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Goatchrist – Pythagoras

by Santiago Puyol at 21 January 2020, 7:17 AM

Avant-Garde Black Metal musical outfit GOATCHRIST was formed in 2014, in West Workshire, England. "Pythagoras" is their fourth album so far, a concept record following the life and body of work of the Greek philosopher and mathematician.

"The Initiation of Pythagoras by Thoth Hermes Tresmegistus" functions as a short instrumental intro, with an almost military feel, punctuated by horns. It gives way to first proper song, "Worlds", an almost nine-minute track with multiple sections.
"Worlds" is a keyboard-heavy track, with lots of organs and electric piano. Soulful clean vocals make great contrast with harsh growls, atop atmospheric, Shoegaze-tingled riffing. A jazzy middle section, complete with synth sax, gives way to a 70’s inspired second half, quite KING CRIMSON-esque even. Lyrics are a bit oblique but still intriguing in general.

Equal parts YES and EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER, "The Tetractys" explore the concept of "musica universalis" through lyrics as well as by its beautiful music. It is an example of tight songwriting. Its shift from 4/4 to 6/8 time signature on its second half creates an internal sense of drama; a little blob of darkness at the core of its otherwise uplifting sound.

Nasty riffing appears on "Phytagorean Solids", atop a catchy surf rock feel from the drums, bass and keyboards. The instrumental sounds almost like a twisted BEACH BOYS track, or even something out of a spy movie soundtrack. A highlight and another perfect example of a song that sounds just as playful as downright evil. It would not feel out of place on MR. BUNGLE’s "California". Conceptually it explores the five elements from classic Greek thought: air, fire, earth, water and aether.

"Introduction to Numbers" is exactly what it says. A lovely piano interlude with weird percussion that enters "Numbers", the heaviest track on the record. Although closer to traditional Black Metal sound it still mixes proggy bits and jazzy, psychedelic sound explorations. The horn section adds an epic feel to the blast beats and meaty riffing. Its last third shifts between straight-forward songwriting and dissonant, "broken" jam bits. A reprise of the intro serves as a coda.

The concept of "musica universalis" comes back on the instrumental "Harmony of the Spheres", taking its basis from the idea that “the nature of ratios between the orbital radii of the celestial bodies produced harmonies when motion was considered” (as stated on the band’s bandcamp page). It is an ambient track filled with synth sounds, that feels as relaxing as oddly unnerving; a quiet desperation.

"Metempyschosis" brings the classic Black Metal back with a dash of Gothic melodrama and a groovy bassline. Another long track, it features several instrumental interludes, including some screeching guitar soloing and nasty bass runs. Two thirds in, it goes full dark jazz. The track explores the concept of reincarnation into the Pythagorean philosophy.

Closer "The Death of Pythagoras" goes for an Alternative Rock sound from the very start, with a little bit of early Beck inspiration and a dash of Post-Grunge angst, especially on the chorus. The vocals alternate between conversational singing, spoken word and rapping. It is one of the most exciting and unexpected tracks here, and shows GOATCHRIST could be writing pop-inspired tracks if they wanted to. After almost five minutes of silence, there is a fun Dance track, with screams, random vocalizations and everything thrown in.

"Pythagoras" is an outstanding album, exhilarating and filled with tight, creative songs that nonetheless suffers from poor production choices. With better production qualities, its intricacies could be better appreciated and the whole experience would be, undoubtedly, more satisfying overall. Aside from that, GOATCHRIST excels in this record.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

1. The Initiation of Pythagoras by Thoth Hermes Tresmegistus
2. Worlds
3. The Tetractys
4. Phytagorean Solids
5. Introduction to Numbers
6. Numbers
7. Harmony of the Spheres
8. Metempyschosis
9. The Death of Pythagoras
J. Guilherme – Instruments and vocals, songwriting, recording
V. Calin – Lead guitar (track II), vocals (chorus, track IX), recording
D. Tann – Vocals (track II)
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 01 December 2022

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