Greg Anderson’s life in the year 2000: Recording and releasing “The Grimm Robe Demos” and “ØØ Void” with SunnO))) while “Watering the Flowers of Disease” and going through “Dog Days” with Goatsnake. They also released a split with Burning Witch in the same year. And that’s only Anderson, you could make a similar list for vocalist Pete Stahl (appearing on Earthlings? and Queens of the Stone Age releases that year), bassist Stuart Dahlquist (with Burning Witch) and drummer Greg Rogers (with The Obsessed).
Anderson’s case is the most instructive, though. Not only because, in 2000, he had also been running the Southern Lord label for about two years, but rather because listening to “The Grimm Robe Demos” and “Flower of Disease” back to back reveals how significant the gap between the two projects really was, how daring and extreme SunnO))) were from the outset. And, in turn, how formulaic Goatsnake were. In 2000, the past and the future of amplified guitar music clashed in Greg Anderson’s body.
It’s good to see “Flower of Disease” and the other crucial Goatsnake releases back in print after many years as nobody has worshipped Black Sabbath better. Tracks like “Prayer for the Dying” or “The Dealer” could be on any early Sabbath album, and the clichéd lyrics (full of “angel eyes”, pleas not to “forsake me”, claims that somebody will “die tomorrow”, you get the picture) only support the assumption that, while SunnO))) was openly conceived as an Earth tribute band, Goatsnake’s ambition was to be its Black Sabbath counterpart. Unlike SunnO))), however, Goatsnake didn’t develop much further. It’s rather logical, then, that “the Snake” disbanded after their 2000 release spree. The band name itself must be tongue in cheek.
You’ll like this, then, if you already know you’ll like it. Also, if you’re a “Wire” reader wondering how SunnO))) sounded with riffs, then this is for you. Because RIFFS abound and “Flower of Disease” is indeed a massive blast. To claim that this album hasn’t aged well would ignore the fact that all doom / stoner metal comes with patina, per definition. “Flower of Disease” sounded old and retro when it came out. It still does today. 7/10 -- Jan-Arne Sohns (28 July, 2010)