Now here’s a strange and interesting story. Imagine forming your band in 1973, naming yourself after a Pete Sinfield song from his Still album. Imagine working on your first album for forty-three years. Imagine playing and writing for nine years, then sleeping for two dozen. And imagine recording the songs you’ve been writing for all these years over a number of sessions scattered across eight years and five different locales. Clearly, time moves at a different speed for German progressive rockers Sea Goat. Can an album, the songs for which began to be conceived back in 1975, be in any way relevant in 2017? I don’t know, but when I get a promo for a band named after “The Song of the Sea Goat,” and half the band are wearing King Crimson t-shirts in the promo photos, and citing Gentle Giant amongst other bands as influences, I’m going to grab it and cross my fingers.

Tata is the name of this record, and is such because that is the name of the village in Hungary where the actual recording of this album first began in 2007 during a week-long retreat the band put together for guitarist Klaus Schultz’s 50th birthday. The band found the week so unifying and uplifting that they made it a semi-annual event, writing and recording in various towns for the next eight years. The album opens exactly as one might expect with the influences noted above: haunting acoustic guitar, subdued percussion, and breathy, wistful vocals, all performed with impeccable musicianship. “Book of Liberty” could have been written in 1973 or 2013, it’s hard to tell (the band says it was written during the Tata recording sessions in 2007). And hey, it even has a flute solo and Mellotron. Classic prog bonus points abound!

This is how much of the nine songs on Tata sound. They’re all short by prog standards, acoustic, expertly arranged, and very accessible. Perhaps the closest they come to King Crimson is on “Morning Glory,” which just happens to be one of their oldest songs here, and aside from the stellar production could have come straight off In the Court of the Crimson King: it sounds so much like “I Talk to the Wind” that it’s disarming. Album closer “Lachrimae” starts off quite bland, even with operatic female vocals, but turns into the best song here; dark waves of keyboards washing us with eerie menace. “Water Pictures” sounds like a cut from Storm Corrosion, but a good cut. And “Cloud” is a wonderful two-minute acoustic interlude. These cats are great musicians.

The rest of the songs are of the most mellow prog variety one can conceive of. Let’s put it this way: if Perry Como could have been in a prog band, Sea Goat would be that band. The music is so laid back it’s best listened to reclining on a floor strewn with pillows – just check out the embedded track, “Friends.” Which in some ways is kind of odd, considering that lead vocalist/guitarist Torsten Hartmann also happens to be the founder of German extreme metal label Massacre Records. This must be his alter-ego. Lucky for us, Sea Goat have spent as much time producing Tata as they did recording it. The record sounds great. Every instrument glistens with authenticity. The soundstage is immaculate. The vocals have wonderful clarity and are perfectly balanced in the mix. Generally speaking, progressive rock features some of the best production around, and Tata is at the head of the class.

Look, Tata isn’t going to appeal to everyone. But those of us with more than a passing interest in olde prog, and those of us who want to listen to one of the best-sounding recordings of the year, will dig what Sea Goat are cooking. It’s just too bad that by the time they release their next album, I’ll be ninety years old, and quite likely incapable of enjoying it.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Swan Lake
Websites: seagoat.de
Releases Worldwide: November 24th, 2017

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  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    MORE LIKE “OLD GOATS” AMIRITE

  • Ferrous Beuller

    “Sounds like a cut from Storm Corrosion, but a good cut”

    YES

  • sir_c

    Zee Goat, ain’t that how Germans pronounce The Goat?

  • Kronos

    You had me at Storm Corrosion

  • Septic
  • Matt slatz

    If I have to pick a goat metal album….sorry sea goat. But you lose to King goat.

    • defjam

      Goatwhore is nice

  • Nate Sweet

    Sounds good although in a sort of passive way. Thanks for giving this a review will definitely add it to the list!

    On an unrelated note is the new DSO album (finally) getting reviewed here at AMG? I have somewhat low expectations but still very interested to see if they can still put out a good record 5 years later.

    • Nukenado

      The Age of Vulture Culture sounds more DSO than Knucklehugs.
      I think their decision to tour for 5 years was a wise one; get the new vocalist familiar with the old tunes and having a grasp on how the band would work.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      I believe so. Not by me, but my opinion is that it’s a good but not great album. Guitars have disappeared, too much filler, but some truly awesome songs, six mega-enjoyable cuts.

      • Nukenado

        Huck, I know that you’re not a brvtal person, but please check out Astroschwein by Porky Vagina.
        It’ll make up for DSO disappointment. (At least for me, anyways.)

        (If my constant shilling of this album is getting annoying, just tell me.)

        • Huck N’ Roll

          I’m sensitively brvtal. I’ll make a note to check it out, thanks for the tip!

      • GrumpDumpus

        ALSO HAS THE DYNAMIC RANGE OF PAUL WALKER DRIVING A PORSCHE

  • Wow, fascinating story. I’m glad they put this together. It’s surprising that they were able to put together a good sounding album with all the different breaks in recording.

  • defjam

    This band is same age as me. If they keep working at this pace by the time their sophomore hits the stores I will probably be beyond metal.

    • Future poser!

    • JeremyZero

      There is no “beyond” metal, unless you were always false from the beginning.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      “Beyond metal” – who let this guy in?

      • defjam

        As in beyond life

    • Far beyond metal surely?

  • Nukenado

    The founder of Massacre records does not release his magum opus on his own label…

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Swanlake is a sub label of Massacre Records.

      • Huck N’ Roll

        Correct!

      • Nukenado

        Oops.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          I only found out because of your comment, I found it odd that the guy would not release the album from his own band on his own label.

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    MEH. NEEDS MORE SEA GOAT PENIS

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      SEA GOAT
      SEA GOAT RUN
      SEA GOAT PENIS

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      And more Goat Semen.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    That album cover does not mesh with the moniker Sea Goat.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Well, I “sea” no goat on that cover… being prog maybe that’s their cryptic/philosophical/lame bullshit way of making the cover relate to Sea Goat.

  • foreverAlfon

    The whole process of making the album sounds like something Richard Linklater would do, and then present it as some kind of reflection in aging or something vital like that.

  • Nahuel Benvenuto

    why is “bland” something that includes “operatic vocals”, huh… anyway, this sounds great

    • Huck N’ Roll

      Sorry: it starts bland, then there’s operatic vocals, then it becomes awesome. :)

  • Huck N’ Roll

    I suspect nobody will get my Perry Como reference, so just go to Youtube and search “SCTV Perry Como” and enjoy.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      I should have made that a footnote, if only I knew how to. :)

  • You wot m8?

    On a completely unrelated note, this is the first time I’ve viewed the website on a computer, rather than my phone, in quite some time. So I almost spit my drink all over the screen when I just saw for the first time that “Vardan free since 2015”. Carry on!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Hot damn Sex Goat is here for some tata tata!

  • Yolo Swaggins

    It might be worth the buy just for the production.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Year ends boys….pitter patter.

  • DeadHead

    Quite a handful of metal bands with “goat” in their names.

  • flipper2gv

    I don’t know who mixed that hi-hat but he’s deaf, jesus christ.