Goliathon

Goliathon

BandRockClassic Rock

The industry today is a mad dash for bands to get "that one song" to stick in the right heads and legitimize the rest of their music. Goliathon, though, has been described as a band that is "waiting for no one." The songwriting is daring and the listening is an experience unlike anything else.

Biography

Goliathon: Future Heroes of Indie-Prog
Posted by Gregg Lee on Sep 30, 2012

"I am sitting at a table in the storeroom of a machine shop that, for the lateness of the hour, is suspiciously and fully operational. Beyond the storeroom door, lathes are spinning, torches are welding, sparks are flying. If this weren’t Weeping Elvis, you’d be excused for assuming that I am about to be tortured by a drug cartel.

But this is a rehearsal space, carved out of a mountain of ancient desktop computers and electrical components, and I am here to meet Goliathon – an unsigned Indianapolis quintet that has just released one of the best albums of the year.

Goliathon exists in a very specific and difficult “now.” A now in which the conventional Sirius XMU wisdom dictates that all music is made on laptops and iPads in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. But this group of twenty-something life-long friends are challenging that wisdom with power, volume and a collective love for vintage gear and classic prog.

Pretend It’s Not Happening, the band’s second album, comes from a specific rock and roll moment: when guitars ruled the world (Goliathon has three); when drums and bass were physical instruments that people actually played; when vocals tore at the throat; when bands played together. “No one wanted to record the band live,” says manager Sherry Cole. Eventually, they found a sympathetic producer in Ryan Koch, who recorded Pretend… in his converted horse barn known as The Arkbarn.

And it doesn’t take much of a listen to opening track “Diogenes,” to decipher this band’s lineage. From the Buck Dharma-style opening figure that yields to some major Alex-and-Geddy-style riffage, you’re more than a minute into a mini-overture before vocalist Chris Probasco finally escorts you into Goliathon’s world:

“I’m eating my hair up here/It’s in my mouth and my throat
I might be looking you square in the eyes/But I think I might choke”

Yes, this is prog. A new type of accelerated, intense, emotional prog. For the next 36 minutes, Probasco and his bandmates, guitarists Christian Wren and Derek Kendall, bassist/keyboardist Colby Holmes and drummer Matthew Allan Fields, grab you by the collar and weave you at high speed through a frenzied and chaotic open air bazaar of progressive hard rock. There is a riotous element to much of their music. At specific moments in songs like “White Frozen Wasteland” or “Make Tracks” — when they are in full roar — it feels like they have turned on each other…like they are pummeling each other. Wren says that the chaos is an unexpected by-product of a compositional formula, one that marries well-rehearsed interplay to an improvisational spirit. Indeed, the three guitars are in a kind of independent lock-step at times, while the bass and drums – those wonderfully organic bass and drums – tether them, so even if they were to leave the atmosphere they would still be bound together.

Things are difficult for this band. They are a progressive-hard rock band in a city that barely recognizes either genre. What’s more, they have arrived at a time when the new creation and distribution models have reached a nadir, and the prospect of “making it” seems to be right back where it was 30 years ago. Which means that Goliathon — despite the accomplishment of this album that is wise beyond its years — is mostly on their own. And their struggle is indicative of how things haven’t changed much in this increasingly crowded market. As recently as a few years ago, the Internet was seen as the hammer that broke down the walls to previously unreachable fan bases. Now, the sad reality is as it’s always been – dynamic and exciting young bands like Goliathon are getting lost in the static created by “Gangnam Style.”

But, the group sticks to a loose plan for their immediate and long term future. Colby Holmes recalls seeing Baroness on three successive tours as they climbed up the bill each time. Probasco cites Porcupine Tree, a legendary band with a small but sustainable following as another business role model. It’s not about living in a mansion, says Probasco, it’s about achieving “recognition and acknowledgement.”

