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Five years back, the Finnish underground black metal scene greeted the arrival of Whore of Bethlehem with bold, superlative words, and not without a reason. One of the country's oldest black metal groups were back and the album crushed the hell out of everything. It was nothing new but still utterly dark and ass-kicking fusion of murky death and black metal, similar to e.g. Beherit. A few years later, The Light-Devouring Darkness saw its release and it was about as hellish as its predecessor. Keeping this in mind, it was no surprise that I've waited for Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites), their new EP, with great anticipation. Now that I've finally confronted this beast, I can't say I'm disappointed at all.
The paradigm in which Archgoat still plays its bestial filth, and has done so for the past twenty years or so, hasn't disappeared anywhere on Heavenly Vulva. A familiar introduction opens up the EP, and then ”Blessed Vulva” gets into the real meat: a lot of blast beat variations pummel amidst low-tuned guitar riffs and the vocalist grunts indecipherable blasphemy, and soon after the tempo drops into slow, atmospheric menace that is crowned with eerie, epic keyboard mats. Similar patterns are explored in the follow-ups ”Goddess of the Abyss of Graves” and ”Penetrator of the Second Temple” of which the latter incorporates some sweet, higher-pitched guitar violence. ”Day of Clouds” belong my favourities of the EP – you just can't go wrong with those judgement bell accents that have appeared on earlier recordings already. ”Passage to Millenial Darkness” is probably the harshest and swiftest piece of the bunch, a fine ending for the record.
In case you're thinking that you've had your share of Archgoatian style already and there's no need for any more of the same, Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites) might be an unnecessary purchase. But for a fanboy like me, and for those that in general have an interest in uncompromising bestial black / death metal, this EP is golden. It doesn't reach the level of the full-lengths, but is a well done snack of 16 minutes from one of the country's elite groups. Here's to hoping that another full album will soon surface as well.
4 / 5
[ http://www.vehementconjuration.com/ ]
Here we have the newest release from Finnish fiends Archgoat, presenting an excellent ep that I only wish was a full length.
Essentially this release is presented in the same style as on The Light Devouring Darkness, being a mixture of bestial black metal with slower more morbid sections. While that release had an almost folkish sound to many of the slower sections, this release focuses on creating an atmosphere not too far away from something like old Beherit or even early Graveland.
The slower sections when used are given hints of dark ambient keyboards that drone under the guitars, all this is similar to the last release, but is done in a way that is feels different and more old school in ways.
The production as well is cleaner and more defined (though similar to The Light Devouring Darkness), with a tone reminding me of a lot of older 90's classics as opposed to the raw character of much of Archgoat's recordings. I like this production as it leaves space for the atmosphere to develop, particularly in the slower sections, while in the fast bestial parts there is a great deal of clarity showing the riffing and playing of the musicians.
I would say this release reminds me much more of Beherit's Drawing Down the Moon then the older Archgoat releases did. Maybe this is due to the keyboard layers, which use a sound similar to that release.
There are also some ambient touches like the intro to Goddess of the Abyss of Graves which opens with a women moaning and then a beast voice before the song blasts into focus. These little touches add to the feeling of this 17 minutes of music, and I must say that this aspect of Archgoat which I've always felt was important has only become more so on this release.
Archgoat summon up some real old school tones and atmospheres on here that add to their career totality, if this is a taste of what will come with their next full length I can only say that I am very excited. This release has impressed me a great deal and I feel I got my money's worth despite the short length. Add to that the excellent artwork on the cover and the occultic feeling of the small booklet and you got yourself a winner.
This is essential for all Archgoat fans to own, and has gone into my lists of great black metal eps.
Pleasantries be damned, vulgarity is the name of the game for Finnish filth-mongers Archgoat on their EP "Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites). In truth knowing how underground black metallers are so touchy on their kvlt bands like Archgoat and impervious to critical judgments it's hardly worth me taking my time on this release; of course it is primitive, noxious and heinous but in it's short 16 minutes there something to behold in the 80's guitar tone and heavy bass sound that is strangely appealing. At moments such as the Beherit-esque openings to "Penetrator of the Second Temple" and the whole "Day of Clouds" the pace is medium and refined but for the remainder it is fast and brutal all the way, the heavy menace of death metal mixed with the darkness and nihilism of black metal to make such an unholy mix.
