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The album that killed Goatwhore - 39%

BastardHead, May 29th, 2013

I'm saying that from the perspective of somebody who feels that this is far and away their strongest album. And even then, that's slightly facetious because it's really only one song that killed this band, and that is "Apocalypic Havoc". That opening track is everything the band had been building towards with their previous efforts, it's the fastest, thrashiest, catchiest, and most energetic track they'd written up to this point, and has quickly become a fan favorite and live staple (as it rightfully should be). Goatwhore's riffing had always been razor sharp, but "Apocalyptic Havoc" just turns it up to an even higher level of intensity and precision. Every riff is hard hitting, and are among the purest thrash in their repertoire, with minimal dilutions of black or death metal (unlike the rest of their work, which balances the three pretty well), with a pummeling drum performance, and a frenzied vocal performance. It's impossible not to sing along, and it's far and away the band's best song.

WHO NEEDS A GOD WHEN YOU'VE GOT SATAN?!

But therein lies the precise problem with Carving Out the Eyes of God, "Apocalyptic Havoc" is such a stunningly good song, that it really hammers home how mediocre the rest of the record, and hell, even the band's career as a whole, really is. Seriously, one of Goatwhore's biggest strengths has always been how consistent their quality has remained across and within albums, I'd go as far as to say that's what their entire legacy is based off of (I'm gonna pretend that nobody noticed/cared that they featured members of Acid Bath, Soilent Green, and Crowbar). I could never find fault in the band's unwavering standard of quality, as each song on each album stood as a punishingly heavy, yet at the same time infectiously catchy monument to how to properly earn semi-mainstream recognition while keeping your integrity as an extreme metal band. Goatwhore seemingly had it figured out.

And then they wrote "Apocalyptic Havoc".

Kids, this is why you should never try your hardest, because when you get it right, jerks like me are going to expect you to get it right every time after that. The rest of this album just totally pales in comparison to the opening track, and it's not for any reason other than the songwriting is just not as stellar. The riffs are always sharp, the vocals are always harsh and the pace is always blistering. It's just... never as good as "Apocalyptic Havoc" again. It all sounds like the same song after that, it's like they put all of their effort into that one track and then just kind of coasted through the remaining nine. Honestly, they've kind of always been like this, but it was just never this blatant. I mean, go back to the previous album, A Haunting Curse. The best songs are also the two singles ("Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult" and "Forever Consumed Oblivion") and the rest are pretty consistently okay. They've always been pretty one dimensional about blasting a very straightforward black/death/thrash hybrid at the listener with the occasional punky/rock'n'roll element, and that's pretty much the whole of what Goatwhore has presented from day one. They're a balanced mixture of nearly every extreme metal genre and they've always been pretty good at it. It wasn't until "Apocalyptic Havoc" though, that I realized how stellar they actually weren't.

There are pretty much no standouts on Carving Out the Eyes of God past that opening scorcher. I guess "To Mourn and Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways" is memorable for being the first to really bring the tempo down at all, and I think "Razor Flesh Devoured" is the only other track really worth listening to thanks to it's heightened black metal influence helping it rise above the mediocrity otherwise, but apart from those last two tracks, it's just a mire of boredom and "been there, done that". Goatwhore hasn't had a new idea since they started, but they'd always made up for it with enthusiasm. That is quite unfortunate because there's only so far that can carry you, and the exact amount is "about fifteen seconds after writing 'Apocalyptic Havoc'". I'm sorry to keep harping on that, but it really is the main downfall of the album. We've seen how brilliant they can be, and they just never put the pieces together in the correct way again. Every other track blends all of the aforementioned elements together just the same way they always have, but they all come off as very tired and bland and effortless. There isn't one memorable moment past the first three and a half minutes of the album.

I'm just repeating myself over and over again, so I guess I'll have to keep this one short. The point is that I haven't namedropped the same song in every paragraph on accident, it really is far and away the best song the band ever did, and one of the most perfect modern metal songs you'll ever find. The problem is that they never again live up to the standards set by that one particular song despite everything else containing the same elements. The songwriting was never again that on-point, and the one-dimensional nature of the songs really bogs everything down after the first two or three. It's not bad I guess, but it's not really worth listening to over most other things you could probably be listening to.

