EP review: GOYA – Kathmandu

GOYA - Kathmandu

[Release date 08.12.17]

Hailing from Stoke-on-Trent, Goya are a bit like a progressive/stoner Stoke City – fans that love them, love them but a lot won’t like the stuff they play.

That said, and with all the usual trepidation of approaching an instrumental progressive rock E.P., you know something – this ain’t bad at all. If your bag is contemplative, Rush-style intensity with all the associated tempo changes and feedback-smudged, crashing riffology, this four track EP checks in at a rousing 32 minutes – which is as much as you get from a full album by some these days.

But, not in prog – oh no, siree – the highlight is the 12-plus minute masterpiece “Venenatus” – an absolute colossus of a track kicked off by its faux-scary, nursery rhyme intro which literally slams like a car crash into its gloom-mongering, thundering backbone riff and then dissipates into a slow Floyd-type few breather bars.

Then, with that feeling like you’re winding up to the top of a roller-coaster and the inevitable decent, the track (not even half way through yet) launches again into that crushing riff before getting all space-jammy and out there and then peacefully winds its way to a masterful acoustic coda. Heineken has never bothered looking Bohemian Rhapsody’s instrumental prog equivalent, but if they did…..what a track this is….strap in tight!!

Opening track “Collider” is the four minute baby track (hey, maybe even the single!) but a furious tour-de-force with a simple and infectious, mesmerizing, riff. Industrial post-prog as a category, anyone?

“Asohka” is a complete lock-in of all that is good in meandering mood metal – part-Maiden midde-eight, part QOTSA frantic thrash-off – builds like an orgasm, this one, with a predictably messy and glorious conclusion. Brilliant stuff.

“Kathmandu”, as the title might suggest, opens with a haunting, eastern vibe, slow-burning into a prog-fest of meaty chords – the perfect soundtrack to an apocalyptic movie.

Apparently, the band don’t think they’re pretentious but have coined the phrase “Absolute Music” for this very effective mish-mash of styles and….they ‘speak through their instruments” ……bit redundant that, since they don’t have a singer. But these guys do literally paint musical landscapes which are as dramatic as they are unpredictable. This debut offering never dropped my attention once and I never yearned for vocals at any point.

If this is the future of progressive rock, I could certainly be turned… ****

Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw

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