Thursday, August 20, 2015

Goblin Hovel : "Loveless, Loreless, Lost"

Just stumbled over this odd mixture of folk metal and neo-folk, that often doesn't know where one begins and the other ends. At first the questionable production didn't click but after a while it became part of their charm. The vocals at times are cleanly sung, and very well sung at that. In other places they have more of a croak rasp to their growl with not much power behind them. Similar by a few degrees to Agalloch , but lower and not really death metal. The opening song is more of an instrumental and it's not until the dynamically diverse "The Road Home" kicks in that you can begin to appreciate what they are capable of. Sometimes they take it a little too far like on the blues infused "Straw Bones" which just doesn't gel with the rest of the album.It's not cross roads blues , but reckless gypsy blues. The band claims this album was written during a very dark time and is dedicated to those who are dead or wish they were, and this song seems a little to upbeat for that vibe. At one point the Sigh could  almost be a reference point for some of the stylistic shifts they take on this album.

They go into straight up neo-folk with no metallic aspirations on "With Your Shield". It flows down a very melancholy river in the wilderness. "Famine's Orchard" is dark neo-folk with the male vocals and female vocals switching off. The lyrics are about a ghost who haunts on old mansion. Pretty typical place for a ghost to haunt.The guitar leans more towards a rambling rock oriented strum before the growl comes in. "The Trespasser" which continues the ghost story started in the previous song. The whispered vocals at the beginning really accentuate the Agalloch influence, though its not a present when the song speeds up. They proceed to straight up rock out with acoustic guitars that is much more convincing that what Ancient Wisdom use to do. They keep going with the ghost story on "Garden Haunt" . A man the ghost once loved shows us and makes the ghost sad. This is acted out through the duet of male and female vocals. Guitar wise it's pretty typical folk and the vocals are the song strongest suit.

The fourth song of the ghost story saga "Beauty Still Lives Here" finds the  ghost tortured by having to watch their lover fade and die over and over again. They hit a cool sorrowful drone here using flutes to ease a haunting melody over the strum of guitar. They end the ghost story and the album with "the Fallen House".  It strums along similar ground as many of the previous songs, I would say it focuses more on the folk elements , but this album is more neo-folk than metal, metal is just a faint shading they use. I'll around this one up to an 8.5  it starts strong then once you get mired down into the ghost songs some of them have too similar a cadence, but it might grow on me. It is refreshing to have neo-folk that does not just want to be Death In June.

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