NO GOD TO OFFER THIS FORGIVENESS


Originally written for Lair of the Bastard

Pure Apocalyptic Havoc - 80%

Slasher666, January 20th, 2012

Goatwhore's "Carving Out The Eyes of God" is definitely a different installment from any other band out there, not that the band is "super" unique, but they have a certain power that's a breath of fresh air. This death/black metal band really know how to bring havoc to your ears, in a good way. The album in its entirety has a sort of lopsided variety, meaning that they seem to play songs that fall into the death metal category rather than black metal. In terms of image and in some songs, the black metal is there, but it seems as though death metal really dominates the album most of the time.

When you listen to the first song, "Apocalyptic Havoc", you can tell that there's a mesh of metal sub genres all mixed into one big piece. You get these thrash riffs that are shredded to perfection, death metal vocals that play along well with the riffs, and then there's the black metal- influenced lyrics! That's not all, 'cause you may get that experience on "Havoc" and then get a total switch on another song where the guitar work is Dark Funeral-influenced and the vocals are solely death metal.

I must stress, however, that this album and its content tend to get a bit boring after a while. You're listening to "Apocalyptic Havoc" and then the next track just makes you lose interest a little because you're so used to the previous track. In other words, it's very easy to like just one or two songs off the album and then you'll just completely ignore the rest. Also, death metal dominates this album and there's definitely no issue with that, however, the black metal part of the whole thing is lacking by a long shot. Where's the black metal? Some may say that it's right in front of them and that it's present. Others would disagree and see the death metal aspect. I for one can hear the black metal, but not an awful lot of it.

This album is a blast, but it's meant to be an occasional listen. Some may disagree and like this album and listen to it over and over again. This album is debatable on whether or not it's a good album for many reasons, like the absence of black metal, repetitiveness, or even just the sound quality. No matter what, this album isn't for everybody.

Goatwhore's latest release is well-crafted indeed. - 85%

Pr0nogo, January 13th, 2012

The all-mighty Goatwhore, the four-piece from Satan's small intestine, have announced their latest record Blood For the Masters for a 2012 release. I figured it's a damn good time to brush up on one of my favourite black metal bands, and review their 2010 release Carving Out the Eyes of God.

Album opener "Apocalyptic Havoc" shreds your ears as soon as you toss the record on, and vocalists Sammy Duet and Louis Falgoust II begin their blasphemous screaming. The opening track does two important things: it establishes the overall sound of the album - which all opening tracks should do - and it brings us the earth-shattering guitar sound that you will come to cherish as one of the best guitar sounds Goatwhore has ever crafted. It succeeds in both shredding powerfully, soloing gracefully, and chanting slowly. This is but one of two hallmarks of Goatwhore's sound, and one of the most integral pieces to their blackened puzzle. The guitar is incredibly memorable, in short, and serves as a strong, solid framework and song structure for all of the tracks on the album. In particular, the second track "The All Destroying" and the title track that follows it stand out for containing enjoyable solos and powerful main riffs. These are just a few of the endless examples I could give to represent just how refined the lead and rhythm guitars are on Carving Out the Eyes of God.

I did mention a second hallmark for Goatwhore's sound, and that hallmark is the vocal relationship between Sammy and Falgoust. This defining characteristic is one of the most seamless trade-offs with regards to vocals because it's completely believable for the band to be able to play their songs live without sacrificing vocal power, but they don't have weak vocals on the album. Other bands with multiple vocalists have succeeded in similar ways -- Behemoth being a prime example, where the lead vocalist does most of the studio vocals and the supporting vocalists come in during live shows. This kind of relationship is integral for an enjoyable record, and Goatwhore has obviously worked hard to keep this vocal style at its peak. Another reason their dual-vocalist approach is so effective is that the two vocalists are able to sound similar, but different. You won't notice the major differences until you get used to the album, but it's quite impressive when you do. A great example of this characteristic coming into play is the sixth track, "In Legions, I am Wars of Wrath", where the vocalists occasionally scream out their blasphemies in unison, and other times perform a one-two punch with their vocals. This is also the only track with clean vocals, although they aren't actually singing. It's closer to chanting.

