Taking influence from traditional doom metal and altering it so as to not simply imitate past acts, Brighton outfit King Goat proved their right to be considered amongst the UK doom scene’s best and most creative acts on last year’s Conduit.
Throughout their debut, the band’s sound has benefited from a more progressive sound, as well as a lack of the fuzzy, feedback-reliant guitar monoliths that can often become tedious amongst some of the sub-genre’s less imaginative acts. With an epic sound using elaborate and complex tracks, the band harken back to Swedish giants Candlemass at the peak of their near-operatic grandeur, but carve out a distinct and idiosyncratic identity through the use of inventive, prog-influenced elements.
Equally impressive, though, is the band’s engrossing live show, which has graced the stages of numerous festivals throughout the UK, including Bloodstock, Mammothfest, and Doom Over London. This November, however, the band are holding their own event, a one-day sludge-fest called Riffmass, with Witchsorrow, Slabdragger, The Earls Of Mars and March The Desert among those performing.
The band promise a busy and exciting year in 2018, so we spoke to them about the themes found in their music, the origins of their progressive sound, the Brighton metal scene and more.
Is doing something new and innovative something you aim for?
I think that most bands want to do something original, even if it’s within a familiar framework. Innovation probably is not our number one priority when we’re writing, although it is something we’re aware of during the process. We mostly tend to focus on the overall flow of each piece, and how it structures and layers itself- but, a lot of ideas are discarded or re-worked if we feel they either do not stand out or don’t add anything to the music.
What themes or concepts can be found in Conduit?
Trim’s lyrics usually contain a narrative. He’s explained to us that he tries to impart a certain level of ambiguity to whatever he is writing, his style often graduates to a more story based approach. Though, more recently, there has been some experimenting with different methods, too. In terms of themes, you can find subjects such as isolation, loneliness and an anger at the state of the world. ‘Flight of the Deviants’, for example, is inspired by the events from John Wyndham’s book, The Chrysalids.
Conduit seemed to take traditional doom (à la Candlemass) and infuse it with epic prog textures, who/what inspires the band’s music?
When it comes to taking inspiration from bands, it is fairly indirect- we all listen to a lot of music, but it’s not often that we are listening to the same things as each other… so I think it would be difficult to directly trace our influences. Most often inspiration just seems to come from being in the room together, and the energy coming from what we can play- it kinda feeds back on itself.
We look up to bands who take their music and work hard to create something truly meaningful from it. We were lucky enough to play with A Forest of Stars who are an excellent example of this, but there are also incredible acts like In the Woods… or Oranssi Pazuzu out there, who are also escaping the more traditional frameworks, we aim to do with doom.
The band started as a more traditional act before introducing progressive elements, what spawned this change?
When we first started we had not really discussed what we wanted to “be”, other than “a doom band”. As we continued to write more, we became more interested in exploring more directions. We definitely focus on song structure a lot more than we used to, and we tend to do this while we are all together. Everyone has more of a chance to sculpt each song- which tends to warp the original idea into something a lot more than its constituent parts.
Doom, and metal in general, has a pretty strong scene in Brighton, did this make it easier for you? Or is it harder to stand out in a more populated scene?
Having an active local scene totally helps. There are a whole load of people in the here, who are either playing shows or making them happen; things are moving and that is a real lifeline for the early days of any band. Bands are born out of the scene and in turn, they attract people to it: a strange little circle of life. We’re lucky to share a scene great bands such as Vehement, King Leviathan, and Aklash. We have also started putting on our own all-day event in Brighton each year: “Riffmass”. It’s really great for us because we get to choose the line-up ourselves – inviting a load of bands we like down to play in Brighton!
You guys have a menacing stage presence, using smoke and dark hooded clothing, do you take pride in giving a more distinct and unique performance?
We definitely take pride in our live performance and it is something that we are constantly looking at and thinking about. It would be a disservice to our music to just play it. It seems like it really benefits from the right atmosphere; we do not want our music to fade into the background, we want the background to allow you to fade into the music.
Modern doom metal has a proclivity for heavy-handed feedback and fuzzy riffs, is there a reason you largely refrain from using these?
Yeah, modern doom is a broad church nowadays – there is definitely a real variety of sounds and styles within it. We use modern high gain amps that are more suitable for the kind of material we have been writing, fuzz is great for some styles but it does not do bigger, extended harmonies any favours, and does not allow us quite the same flexibility in dynamics. I think it is probably as simple as that!
What have you guys got planned for the future?
We reckon that things are going to get a lot busier in 2018! Unfortunately, we cannot yet talk about it openly – sorry! There are going to be some cool announcements in the coming few weeks, so hopefully, you will find your answers there!
Conduit is out now. Purchase here.
Words: George Parr
Photo Credit: Natalie Z. Photography