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From time to time a release comes out that reaches into some bowels of hell and unearths a great creature of darkness and puts it into music format. Archgoat's The Light-Devouring Darkness does just this, creating a release at once bestial and cunningly morbid that seeks to drain all warmth from human life and fall into a stupor of blood soaked passion.
The release itself is made up of simplistic elements that when combined create the atmosphere of morbid darkness that is an evolution from earlier more bestial releases by this band. While they have always focused on crafting the darkest of musical forms, and enveloping the listener in the realms of satanic evil, this release just goes above and beyond in the saturation of Qlipphotic forces.
How they do this is by not remaining in one dimension, they move from the fast blasting of songs like "Apotheosis of Lucifer" into the mid tempo and downright doom filled sounds of "Goat and the Moon" utilizing variation as the key to success. Add in a more then liberal dosing of dark keyboards and even some chanting and you have a key to what they create.
The production on here is cleaner by far then the much more evil possessed Whore of Bethlehem. Instead we find a clean yet fuzzy sound (though not quite as clean as their newest release Heavenly Vulva, which has much of the sound of the early 90's on it), this sound is very organic and rich in depth, which gives much more to the sound then a digitized production could ever have. The drums pound rather up front in the mix, almost equal with the guitars and bass, both of which are quite audible, and both of which are detuned quite extensively to add to the swampy bestial atmosphere.
Vocals are disgust filled grunts that move above and below the other instruments, they have a reverb and delay on then that adds to their proclamations of hatred and occultism. Unlike other bands in the "bestial" field of black metal like Proclamation, neither the vocals nor the music is designed to simply blast all life from you. Instead they operate as a hypnotizing factor to slowly envenom you with their message. Songs and vocalizations are kept short and to the point and never outstay their malignant welcome.
This is an album I have listened to countless times, each time getting a new thrill and finding myself enraptured by the atmosphere presented. Utilizing simple elements Archgoat have crafted a modern masterpiece of black metal. From the foggy, light drained production to the bestial moments of pure chaos that brings up ghosts of Beherit's best work, Archgoat are set to enshroud you in their world. Listen and be enveloped in darkness that devours all light.
Despite twenty-one years of existence, the Finnish Archgoat have only managed a slim output. To be fair to them, they were split up for eleven of those years, but still. Theirs is a very raw sound, binding old school black metal and death metal into a grim rictus of raw guitars and clattering drums.
For their second album, Archgoat have got not one bit classier. The band who had a song called 'Penis Perversor' still favour depraved song titles ('Sodomator of the Doomed Venus', 'Fornicated Messiah') and a suitably evil production. You would probably get an idea from the cover art - it's a large, carnivorous goat-thing eating Jesus' head from behind the cross. I find that quite concerning, and I don't even believe in Jebus!
The vocals of Lord Angelslayer are more like the grim burps of Demilich than regular black metal vocals, one of the things that appealed to me initially. The raw black metal riffs in the class of Blasphemy or Marduk with the crushing drums of old Finnish death metal bands, with these guttural moans incanting above, is a pretty good combo. Essentially, it's much the same as Beherit, with even gassier vocals and slightly more second-wave influenced riffs.
The songs are short and rarely elaborate past one or two riffs, with most of the change-ups coming from the absurdly-named drummer Sinisterror. Mostly they're fast numbers, carving a grotesque path of gore and anachronism right back to before black metal and song structures had been introduced to one another. 'Goat and the Moon' is an interesting one, taking more of a rhythmic, slowed-down approach with a menacing attitude. The title track might be the best fast crusher on here, relentless thumping riffs and awesome, bassy blasts punctuated by dissonant hisses of the snare drum, and also 'Blessed in Beast's Blood' and 'Worms Born of Martyrdom' which feature some very doomy riffs. 'The Dawn of the Antichrist' is another to do so, classic death/ doom pounding erupting into the somehow loose, pummeling double bass drumming - a strong closer.
Although this is a wholly refreshing tipple for lovers of the old school Finnish scene, Archgoat can never quite achieve the same primordial grossness as Beherit did with guttural horrors like 'Werewolf, Semen and Blood' and 'Salamon's Gate', or the whirring chainsaw of 'Nocturnal Evil.' This is always the case with bands so heavily referenced by an old favourite however. They make for great entertainment and, at least for me, are worth the price of admission, but generally their longevity suffers from not adding their own personal touch. If you like some gritty black/ death metal and you own most of the oldies you can think of, this might be worth a toke.