Album Review: Thirteen Ghosts – Servants of the Outer Dark
Reviewed by Neil Bolton
It’s a blast of slightly technical death metal that slaps the listener in the face after the opening acoustic guitar intro on Thirteen Goats’ debut album. This Vancouver outfit set about the album with precision, aggression, controlled chaos, and menace. The menace is provided by Graham K. Miles’s death metal growl; the aggression comes from the bass and guitar; the controlled chaos can be attributed to the razor sharp drums. The menacing vocals then become clean and surprisingly rather commercial, adding another dimension to this band. The clean vocal style is still metal, its just unexpected, which is always a good thing on a debut album. This particular track 'Servant Of The Outer Dark' is an homage to the horror author Steven King and contains spoken word and breakdown sections that keep the listener interested and keen.
The second track builds on the intensity of the first and bubbles with guttural demonic vocals the album cover deserves. The riff is fast, and impressive seen as singer and guitar player had a motorcycle accident during the recording process, meaning he had to perform with a broken finger and sprained wrists. Now that is dedication and very Rock N Roll!
The un named drummer on this recording is having the time of their life and I hope Mr Miles, Rob Fitzgerald, and Mike Redston can supply a drummer of the same talent on their live performances or something would be missing.
With lyrical subjects of death, prisoner camps and exploding heads the band’s Ukrainian heritage seems a little more poignant in this current climate. Thirteen Goats seem to be able to shift between thrash, death, grind and heavy metal with ease and accuracy, sometimes all in the one track. There is even an intriguing nod to the band’s musical influence at the end of the final track, a subtle and deep way of thanking for the influence.
The demonic goat skull mask worn by the entity 'The Shepard" on the album cover screams black metal. There is contained in here more than meets the eye.