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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