Goblin Hovel – Whatever Keeps The Lights On
Goblin Hovel is a seriously heavy band with many different influences covering many metal sub-genres. You have Folk Metal, Goblin Metal, Death Metal, Tech Metal, Melodic Death Metal, and more! There are multiple people who can and do, sing in this band. There are clean and harsh vocals mixed in with others. The guitars are heavy, the bass is heavier, and the drums are wicked. There is even a banjo in the mix. These guys are all over the place in some of the best ways.
- The Nameless Goblin – Vocals/Bass/Keyboards
- Rawbeard – Lead Guitars/Vocals
- Damn Barbarian – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitars
- Petuh – Banjo/Mandolin
- EarAcheSon – Drums
October 22, 2022
- The Menace
- The Red Ones Go Faster
- Diary Of A Teapot
- (How To) Start A Witch Hunt
- The Comedy Of Forms
- Glass Sparrows
- Horrors Of The Library
- The Recluse
The record opens with “Pareidolia,” a heavy song with a bit of everything. There are clean and harsh vocals and guitar tones that are reminiscent of The Munsters’ opening theme. The drums and bass are everything from hard driving to moderately paced and are used to help the wild transitions you hear throughout the songs. The lead guitar work is quite stunning, hitting shreddy vibes and then dropping back to almost Spanish flamenco phrasing. The odd shifts and changes in tempo and phrasing are complex enough to be Progressive Metal but don’t have the technical precision of some bands, instead going for a raw power shift, not finesse.
“The Menace” has more of the same 60s and 70s television theme sounds, but the overlaid rhythm is straight-up heavy metal, bordering on thrash guitars with power metal underpinnings. The variety of voices gives the song a bit of a chaotic, mental breakdown feeling. The guitar solos are strange yet beautiful, at times gothic, at others back to Spanish/Arabic melodies. It sounds like different characters in this song compete with each other.
The music continues to feel like it has a cinematic element to it. “The Red ones Go Faster” and “Diary Of A Teapot” have different themes, but both contain the same wild mixture of tones and chaotic shifts. “Diary Of A Teapot” starts slow, with clean vocals, bringing a dramatic, gloomy tone to life until the harsh vocals smash the calm and take the song to its’ heavy section. None of these compositions are cookie-cutter, each having an identity and life of its’ own.
Next, we go back to the heavy with “(How To) Start A Witch Hunt.” The riff is massive and kicks you in the face from the get-go. The vocals start clean but do go harsh. The lead guitar work is almost delicate over the harshness of the riff, and the rhythm is pounding, leaving barely enough room for those softer tones to fit into the crevices of the wall of sound this track is. This is a multi-layered song, vocally and musically, and it works on many levels, especially with that heavy rendition of an Arabesque theme at the bridge.
“The Comedy Of Forms” is harsh from the start vocally, but the music is not as heavy as before. The musical drop to let the vocals move out front are interesting, especially with the cinematic tones of the instruments in those areas. The guitar solo on this one is stunning, easily my favorite on the album, especially since there is a part one solo and a part two solo, followed by a bit of subdued melodic guitar work.
For a bit of deception, “Glass Sparrows” opens with a melodic passage, allowing you to think it might stay in that range, but the kick crushes that idea. The vocals come in the dark, and the riff smashes you in the ears. It’s a killer way to show the diversity this band loves to write. “Horrors Of The Library” has a bit of both worlds, with muted guitar tones fitted between heavy riffed phrases. There is a melodic section with clean vocals, then a bombastic section with harsh vocals. They trade off throughout the rest of the song, giving the appearance of this being told almost from two different perspectives.
“The Recluse” concludes the record, opening with muted, dark tones. This one has the feel of a Tim Burton soundtrack. Having a granddaughter who loves Jack Skellington, I can hear this track setting up part of his story. It takes longer to get to the heavy on this song, but when it comes, it is beautiful. That guitar work is expertly guided by an excellent rhythm section.
These guys write songs that really attract my attention. They are not anything you will find on the record store’s main shelves; you’ll have to dig for this one. The good thing is we now have it identified and can point the way to them for you. Above is their BandCamp link; yes, you should check them out. It is not something you’ve heard before, but that can be corrected with a few clicks. You can thank me later.
- Guitars – 9
- Rhythms – 9
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
- Overall – 9.20