Night Goat, Totem (Black Donut 2023)

Buckeye gothic death rock band Night Goat stages a triumphant return on Totem.

I do like gothic rock, I must say, and I always have. I am finicky, though, and there only a couple bands that really appeal to me in this lane. Night Goat is one of them. Their first album came out in 2019, Milk, and it was noticed. I place the new one, Totem, on an even higher shelf. The recording lineup for the latest set was Julia Bentley (vocals), Chris Bentley (guitar), Dalin Jones (Bass), Mike Ramone (guitar), and Donnie Casey (drums).

“Sister Wolf” gets things rolling on a sweet rock and roll riff and enticing vocals. The singing turns sinister right away and starts to put you on edge. The rolling guitar and peppery percussion sets the singing off a bit and unbalances the listener. The final third of the song occurs in a jazz space lounge with a wiring problem. “Ghost Sickness” is spooky. Then the spooky turns harsh, wresting a semblance danger overtop the lighter opening. The vocals sound desperate, strained, pleading. Something bad is happening. I wish I could tell you that everything turned out all right, but I don’t know that for sure. A “Wendigo,” recall, is a flesh eating monster, usually described as a cannibal, so this song was predestined to be gruff. And it is, and tipsy, too. “Blood Circles” seals the deal for me as it holds the mirror up to yet another dark corner, conjuring disciples from a perilous realm.

I do like this gothic music. It reminds me a little of Bloody Hammers, but this work is darker and less guitar-oriented. Also, it is not particularly melodic, feasting instead on tougher meat. I like every song on the record, but make sure you listen closely to “Rattlesnake,” a little rager with a lot of impact. “Skin Walk with Me” is another highlight, with its extra heavy clunk. The final track is the longest, “Death Crow Dance,” and it has a twisting vibe all its own. This album is a land of wicked wonders. Recommended.

Totem is available on Friday, March 17th through Black Donut Records. Get your stuff at the links below.

Band photo by Molly Crowe.


Night Goat website,



Black Donut Records,

© Wayne Edwards

Night Goat, Totem (Black Donut 2023)