Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Mountain Goats :: All Eternals Deck

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The Mountain Goats :: All Eternals Deck ~ Merge Records ~  Claremont, CA ~ March 29th 2011

Black metal music has sprung up before in The Mountain Goats catalog, most notably in the song ¨"The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton" on All Hail West Texas. However, skepticism would be natural when hearing that their new album was going to be a metal album (particularly since there´s a track called "Liza Forever Minnelli"). All Eternals Deck turns out to be more metal inspired and thankfully holds true to The Mountain Goat´s style, with a never before seen intensity.

There was a glimmer of aggression on the song "Psalms 40:2" from 2009's excellent post-apocalyptic biblical themed The Life of the World to Come. However, the new record features a couple tracks where songwriter John Darnielle gets to yelling and growling. That´s not all the record features however. There are plenty of ´"traditional" goats tunes and, probably the most unique and hilarious track on the album, a viking war hymn called "High Hawk Season."

Darnielle has always had a proclivity for concept albums that tell stories. The amazing EP with John Vanderslice from 2009 called Moon Colony Bloodbath starred a cannibal in a story about an organ harvesting colony on the moon and the sci-fi lyrics best resemble those in All Eternals Deck. The Life of the World to Come also had similar pagan imagery. What´s always amazing about The Mountain Goats is that the concept is present, but it doesn´t distract from simply enjoying listening to the album.

The new record opens with a vampire victim and what is hopefully a condemnation of the sugary night-creature book series that shall remain nameless, with "Damn These Vampires." The lyrics hold up to metal themes with names like "Age of Kings," "Outer Scorpion Squadron," and "Birth of Serpents." However, they always maintain their goatyness with insightful lines like from the latter, "that young man that dwells inside his body like an uninvited guest." As with most of the Mountain Goats albums, it carries an intriguing story that can only be unwound with multiple listens.

The vinyl of the album has an alternative cover (below). The first 500 pre-orders also came with a cassette that included individual hand drawn artwork, which is a shame that they're sold out. It's great to see bands the size of The Mountain Goats doing this kind of stuff.


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