As Vim Fuego once lambasted ‘I let my guitar speak for me’. And in this case, Goya let the guitar, bass and drums do all the talking.
This is no pretentious conceptual musical creation. As the band describe it themselves, it is Absolute Music. Music created to just be, rather than intrinsically represent something. So, really, this is an album taking its hat-tip to Goethe, Herder and Richter who believed music could be more emotionally powerful without words.
The first track ‘Collider’ has a real Rush feel about it in places as it just chugs along before sideswiping you with that off beat riffs so beloved of Rush. The track blends this all well and it feels natural rather than trying to be clever and shoehorned in just for the sake of it.
Next ‘Venenatus’ a behemoth of a track sitting at around 13 minutes (unlucky for some, but not you) takes you on an odyssey starting with a chillfest before it smacks you in the face with a real Black Sabbath like stoner voyage. Heavy, broody, and dark, this gives you full thick bass, thumping drum beats and chunky guitar licks. Backwards and forwards this seesaw swings between dreamy slow resting interludes and hefty heavy doom laden riffage. It really is a masterful movement of musicianship of prog-rock epic proportions. Its outro feels like a homage to the original Diablo game, and you will just imagine yourself entering next level of that dungeon ready to take on whatever lies round the next corner.
Then you get to ‘Ashoka’ that swings between tempos with a mish-mash of feedback noise throughout. Again the style is very melodic prog-rock but delivered with a contemporary veneer. You can feel the roots this particular organic piece comes from but it has blossomed into a brand new fauna genus. Very enjoyable.
The title piece finishes of the little journey into the realm of instrumentalism. ‘Kathmandu’ starts off as a dreamy oriental piece before slapping you with a Pink Floyd like slow dance of well-crafted trippy psychedelic funk.
Ok, this is not everyone’s cup of tea (or Jack Daniels) but it really is a superb little EP that pulls you along. It’s no disservice to call it excellent background music. There are no muffled lyrics that will subconsciously pull you back from a metal daydream as your brain desperately tries to make sense of what was just sung. This is just music for music’s sake. A rhapsody in rock, if you will. And a bit of a reminder of how great this sort of rock can be.
Definitely pick this little beauty up and you will find it perfect for driving, exercising or even just drinking. (Or while you are googling Goethe, Herder and Richter)
Review by Ivor Whitten
‘Kathmandu’ is out on 8th December.