (CD)

Goatsnake - "Flower Of Disease" CD cover image

"Flower Of Disease" track listing:

1. Flower of Disease (6:39)
2. Prayer for a Dying (4:40)
3. Easy Greasy (5:14)
4. El Coyote (4:39)
5. The Dealer (5:26)
6. A Truckload of Mamma's Muffins (5:58)
7. Live to Die (3:19)
8. The River (8:14)

Reviewed by on June 7, 2011

"If you're a fan of stoner doom/rock but Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age just don't have that extra heaviness you need to get you through your day, this album will have you drifting through a mindless stoner haze before you know what hit you."

Just being part of the large planetary system of bands that circle around the twin monoliths in Sunn O))) guarantees a band relatively legendary status in stoner/doom/drone circles. In the late 90’s While Stephen O'Malley was off making the ridiculous molten lava version of doom metal in Burning Witch, Greg Anderson was rocking his ass off in Goatsnake along with another drone luminary G. Stuart Dahlquist.

So now that we know that trivia, let’s try and sum up this Southern Lord reissue of Goatsnake’s second effort, “Flower of Disease.” If you're a fan of stoner doom/rock but Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age just don't have that extra heaviness you need to get you through your day, this album will have you drifting through a mindless stoner haze before you know what hit you. Purely because of the mammoth gut rumbling guitar tone, Goatsnake has always leaned towards the Toadliqour/Khanate/Burning Witch end of the doom spectrum. But instead of the insane, super-negative, drug induced lunacy of those bands, Goatsnake is rather traditional (as in "yet another Sabbath variation" traditional) and isn’t afraid to throw southern rock elements in the mix to lighten things up. The vocals are a classic clean sung doom-croon style with various Danzig-isms and there's a litany of southern elements both in the harmonica additions and bluesy riffs. Stoner fans who normally can’t stand Southern Lord releases should still check this out. Despite being heavier than your average act, this is miles from anywhere near the temple of drone.

However, “Flower of Disease” is also the follow up to the excellent “Goatsnake Vol. I,” which in terms of riffs I have always deemed superior. While “Vol I” was essentially a great Sabbath album that replaced the guitar/bass tone with the 600lb gorilla version, “Flower of Disease” has the Achilles heel of southern rock, which is always the weaker element in the pairing of stoner and doom. This could be a personal preference however, and Goatsnake releases always displayed the band in full riff driven force one way or another.

As a more pure doom fan, I don’t listen to stoner or sludge much. But when I do, being the picky S.O.B. I am, I require it to meet a certain level of “Jesus... this is heavy” to, well, I guess, make up for replacing wailing about death and emptiness to wailing about motorbikes and alcohol. Let’s just say Goatsnake more than fills this requirement. “Flower of Disease” is recommended for all stoner rock fans looking for something with balls who can't hold out for a “Vol. I” reissue.

Highs: Superb crooning Danzig/Ozzy vocals and an impossibly "none-more-heavy" guitar tone

Lows: The southern rock elements weaken the strong points by pulling in the other direction

Bottom line: Recommended for all stoner rock fans looking for something with balls who can't hold out for a “Vol. I” reissue.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)