If there's one thing Goatwhore could improve upon, it's their drums. The drumming is proficient, sure, but it seems like it's almost apathetic. The drum tracks appear follow the lead of the guitar- and bass-lines, as opposed to forming the basis of the song structure. While this might be a stylistic choice for the band, it seems to weaken the strength of the drums overall. The seventh track, "Reckoning of the Soul Made Godless", has a nice drum track that seems to stray away from the beaten path made by the guitars. Even so, it's just not as strong as it could be. The drums need more of an oomph, and they need more variety to really capture my attention. It might seem like a trivial complaint when you consider the genre of black metal and look at the drum tracks of similar bands, but if Goatwhore wants to truly stand apart like I know they're able to, they should have a focus on drums just as much as they do vocals and guitars. Carving Out the Eyes of God is an amazing record, and the final track "To Mourn and Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways" wraps things up incredibly well with a very emotive and atmospheric touch. Falgoust's rasps are fantastic. Duet's bellows are invigorating. The instrumentation is nearly spot-on. Blood For the Masters had better make me love this band even more. Enjoy the album.

Recommended Tracks:
1. "Apocalyptic Havoc"
3. "Carving Out the Eyes of God"
6. "In Legions, I am Wars of Wrath"
7. "Reckoning of the Soul Made Godless"
10. "To Mourn and Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways"

They've done it yet again! - 93%

Noktorn, March 25th, 2010

By this point in the band's career, Goatwhore has firmly cemented themselves in the minds of the collective metal scene as unholy patron saints of NOLA's extreme metal scene, and for good reason: there's simply no other band from the city creating as consistent and breathtakingly savage music as this foursome, whose career up to and including this point has been one marked by massive critical and public acclaim. It's no wonder why Goatwhore has gone so much further than many of their contemporaries: the band's style is at once unique and traditional, a deft and subtle blend of oldschool and new that seems to ensnare any metalhead who gives their albums more than passing attention. "Carving Out the Eyes of God", the band's fourth full-length album, is yet another monolith in a discography defined by such stark, uncompromising figures as "A Haunting Curse" or "Funeral Dirges for the Rotting Sun," an album that equals or perhaps even exceeds the almost staggeringly high standards set on previous records. It goes nearly without saying that this, like any other given release in the band's career, is a mandatory purchase for the modern extreme metal fan; when it comes to major-label extreme metal, few do it better or even as good as Goatwhore, and "Carving Out the Eyes of God" is just further confirmation of the band's seemingly endless ability to blast, rock, and groove their way into the mind of every listener their music crosses the path of.

This may just be Goatwhore's most varied release yet; the tracks that make up "Carving Out the Eyes of God" are each a near-perfect synthesis of the band's idiosyncratic but undeniably solid sound. Opener "Apocalyptic Havoc" smashes the album's gates like a horde of skeletons erupting from the crypt, with the punk overtones which the band has always hinted at coming into full form with d-beats, crusty riffs, and the always ripping black/death vocals of Ben Falgoust declaring war on Christendom with the only sort of conviction which can make lines such as "who needs a god when you've got Satan" completely believable and not just an exercise in channeling the essence of Spinal Tap. The overtly rocking and thrashing nature of this release in no way makes it a one-trick pony, as other tracks emphasize some of the other faces of Goatwhore, such as the substantially melodic "Provoking the Ritual of Death" or the creeping, Dismember-inspired doom dirge "To Mourn and Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways." For those of a less heady musical disposition, though, there's plenty of moments on this release such as "Shadow of a Rising Knife" where the band is perfectly content to let the riffs do the talking and leave their more subtle touches behind.

Goatwhore's tri-vocal assault is as strong as ever, providing a dynamic and powerful voice to the equally strong music. String duo Sammy Duet and Nathan Bergeron's riffcraft is nearly unparalleled, with every note being an absolute killer, and the latter's contributions on bass rarely content to simply echo the guitars, giving what is typically rather straightforward music an extra flair of texture and nuance in even the simplest moments. While there's plenty of blasting and otherwise extreme moments on this disc, the band truly shines most when pushing the punk and rock influences to the forefront of the sound, letting a searing solo echo out like a cry from beyond on occasions that can't be described as anything less than intensely memorable. Of course, to ignore drummer Zack Simmons contributions to the band's overall sound would be doing the man a great disservice; technical but tasteful, his performance provides the right balance of flair and minimalism to push the music forward but never dominate the rest of the instruments entirely. In this regard, it's about as good as an extreme metal drum performance gets.

