Candlemass meets prog in the epic doom stylings of King Goat, we spoke to the band to find out more about their second LP.
With 2016’s Conduit, Brighton’s King Goat emerged as one of the leading lights of a strong local scene, highlighting the talent of the region and the strength of the doom genre as a whole. Since then, the band has gone on to host their own annual one-dayer, Riffmass, and has built up a significant reputation as a thrilling live band who put on a captivating spectacle, even in the smallest of venues.
The band have become a key part of the south coast’s metal tribe, giving more to the genre than just their recordings by introducing others to a wave of other noteworthy artists. This time around, though, the focus is wholly on them, as having signed to Aural Music, they’ve emerged with their second full-length, Debt Of Aeons.
Retaining the progressive tendencies of their debut but also finding room for heavier textures, Debt Of Aeons builds upon the group’s established Candlemass-meets-prog stylings with aplomb. It walks the line between melody-infused grandeur and more extreme textures (even touching black metal and psychedelia at times), with enough shifting dynamics to make its runtime thoroughly enjoyable throughout. Eager to find out more, we got in touch with the band, and spoke to Jon (drums) and Petros (guitars) about all things King Goat.
Last time we spoke you couldn’t tell us much about the new album or signing to Aural Music just yet. How did the signing come about?
Jon: Ah yeah- it’s often the case you have to keep things quiet until they’re finalised! I don’t think there’s much of a story behind how it came about- the label had heard Conduit and got in touch with us! As you now know, they re-released Conduit last year as a Deluxe Edition, and are releasing Debt Of Aeons this month.
How did the writing and recording process differ from past releases?
Petros: Certain aspects of our writing have sped up as we’ve become more familiar with each other’s ways of communicating ideas, but we’ve definitely been harder on ourselves in terms of quality control. We became ruthless when it came to throwing away or replacing ideas we felt weren’t up to our standard – some of the songs are probably unrecognisable compared to their initial incarnations.
Jon: Everything was a lot longer for Debt Of Aeons– the writing period was far longer. I think we started writing for Debt Of Aeons in 2015, even before Conduit was released! We spent a lot longer in the studio, and preparing for entering the studio this time around, too. The songs are more complex and more dynamic, so to do them justice I really felt like I needed to be well prepared. I started recording every rehearsal, and then I’d study the recordings to get an idea of what tempos felt right, where changes should ‘ramp’ to feel natural, and try and spot any areas that had the potential to not always flow smoothly, for example.
Is there an overarching theme to Debt Of Aeons?
Petros: All the songs are individually themed, but I guess there is an overall bleakness tying the tracks together, but not in a way to make Debt Of Aeons a concept album in any way.
What were your intentions going into the album; did you set out with the aim to further alter your sound at all?
Petros: On a personal note, I wanted to fight that feeling of “damn, how am I going to top that last album off?” As for the sound, I felt less restrained and explored more paths. Experimenting and writing with different guitar tunings sure was great!
Jon: I think we were less worried about maintaining a specific sound, if that makes sense to say. We more just wrote with an open mind.
You’ve previously noted how you started as a more standard doom band and later progressed. How does this album further progress upon what we heard on Conduit?
Petros: It’s definitely a lot more extreme, in its own way. We’ve left some of the more psychedelic vibes, for harsher and darker textures.
Who/what inspired your writing going into the new album, and how do you think this affected the end product?
Jon: We all have a lot of influences coming in, but it’s hard to nail down exactly where they creep into the sound. I can make big lists of stuff I listen to (and, I think we have done this fairly recently) – but it’s not something I often actively think about while we’re writing.
As well as contributing to the Brighton doom scene through your music and live shows, you guys take a more active role in it by holding Riffmass each year. Considering most people digest their music over the internet these days, what role do you think local scenes play in modern metal?
Petros: Local scenes are where the journey of all live music lovers begin, regardless if they’re musicians themselves or fans. If we hadn’t been to local metal shows ourselves and met the people that we have all these years ago, we probably wouldn’t have been inspired to start our own band. It’s a circle of life kinda thing.
We started Riffmass for a variety of reasons. We kept seeing all these amazing all-dayers in other cities like Sheffield, Manchester, etc. so we said to ourselves “why not start one?” It’s cool for us to be able to invite bands down to play that we’ve played and hung out with in other cities, too.
Do you think there’s a reason for the strength of the current doom scene?
Jon: I think sometimes you just get some great bands come along at the right time, with some great promoters, festivals, etc… Doom seems to bring people together, too – sometimes you’ll see a band that seems to completely hypnotise a whole room of people into a synchronised slowly-headbanging/swaying motion – almost as if they’ve become a single organism or something. That’s kinda powerful to experience by anyone’s standards.
You’ve always taken pride in your distinct live performances. Do you plan to alter them at all for the Debt Of Aeons touring cycle?
Jon: Yeah, we’re still really focusing on creating an atmosphere while we play. The flow of the set is very important to us, too – if we can mentally transport people to a different place for half an hour, I think that’s an achievement. And yeah! We’ve made a few changes. I won’t go into detail here, best to come and see it for yourselves.
What can we expect from King Goat in the future?
Petros: We’re really looking forward to our first steps towards the mainland and more music! We’ve already got some exciting ideas regarding album three that will hopefully challenge us in the right way and result in us writing an even better record!
Debt Of Aeons is out now on Aural Music. Purchase here.
Words: George Parr