Thu 13th December 2018
A two piece from Durham, this is quite obviously doom flavoured - if the name didn't give it away, then the artwork, song titles and briefest of listens do. There's just three tracks, but enough here to make you sit up and truly pay attention, and forgive them the daftness in their name and amphibian theme.
For this is no playful stoner rock ride. It aims for darkest of doom corners, supplemented with an unhealthy fixation of sludge. The title track greets with a nice tone and befitting stunted pace, followed by desperate shrieks from the dark. As it picks up pace it crosses into sludge lands, the bold ending dredged from the bongwaters of Bongzilla. It is all very familiar, but still likeable.
Take the Dead is better. Slow and long minutes of dread, as it appears from this quagmire the sound is grimily mired in static, in an Indian or Grey Widow styled shroud. It makes for a demonic level threat that elevates Goblinsmoker just above the plain doom-staple pit they otherwise happily wallow within. It is a worryingly addictive noise, not unlike Blind Monarch's impressive belligerence, self-energising as it progresses so by the end you're increasingly hooked.
They return to the sludge swamp on the closing Time to Ride, and while it sounds suitably grim and murky, that feeling of having heard this before returns with it. There may be a little originality issue on the release, but its a tad churlish to complain. Goblinsmoker by and large impress, taking you on a journey through pitch black caves where the air is thin and turning your mood grey. At its best, particularly on the middle track, it points to another great addition to the UK doom scene.