I can honestly think of nothing to complain about on this album, and I would dare to say that this might be the album that Goatwhore has hinted at releasing for many years now. Possibly the strongest release by the band yet, "Carving Out the Eyes of God" is an album which should be on the must-buy list of any fan of modern extreme metal.

Who needs a god when you've got Satan! - 79%

BudDa, November 15th, 2009

Yeah, that line pretty much stood out like a cockroach on a wedding cake. Four albums on the trot now (with Carving Out the Eyes of God being No. 4 and latest) and its nice to see that Goatwhore haven't lost the knack of delivering some of the most worthless, totally over the top blasphemy in the melodic black metal biz. No worries here. Goatwhore is back with a stronger, more vicious and more accessible record than their previous effort-Haunting Curse. They are out on a mission with Carving out the Eyes of God and its time the metal world stood up and fucking took notice.

The first two tracks are defined by galloping melodic riffs, overwhelming double bass and an overall convincing performance. The opening track-'Apocalyptic Havoc', for which a video is available on YouTube is one of the highlights of this album. Mainly cause it’s the opening track on the album which makes quite an impression on the listener and also, most importantly, it’s catchy. Sammy's throat snarly vocals are quite comprehensible making you want to sing along to the wonderfully crafted hateful lyrics. My pick though has to be the album titled track. That fabulous riff played at about 0:48-1:15 is a common black metal riff but for some reason, I just can't place it. Plus, its the first time on this record that Ghoatwhore decides to play at mid-tempo-ish pace with mostly pounding drums, flashes of blast beats and burps of double bass...but God, that fucking riff!! Oh, and the solo? Awesome.

The album is also well varied. Tracks like 'Provoking the Ritual of Death' and 'In Legions, I am Wars of Wrath' are much slower and more 'meandering'. We are also introduced to some guttural vocals in the verses. Though in my opinion, they didn't work! Both these tracks start off well but somewhere in between, they become inconsistent, tiring and mundane; Either that or I just can't get the fucking opening 20secs of Apocalyptic Havoc out of my bloody head(ARIIIISSSSEEEE!!!!). Focus on the two aforementioned tracks is slightly shifted from the 'all out-in your face' attack that we had kind of gotten used to in the first few tracks to a more 'in case u didn't notice we can also write some intelligent lyrics'. I say fuck that...”stick to the 'in your face' attack". Goatwhore is quick to reply with 'Razor Flesh Devoured'.

All in all this is a good album. I bet most of you will enjoy Carving out the Eyes of God. I, however, don't see myself spinning this twice in succession.

Welcome this dread of unknowing - 65%

autothrall, November 13th, 2009

Goatwhore has always been a unique entity, a Louisiana band that forsakes the excessive doom and sludge of its peers (Eyehategod, Soilent Green, Acid Bath, etc) even with some of their members in the very ranks. What comes out of the speakers is a blend of thrash, death, and black metal with an old school hardcore energy (and I mean that in a positive way). Previous albums Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun and A Haunting Curse were very impressive offerings that earned the band some just notoriety. While fourth effort Carving Out the Eyes of God hasn't impressed me nearly so much as their prior efforts, it's a solid album with no lack for trying.

"Apocalyptic Havoc" breaks out into a pure speed/thrash metal chop, almost like older Cowboys from Hell Pantera meets thrashier Motorhead. Although the energy and lyrics might get the infernal blood pumping, only one or two of the riffs stand out, the rest is forgettable. "The All Destroying" is a little blacker, with Zack Simmons' punishing, unending kit destruction and some melodic, charging riffs, but it still has a few of the simpler hardcore meets speed black riffs like the first track. The title track follows, with a slightly more death metal structure, start/stop brutality. It's actually the strongest track up to this point in the record. "Shadow of a Rising Knife" is very hardcore, with an anger not uncommon in the old NYHC scene, but still some thrashier metal riffs to break it down. "Provoking the Ritual of Death" is boring and chuggy, the slowest track on the first half of the record, though it does feature some melodic black breaks. A few later tracks on the album stand out. "Reckoning of the Soul Made Godless" has a hyper-Obituary feel to it incorporating some hardcore-meets-death metal groove, and "This Passing Into the Power of Demons" is frenetic roadkill aggression.

