A few things you should know about Vancouver trio Thirteen Goats that go to show that band and Servants of the Outer Dark, their debut entry into the death/thrash sweepstakes, is an oblong and bizarre beast that you can take with a grain of salt as much as you can a right cross to the chops:
1) Their moniker refers to the band’s loose concept and mascot ‘Shepherd’ (pictured above) who is apparently a space and time travelling demonic entity and antichrist figure who wears a goat skull mask. He supposedly appears whenever evil deeds are afoot, which for some reason or another gives the band license to write about pretty much anything. The other 12 goats represent his infernal disciples, as well as symbolizing the “baa-nality” of evil.
2) Guitarist/vocalist Graham K. Miles is a classically-trained Shakespearean actor with a master’s degree in theatre from New York City’s New School for Drama (formerly the Actor’s Studio Drama School). Think Fame, except with more lattes and no Gene Anthony Ray or Lee Curreri.
3) The band’s bio had this to say about the title track of their new album: “This song is an homage to my favourite Stephen King villain. I hope Stephen King doesn’t sue us, but if he does, I plan to take that as a sign that we made it. He didn’t sue Anthrax, so I’m hoping that means we’ll be all right.”
4) The band’s tagline, as spotted on their Bandcamp page, “This ain’t your dad’s death metal, but we kept the best parts.”
This morning, in order to celebrate the Canada Day release of Servants of the Outer Dark (that’s tomorrow!), as well as the band’s devil-may-care attitude, we’re presenting the opportunity for y’all to check out their alchemical style reminiscent of Cannibal Corpse, Misery Index, classic Megadeth, melodic Swe-death and all eras of Death and Carcass. When we asked the band to pimp their own ride, Miles responded by saying:
“Servants of the Outer Dark is a record about the awesome transformative power that exists in the darkest corners of the human experience. It’s about how the things we shy away from often have the greatest power to create change—for better or for worse, depending on how we confront them. Every song on the album ties into that theme in some way—whether it’s through the lens of high fantasy on the title track, or politics and religion on songs like ‘Return to Ruin’ and ‘Unholy Mass.’ Whether we’re writing about dark wizards causing inter-dimensional chaos, the bloody history of Eastern Europe in the 20th century, or making someone’s head explode in a pressurized chamber, we’re always exploring what happens when established structures are destroyed and what that process leaves behind.
“For us, that’s also a huge part of what metal is all about—challenging established systems, institutions, and values to eliminate what doesn’t serve us anymore and create space for better ways of doing things. It can seem ugly and scary at first, but it’s ultimately cathartic and necessary. We’re trying to do that with our music as well—we’re very proud of our influences, but we’re out to take the ideas they’ve inspired in us a step further so that we can keep improving the state of heavy music and help it stay relevant and exciting.
“Finally, this album is our shot at making the music we always wanted to listen to when we were younger. We grew up on metal—it always spoke to something in us that felt ill at ease and out of touch with the rest of the world. Metal helped us feel more seen and less alone. We sincerely hope this record allows us to pay that forward to a new generation of fans, and that we give them a good reason to bang their heads in the process.”
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