Despite there still being plenty of time for music to shape our view of the year, I believe a few themes are taking shape already that we will still be talking about at the end. On this note, if you haven’t heard about goader yet, I strongly advise you to take a listen.

Wisconsin’s goader has been around for a while, having released three singles. The previous effort reached more than 10,000 streams on major platforms, but “Older Gods” is goader’s first record. A superbly executed journey, the album exists somewhere in the midpoint between cinematic post-rock and emotional post-metal and beyond, taking well-worn formulas and putting its own mark on them.

In the same way that most post-rock albums find their home in the spaced-out moments, goader constantly pulls you along, preparing you for the inevitable next anvil of emotion to strike. The atmosphere is murky and heavy throughout. Sometimes, the album appears to be holding you down and barely allowing you to catch your breath.

Per goader’s press release, “The album’s sound is refined by the expertise of Matt Bayles (Russian Circles, Mastodon) on mixing and Ed Brooks (Death Cab for Cutie, Pearl Jam) on mastering, ensuring each track resonates with emotional depth and technical clarity. Tracks are inspired by sources such as Soren Kirkegaard, Rene Girard, and more.”

The opening track, ‘moonraker,’ is both quiet and atmospheric, but also exhibits interesting glimmers of attitude that foreshadow the upcoming storm effectively. Then ‘soothsayer‘ kicks in and goader never looks back. Undoubtedly, every track is filled with powerful content, swinging from one cinematic musical concept to the next, ‘lycanthrope‘ and ‘the divine worm‘ included, but the album feels very unified and purposeful.

After such a welcome interlude, goader appears to be resuming the intensity in the second half of the album. The guitars, as would be expected, are textural for a lot of the record. The one-man band project throws out some of the wildest and most profound riffs with no regard for your poor eardrums, as these tracks can only be consumed at full volume. Strong emotional resonance runs through the entire record, and while it may seem demanding at times, once you begin to decode its secrets, this masterpiece is one of the most rewarding albums you will ever listen to.

Both ‘mimesis‘ and ‘non-veritas’ have a sheer abundance of intricate yet catchy riffs, intelligent use of blast beats of various kinds to elevate the scale and grandiosity of it all, and a great sense of identity. “Older Gods” is a record where every track and the album itself as a whole is captivating.

The review has been in the works for over a week now, trying to find more ways to describe this wonderful record, but it has only recently occurred to me that I have basically stated everything that needs to be said. Rather than going into obsessive detail about every riff and note, this is more of a release you should just press play on, lower your lights, and enjoy a drink while listening to. goader is perfect if you appreciate cinematic sounds, soundtracks, and subtlety in music, and if you are open to something deep and quite different.

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Still can't tell exactly my origins because of my suspiciously ‘Chinese eyes’.