The production of Carving Out the Eyes of God is a well-balanced attack, all the instruments and vocals sound great in the mix. The guitars roil in a fuzz reminiscent of Hellhammer, though this band is obviously far faster and more technical. Ben Falgoust II's vocals are harsh barks that sound simultaneously 'tough' and blackish without ever sinking to the level of metalcore garbage. Lyrically the band delves into the occult, which often feels unusual since the style of the band is largely associated with more social themes. This is nothing new for Goatwhore, and it's a praiseworthy distinction rather than a negative. The lyrics are actually decent. Sadly I didn't enjoy Carving Out the Eyes of God all that much. Stylistically it's not a huge departure from the previous efforts, but there were fewer memorable riffs here than I could count on one hand. The album is truly pit ready, and fans of their ability to mesh multiple styles into one cohesive package may find more here than I could. I will stick to their earlier releases.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Solid from beginning to end - 85%

gk, September 20th, 2009

Carving out the Eyes of God is Goatwhore’s fourth and latest album. After A Haunting Curse released in 2006 my own expectations for this new Goatwhore album were quite high and I’m very happy to say that the band deliver the goods on this album.

The music is still mostly the same. Sammy Duet is still peddling these huge riffs that sound like a cross between Hellhammer and his own NOLA roots with the majority being in the realm of dirty, vicious death thrash. The rest of the band is spot on with Ben Falgoust turning in an inspired vocal performance that’s filled with bile and invective and Zack Simmons pretty much continues from where he left off on The Haunting Curse with another pummeling performance behind the drum kit.

The album opens in fantastic style with Apocalyptic Havoc and that opening riff is pretty much the most kickass metal riff I’ve heard so far this year and the momentum doesn’t really let up through the course of the album’s ten songs. If the first four songs on the album focus mostly on beating the listener over the head with a bat then by the time In Legions, I am Wars of Wrath shows of the band’s love for mixing death and black metal to great effect. Reckoning of the Soul made Godless is pure 80s thrash worship and sounds like Dark Angel did back in the day and album closer To Mourn and Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways is reminiscent of the band from the Funeral Dirge for a Rotting Sun days.

The band doesn’t put a foot wrong through the course of these ten songs. The tempos vary and the style goes from thrash to death to black but the songwriting never falters. This is an album that is just solid from beginning to end and with ten songs clocking in at a shade over 40 minutes there is absolutely no fat on this record.

While this album may not be the in your face constant barrage that was A Haunting Curse I think in the long run, Carving Out the Eyes of God might just be an even more enjoyable album.

Originally written for http://www.kvltsite.com

Goatwhore - Carving Out the Eyes of God - 85%

ThrashManiacAYD, September 3rd, 2009

If, after thousands of other bands have attempted with varying levels of success, you still want a band to make merry with the radiation guitar sound of primeval "Morbid Tales"-era Celtic Frost, Goatwhore are here to make your day. Usually the preserve of Scandinavian and German bands, the Frost legacy has already been well plundered, from the very earliest days of the Norwegian BM scene to today, but boy do these Americans add an extra stick of dynamite to the mix, with the following devastating blast sounding as indefinable as Celtic Frost did back in the mid-80s.

In an age where everyone it seems loves arguing over which exact pigeonhole must reside in, "Carving Out The Eyes Of God" will cause a few people some major headaches with it's toxic mix of thrash, death, black and even the odd moment of grind. More than just that, its the ease with which Goatwhore vary their speeds, sounds and tones to create an album of the melee, as we all know how badly many others can get that part wrong. Starting with "Apocalyptic Havoc", subtlety is not required as Goatwhore show, without even being a thrash band per se, just how thrashing can be done in the 21st century without sounding entirely derivative of the 80's masters. Where the title track begins and continues through its four-and-a-bit minutes, one realises as a listener that you are now being subjected to slower grind riffs neatly separated by scintillating black metal savagery, having been listening to some thrash not 10 minutes ago. And you wonder how this has been without it being screamed in your face in the manner iwrestledabearonce seem to think a song is put together. Well boys and girls, it is honesty and passion in what is being written that allow this bunch of Southern dirtbags to pen such heavy and infectious metal tomes.

