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Once in a great while an album crosses my desk which I just can’t fully classify. To preface: I love organizing stuff. My music library is categorized hierarchically by genre, subgenre, band, decade, year, and then album. The genre field in my media player is endless (529 genres, actually). I obsess, to say the least, and every band has its place.

Then I heard Russian/Ukrainian band Goatpsalm.

Though Goatpsalm describes themselves as "dark ambient metal," which I suppose makes sense as a blanket genre, they are so much more. On their upcoming album, the lengthy, expansive Downstream, this trio melds funeral doom, dark ambient, darkwave, post-industrial, and Northeastern Asian folk music with an effortless fluidity. Everything happens all at once, but tastefully, and it’s almost overwhelming just how creatively pieced together Downstream really is. There is an ancient sort of quality to Goatpsalm’s ethereal, gothic-tinged doom, echoing through the Taiga. To say the album is otherworldly just wouldn’t be right, as there is definitely a human element to Downstream. No, the feeling surrounding this album feels like it dates back to mankind’s impetus, freed from its fossilized prison of sediment and age. Goatpsalm is ancestral.

Downstream will see the light of day on February 29th, 2016, on the legendary Aesthetic Death Records. Listen to an exclusive stream of this Leap Day release below, and as far as genre goes, I think Goatpsalm had it right with "dark ambient metal." No need to lose my mind over genre this time.

—Jon Rosenthal

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Follow Goatpsalm on Facebook and Bandcamp.

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