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"Whore of Bethlehem" is easily the best album to have come from the satanic metal scene for the past ten or so years. This record absolutely delivers on its promise, unlike the band rosters from either Moribund Cult or even Relapse. Where those bands fail to take off in the musical payoff department and mostly generate interest through hype or through the album cover or artwork (groups like Blood Ritual or Merrimack have great album artwork for example but it is in the music where they totally fuck up), Archgoat's album succeeds without press or internet releases or the token publicity and gimmickry courtesy of a major metal record label.
There is never a boring moment in Whore of Bethlehem, it is that good. It has tons of aggression, dark atmosphere as well as that evil vibe missing in a lot of metal bands today. The vocals are perfect for this type of blackened death metal and in contrast with other generic black metal bands who have annoying shrieking hag vocals, is refreshing for a change. The vocalist is obviously inspired by Gods of War era Blasphemy and is pretty effective in conveying an evil mood. The guitar has that black metal pitch but blends well with the bass so it doesn't come off as too thin sounding like a lot of bands from Norway. The drums provide that percussive element that seamlessly bond and weave the music together.
In some ways, Akercocke's Goat of Mendes could have had the same quality of this release if it didn't wallow in genre-bending excess (though I still love that album and consider it one of the best satanic metal out there, second only to this Archgoat album). Incantation's Onward to Golgotha could also have learned a thing or two from Whore of Bethlehem's musical balance since the former eventually becomes a snooze fest after a few listens. It is surprising to note that while Whore of Bethlehem employs the same repetition of riffs, it doesn't get boring in the long run. Also, Archgoat does a good job of just putting in the right amounts of violence and unlike bands like Skinless that degenerate into over-"brutality" (that it becomes boring and stupid sounding to say the least), Whore of Bethlehem spreads its magic with grace and a cold subtlety which other bands find hard and difficult to accomplish with this kind of music.
We should have more albums like this, to say the least. The market is saturated with depressive black metal, nationalist socialist black metal, Morbid Angel clone bands, melodic black and death metal that it's become a boring scene.
Comparisons with Darkthrone is not even applicable; I find a lot of the bands coming from Norway (Darkthrone included) tedious to listen to and do not even have the caliber of musicianship that Archgoat brings to the table. Lastly, I don't understand why some folks are thinking this is similar to Beherit's Drawing Down the Moon. Frankly, Drawing Down the Moon doesn't hold a candle to this. Beherit's overrated album feature spacey, abstract noise which most of the time is just boring and empty. I think some people should listen to both records first before drawing their conclusions and passing judgment since it makes them look lazy and ignorant.
This album then is not recommended for the weak but for those who want excellent quality metal. Go fucking buy this masterpiece of evil and anti-Christian blasphemy.