The "Pleasure To Kill"-like "This Passing Into The Power Of Demons" only then leads into the even more savage thrash attack of "Razor Flesh Devoured", a title that somehow just suits what one is subjected to in it's 258 seconds, before closer "To Mourn And Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways" lets some in air proving that Goatwhore don't have to be in top gear to be heavy. As I was always advised when doing a presentation at school, finishing on a high note is key. "To Mourn..." is by far the slowest track on display, and while far from a bad song, does do a slight disservice to the juggernaut speed of the rest of the album by concluding more sedately than I might have otherwise liked. There’s just no pleasing some people is there…

Describing everything that is excellent about "Carving Out The Eyes Of God" is difficult, but some aspects are clear. At brief moments Goatwhore bear a passing resemblance to the current crop of deathcore bands clogging the airwaves but show in just 40 minutes of music how to be downright heavier, more honest and writers of a greater variation of riffs than that entire scene has proven to me it is capable of doing. For once this is an album that might actually have the potential of entertaining more than just the extreme metalheads and could become a starting point for those interested in the scary worlds of black, death and thrash metal. And for that, Goatwhore should be ritually commended.

Originally written for Rockfreaks.net

Persistence Finally Pays Off - 90%

Khull, July 13th, 2009

Perhaps not the best example of quality USBM, Goatwhore nevertheless has yet to release a truly bad album. All three of their previous releases have more-or-less the same feel to them; traditional black metal structure and style, but with death metal tuned guitars and vocals hovering somewhere in between the two genres. Consistency is a something of a trademark of theirs, and their 2009 offering of Carving Out the Eyes of God, aside from being a title that screams badass, is a testament to the idea that one can make even the most boring of ideas work out really well.

The problem with Goatwhore's backlog is that it suffered from severe onsets of boredom. It isn't that these folks aren't competent musicians – far from it – it's that they were unable to compose their way out of a paper bag. Too many of their songs clung to a monotonous style of their respected album, and the result was 11 – 15 songs that sounded the same strung together into an album that ultimately went nowhere, making for a very tedious 45 minutes.

Carving Out the Eyes of God sees those issues remedied almost entirely. Indeed, this is the first Goatwhore album I can listen to cover to cover and not sense boredom creep up my spine halfway through. That alone makes it worthwhile, for now the adept playing I always knew these guys had can really show. Quite simply, all but the tracks mentioned below have the killer riffs, dynamic structure, and engaging drumming you'd expect from quality death/thrash hybrid bands. No one song illustrates this better than This Passing Into The Power Of Demons. Clearly ringing over the now-good music are Ben's vocals; the one aspect of Goatwhore that escaped the past drudgery. His style of harsh, menacing shouting has steadily improved over the years, and this album isn't an exception, as best seen on the closing track To Mourn And Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways.

This album isn't devoid of low points; however, tracks such as The All Destroying and Shadow Of A Rising Knife retain the feeling of dullness that plagued the earlier albums, and the fact that they arrive early and so close together doesn't help matters either. Still, when imbued with the improvements found on the rest of the album, they pull out better than the worsts of others. Another point of contest is the guitar tone. When playing a style of metal that hovers between black and death, there are some aspect of each chosen, but for the life of me I don't see why the band settles on a tone that has me expecting chug-style riffs to break out at any second. A petty gripe perhaps, but it shows on the aforementioned two tracks, and it's annoying.

While I'm happy Goatwhore finally nailed an album, it still took them almost 10 years to finally do it. The recommendation goes to a broad spectrum of people, but most notably those who've failed to get into Goatwhore's music for whatever reason. If you're in the market for a good slab of black / death metal, well you can't really go wrong with Carving Out the Eyes of God. For the couple inevitable faults it has, I believe it's time Goatwhore receives an exceptional score. I just hope they don't fuck it up when / if they release a new album. Good as this may be, it would be a rather poor high point.