For the most part it is simple chords, blasting and barked growls all over as the primary ingredients although the odd moment of simple backing synth in "Blessed Vulva" (nice romantic ballad that one) is used to spice things up in what is a pretty bleak affair. At such short running time the immediacy of the songs and static feel can be forgiven (to an extent) to give "Heavenly Vulva" a decent perspective from the vision of the very underground warrior, the only market that Archgoat clearly maintain any interest in.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
Ever since I was introduced to Archgoat, they have quickly become one of my favourite bands of all time, with their 2009 album The Light-Devouring Darkness easily being one of the most listened to album personally. The raw production quality, the dark atmosphere of the music and the ritualistic music of the band manages to capture my attention like no other band. The minute Heavenly Vulva was announced, I could barely contain my excitement as I eagerly await a fresh round of ear-raping black/death metal.
Unlike previous releases, Archgoat has decided to use a different introductory track this time and it was certainly weird, not hearing the usual Invocation track that puts the first sense of unease in the listener. Intro though, still has that haunting atmosphere that longtime fans of Archgoat would expect out of the band, so there is no harm done. As the EP begins proper with Blessed Vulva, the listener is instantly taken back to the early days of the band, with the production quality sounding as if it were recorded in 1993 and with the biting guitar tone, when the band released their first EP Angelcunt.
Blessed Vulva presents to listener a style that is slightly different from what one is already familiar with from the band, as the song progresses at a slow, trance-inducing pace, with a ritualistic atmosphere, complete with the tolling of the bells at the background. Lord Angelslayer's low, burp-like growls are brutal as ever, though on Blessed Vulva it sounds slightly messy, causing the listener to get slightly disoriented. The other thing that one notices is also the increased presence of the bass guitars, compared to previous releases of the band.
Penetrator of the Second Temple brings listeners back to familiar ground. The song structure sounds like it could come off the band's debut Angelcunt EP, with moments reminding listeners of songs such as Rise of the Black Moon, especially as the band slows down towards the middle of the track and the atmosphere gets increasingly heavy, with synths at the background. Day of Clouds even sounds like Penis Perversor, only without the tortured screams of a woman being whipped in the background, and closing track Passage to Millennial Darkness have moments that remind listeners of Soulflay. The usual chaotic guitar solos are also present on tracks such as Goddess of the Abyss of Graves, and this helps in ensuring that no one sane is left after the 16 minutes of madness contained on this EP.
Heavenly Vulva sees Archgoat taking a step back in their songwriting to their early days, and is an album sure to please older fans of the band. Dissidents may very well complain about how all songs sound similar to each other and about the lack of technicality, but Archgoat has never been about technical wankery, and Heavenly Vulva could very well be one of the strongest efforts of Archgoat so far.
To describe my excitement for Archgoat's new EP Heavenly Vulva(Christ's Last Rites) as unbearable might be an understatement: I will openly admit to being a huge fan of these Finnish blasphemers. They were, like many, my first bestial black metal band, and along with Blasphemy and Beherit, helped breed my demonic fascination with bands who play this style of crusty, inhuman and death metal-influenced black metal. So I will admit right now, that being objective about Heavenly Vulva was not easy for me. But after spending plenty of time with this EP, I can safely say that not only have Archgoat settled on a sound that allows them to stand out amongst the crowded scene of bestial black metal(or War Metal as some of you might refer to it),they have mastered it with satanic purpose.
Archgoat, unlike many of their peers, were never one to mindlessly ape Blasphemy(who we can credit for creating this fusion of death metal, black metal and grindcore that is bestial black metal) at every turn to fill a CD: this band had a unique purpose and have always delivered, and whether it was their brilliant Angelcunt(Tales of Desecration) EP or their first full length Whore of Bethlehem, Archgoat sought to separate themselves from the legendary Canadians. But starting with the unbelievable Light Devouring Darkness(their first full length after a long split), Archgoat set out to create a sound that was uniquely theirs, to decidedly mixed reviews. The addition of unique, Demilich-style vocals and a heavy emphasis on mid-paced, groove-laden songs turned the historically fast bestial black metal genre on it's head. Heavenly Vulva is a continuation of this sound, and a further refining of its madness.