With that also comes the challenge of how they are perceived. Early on, “we were wrapped up with metal bands,” says Fields. Probasco then recalls their very first write-up in which the reviewer altogether dismissed the metal tag. So, there is a concern that the band could again get cloistered into a genre that doesn’t fit them. A mention of the “p” word gets immediate nods all around, albeit with a humble disclaimer. “Cinematic Rock” is the term they all agree on. But their overt influences – Rush, Opeth, King Crimson, to name a few – are openly revealed.

Goliathon knows they’re good, but they are cautiously realistic about it. Even when prodded about how Pretend It’s Not Happening betrays how confident they might be in secret, Christian Wren offers that “as soon as you think you’re good enough, yo

Lyrics

Diogenes

Written By: Chris Probasco

I’m eating my hair up here
it’s in my mouth and my throat.
I might be looking you square in the eyes
but I think I might choke.
No I ain’t too smooth, ain’t too suave, ain’t interested in it.
I will say my hellos, my goodbyes
but I might make a mess of it.

Is there a place where I
can melt into the walls.
It’s not that I’m misogynistic, just feeling unsociable.
Could be cranky, distracted, or tired of sculpting a smile.
Yes you mean well, I see that but really,
just leave me alone awhile.

A place to hide
is never hard to find.

There are some times I’ll seem shy
might seem coy
might seem cold.
And sometimes my head’s on my shoulders
and sometimes I’m brash and uncontrolled.
But I find when I’m brazen and say what I mean and don’t mind
That those who are hiding stay hidden
And those who break free don’t hide.

Jettison

Written By: Chris Probasco

Jettison
You had me feeling low
and down
so far down.
And you took me for the fool
but you don’t have a leg to stand on now.
I’m on the torn and ragged edge of some black and bitter feelings
but things are coming ‘round.

It won’t be long.
That knot of nerves in your stomach
gonna come undone.

They can cover their eyes and pretend it’s not happening.
The only one’s they’ll be blinding are themselves.
Wish it away, wish it away.

It won’t be long.
You and I…
a forget about it.

You had me feeling low
and down
so far down.

Make Tracks

Written By: Chris Probasco

Claw at the pipe
and claw at the gutter,
seeking a light that we swear
our own two eyes
spied in the tunnel.

So simmer down,
ease your soul.
Let’s take this time we’re given,
an asylum where we won’t have to
claw at the pipe
and claw at the gutter.

Eyes I need not strain.
Hands wrung raw
been worn in vain.
Just rake the leaves that fall.
We can’t make them change.

One Way In, One Way Out

Written By: Chris Probasco

I’ve left my days strung along behind
like clothes upon the bedroom floor
that lead to lovers, side by side,
who forget that they were ever worn

And when it’s time to collect my things
when that sharp alarm bell rings
I’ll claim as mine every stitch I’ve flung
and face the cold, the dark, the warm, the sun

Frozen White Wasteland

Written By: Chris Probasco

Life is a deadpan joke
that flies over our heads.
We stumble, some surer than others,
in the same aimless direction.

To speak the truth is a test of a
man’s ability to judge himself
and assess his humanity
in the same unseemly light
that he judges the others.

Left a broken record
to skip itself to death.
Let the needle grind me into long black shiny slivers.

Do you ever feel trapped inside your head?

Every so often we eye the train,
the one we should be on,
but we’re too busy fueling the boiler, to get off the one we ride.

Time is a pretty funny thing.
It heals and forgives us our sins.
But left to it’s own devices
serves desert on silver trays.
Anyway…

I left a broken record
to skip itself to death.
Let the needle grind me into long black shiny slivers.

Do you ever feel trapped inside your head?

There are some things we don’t understand.
Bees rip their guts from their flesh.
And leaving the poisonous stinger,
they go off on their own to die.

Tell me why

I’m just a broken record left to skip itself to death
put the needle down into my long, black, winding rivers
let the needle grin me into long, black, shiny slivers.

Do you ever feel trapped inside your head?

Do you ever feel?

Discography

2010- Without Further Ado
2012- Pretend It's Not Happening