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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.