Heavenly Vulva is loaded with plenty of fast, Blasphemy-esque sections of insanity, but continues to showcase the bands ultimate strength: mid-paced, head banging riffs that create a dense and demonic atmosphere. These mid-paced sections are the highlights of the album, and on songs like "Goddess of the Abyss of Graves" they are short, sudden shifts in between the blistering speed riffs that adds a level of depth to the music. This is helped greatly by the production: this is the most balanced and heavy sounding production Archgoat have ever received. Heavenly Vulva is thickly produced, with rumbling bass and a nasty kick drum keeping things low and dark. The vocals are also more powerful and inhuman than on Light Devouring Darkness, which will please many. Heavenly Vulva is by far the bands most full sounding, powerful and brutal release so far, a big compliment considering the bands formidable back catalog of some seriously vile material.
About the only problem with this EP is the length: including a frankly worthless intro, Heavenly Vulva last only 16 minutes, and considering it has been a while since the bands last release, there was hope for more content to this long awaited new EP. The whole thing is over so quickly, it leaves you wanting more, something no album should do. I know that EP's are rarely as long as LP's, but 16 minutes of Archgoat is frankly not enough, and left me disappointed.
Despite its short running time, Heavenly Vulva is still one of the finest black metal releases of this year, and certainly my favorite EP released in 2011. Archgoat have never sounded so evil, so vile, so disgusting as they do on this short, not-so-sweet EP. The future is pitch fucking black for Archgoat, and hopefully we won't have to wait long for more.
Originally posted at http://curseofthegreatwhiteelephant.blogspot.com/
Archgoat is the most pleasant band on Earth. They are warm, comforting, and lyrically appropriate for your kids. Nah, I'm just kidding. Archgoat is a vile, maggot-infested masochist that has ruled Finland’s death/black metal niche since their inception in 1989. The creators of many gruesome albums including "Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration)" and "Whore of Bethlehem" return with another grim slab of sexually depraved death/black metal that leeches off the light until it drowns in total oblivion. The EP is "Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites)," and once again Archgoat dives into the rancid depths of slimy death/black metal that sounds like a Beherit gone to Hell, a Blasphemy asphyxiating on soil, or an Autopsy crawling through a crypt. I mean, how can you deny the awesomeness of a band that has a song called "Blessed Vulva?"
Well, you really can't, and there's actually a lot positives coming from the hammering penetration that Archgoat has mastered over the years. The overall mix is a toxic mixture of banging percussion (usually a mid-paced blast beat) drooling over super-basic black/death metal riffs reeking of Beherit-ish touches and sickening chimes of extreme metal in its embryonic stage. Variation appears minimal– the only true rebel is "Day of Clouds," which slowly smokes out unhurried notes in a punching rhythmic crunch that bites again and again. The vocals, too, are guttural and indecipherable chomps which stay unchanged; Archgoat is seldom praised for their extensive changes on the musical end in case you were wondering. It's overall a very simple and transparent effort mirroring the instrumentality of other primitive acts, but Archgoat remains charming for some reason that I really can't identify. Again and again I transpire from "Blessed Vulva" to "Passage to Millennial Darkness" with few complaints or criticisms.
Then again, the EP only runs for sixteen minutes, but it all works quite smoothly overall. Despite it being a short, ghastly and punishing listen, "Heavenly Vulva" is promising enough to lead a once-neutral individual into the herd of Archgoat. You either love or really, really hate stuff like this, so proceed lest you despise raw, archaic metal that only wants your blood and bones. Just don’t be surprised if you sideline your Black Dahlia Murder records and find Archgoat to be sadistic, elementary, and utterly repulsive. Their malevolent assault is indeed intentional, and it’s a captivating feat in more ways than one. Insignificant, but captivating.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com