“Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane.” – H.P. Lovecraft

Whatever your personal slant may be, different types of music can have many different effects (good and, uh…bad) on the human mind and its vast spectrum of emotional reactions. The experience is most definitely special to the listener. A sappy love song can bring awaken memories of heartbreak and tears to the eyes. A song of mourning can invoke sadness in the heart. A comedic parody, if done correctly, can result in laughing one’s ass right off. The right bangin’ beat at the club will leave those in-the-know no choice but to act a complete fool, tearing up everything and everyone in sight. Meanwhile, the right musical selection can inspire destruction. Case in point: convicted serial killer, Richard Ramirez, found some sort of motivation from AC/DC and their song “Night Prowler”, and, regardless of the band’s supposed actual meaning behind the lyrical content, utilized that inspiration for murderous actions that would eventually earn him a spot on California’s death row. The point is, music is powerful, for better or worse.

On the “better” side of the spectrum is the new, gloriously filthy and chaotic EP from the Circle City’s very own Black Goat of the Woods. Featuring former and current members of Late August, Boddicker, and Tunguska (R.I.P.), the band has hit the “insanity” nail dead-center with this venomous nine-track beast, unleashed through Necrology Rekordings. What to expect: a relentless blackened grind assault fueled with the flames of Hell itself!

Clocking in at just under twenty-two minutes and complete with a delightfully sinister cover painting executed by Coffinworm drummer, Josh “Chubbs” Shrontz, the EP was recorded and mixed by Carl Byers of Clandestine Arts Recordings. It kicks off with the aptly-titled “Opening the Bloodstained Gates”, sounding the alarm for the lunacy that follows. Abundant feedback, raw-throated vocals, galloping percussion, and a steeple-toppling low end are all in full-effect on seething numbers like “Fisting Angels” and “Imperial Cult.” “Filth and Intoxication” is a definite highlight, flawlessly fusing raging blasphemy with an alternating groove that’s likely welcome to those that find themselves at home in a swirling pit. The only real time Black Goat of the Woods slow things down, is on “Terrorize the Church”, with its slow doomed-out passages amidst the grinding shitstorm. Meanwhile, the riffs on “Iron Frost” bring the inferno to the front lines with a spot-on brand of black metal fury. Where most of the songs here are around the two-minute mark, “Crawling Through Hell” closes out the EP at over ten minutes in length, deconstructing from a frothing rage to a slow plodding death march into droning, anguished territory only witnessed in nightmares.

Upon repeated listen of Black Goat of the Woods, it is 100% clear to me that Lovecraft was definitely onto something, not just in the sense that people like to drink and rip up the dance floor. The way I see it, if a band can initiate such an introspection and abandonment of social inhibition to control one’s self, without the accompaniment of intoxicants, they’re surely masters of their craft. I like going crazy with a soundtrack now and then. Every single time I’ve spun the Black Goat of the Woods self-titled EP, I’ve been more or less sober…but I’ve definitely found myself constantly, and quite blissfully, staring long into the accursed abyss. Few bands can pull this kind of thing off, and Black Goat of the Woods are apparently wizards at the stuff. What we have here is an undeniable top contender for any “best of 2012” list. Insanity can most definitely be a good thing. Anyone to unfortunate to see that is obviously missing out!