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Okay, so I’m late to the game on this one. Call it laziness, call it not paying attention, call it what you will, but I've never paid attention to Goatwhore until just recently. I had heard some tracks here and there and they didn't do much for me, probably because their previous offerings were more in the realm of black metal.
A night of late YouTube browsing led me to “Baring Teeth for Revolt” and my anus just wasn't ready. I can’t quite describe the feeling I had when hearing this, but it was like savage bliss. The guitars, drums, riffs, it sounded so violent I couldn't believe just how awesome this was. Roughly five minutes later I had the album ordered. I had to have this.
Sammy Duet is well known for his work in Acid Bath, and for good reason. Acid Bath were an amazing band that pushed the boundaries of what we call rock and metal. Thing is, I had no idea he was in Goatwhore. If I did, I would have paid more attention a long time ago, as I love the fuck out of Acid Bath.
Here we kick things off with “Poisonous Existence in Reawakening” and boy, these guys don’t fuck around at all. Straight for the throat, chocking the life out of you, riff after riff. This still has the black metal vibe, which is also very apparent on “Unraveling Paradise”, but it’s done extremely well. The songwriting is top notch, the arrangements are very carefully thought out, and everything just makes sense musically. The production and mix on the album is what I would call perfect for this type of album. Punchy, clear, but not too clear, if you know what I mean. This is still definitely rough around the edges and has a lot of bite to it. It’s not overly polished at all.
“Baring Teeth for Revolt” just may be one of the best metal songs ever written. Yeah, I went there. But everything about this song just screams METAL. From the riffs, to the outstanding vocals and perfect drum work, this is just a slice of fucking metal heaven. A big slice at that. Also, that has got to be one of the most brutal, most aggressive guitar tones I've ever heard. Shit is just violent. Sounds like Sammy’s ESP wants to fucking rip your spleen out.
The album features some more dynamic work rather than severely punishing death/black metal. The dynamics are laid out nicely and it appears that there’s something here for everyone, though I’m sure Goatwhore couldn't give a fuck about anything or anyone. These guys just play the music they want to hear. I mean you’re not exactly setting yourself up for success with a name like Goatwhore to begin with. This is top notch stuff, definitely check it out if you like your metal fast, aggressive, and no nonsense whatsoever. You will not be disappointed.
Highlights : Baring Teeth for Revolt, Fucked By Satan, Poisonous Existence in Reawakening, Unraveling Paradise, Reanimated Sacrifice.
Ah, Goatwhore, the band whose claim to fame skyrocketed with the release of their 2009 LP, Carving Out the Eyes of God; although they had amassed a cult following before that point. The Louisiana based group have been proclaiming their love of Satan since 1997, and are one of the few bands of the newer era who rarely disappoint audiences with each release... at least, so far. It feels like an eternity has passed since they released their extremely successful 2012 effort, Blood for the Master. What does Constricting Rage of the Merciless have in store?
Goatwhore are a band that can best be compared to fine wine; the more that they are allowed to age and ferment, the more flavorful the output becomes. When following the timeline of their career, Goatwhore's first two albums were bleak, crusty black metal excursions. Each album thereafter became progressively harder and faster, while A Haunting Curse not only marked their first Metal Blade Records release but also where the band gradually began implementing more skillful efforts into their drum and guitar work; although Carving out the Eyes of God still seems to be a fan favorite. Constricting Rage of the Merciless is a conglomeration of bountiful sapidity that has carefully been selected by the group and, when mixed together, create a powerfully diverse experience that even the most unholy of listeners can appreciate.
The heaviest portion of the album is made up of multivarious black metal; ranging from blackened death in "Poisonous Existence in Reawakening" to groovy black n' roll in "Schadenfreude" and even melodic black metal within "Heaven's Crumbling Walls of Pity". Lurking between the shadows of these songs are thrash laden adventures that are reminiscent of early Venom and mid-era Sodom work, such as "FBS" and "Baring Teeth for Revolt". Both thrashing anthems are embellished with outstanding galloping guitar/drum duo segments, while "FBS" incorporates string bends that accentuate the track with a twangy quality.
To further cement the divergence that the material offers is "Cold Earth Consumed in Dying Flesh"; a bleak, doom ridden hellscape of a track that sends chills down the spine. This is also where the triumphant progress that vocalist Ben Falgoust II has made stands out astronomically. Where his vocals were gritty and overly harsh in the past, it is evident that his growls have both deepened and smoothed out in this latest release. The aforementioned track in particular highlights the earth-quaking gutturals and soul shredding growls that he emits. In the same regard, Goatwhore have stuck with their niche of lyrical mayhem that includes satanic worship, war and dark rituals; in fact, these profoundly malevolent themes may be more horrifying than before.
With that being said, their musicianship has taken a more simplified turn; in the case of Constricting Rage of the Merciless, this works in the favor of the band and is not received as a regression of skill. Many tracks feature the guitar sharpening an array of power chords, occasionally with solos littering the back or foreground, while the drums display gallops, blast beats and double bass patterns. "Schadenfreude" is an example of this simplification, but also the positive effects this attribute has given the material; although the track sounds a lot like a creation from Skeletonwitch. This is the only track that is exceedingly 'witchy', and the others carry unique creativity that is distinctly Goatwhore. The catchy guitar riffs, grooving bass lines, memorable choruses and palpitating drum beats fuse together to create one great track after another.
While the older and more elitist fans are going to argue that The Eclipse of Ages into Black is the best, newer fans will be arguing that either A Haunting Curse or Carving Out the Eyes of God reign supreme. One thing is certain though, that both old and new fans alike will simply dig Constricting Rage of the Merciless. Some may even argue that this release is at the top of the Goatwhore discography, even though the display of instrumental skill has taken a backseat to the prowess of their songwriting; which definitely isn't a bad thing.
Digital Download Provided by: Metal Blade Records
- Villi Thorne
With a name like Goatwhore, you might be expecting some “trve kvlt” bedroom black metal with terrible production and playing to boot. However, they’re anything but. Taking a melting point of all things extreme metal, sludge, thrash, black and death combine into a ripping, vicious sound with fantastic songs on their sixth album Constricting Rage of the Merciless – The NOLA band are simply hear to fuck your ears up with great extreme music.
Kicking things off with the thrash tinged black metal opener Poisonous Existence in Reawakening, we’re greeted with a mix of fantastic incisive riffs with a thick meaty guitar tone in lots of different tempos, and a variation of harsh throaty growls and screams. Add a heavy mid paced drum barrage and you have a powerful song serving as a great opener to the album. Unraveling Paradise has an incredibly dark atmosphere with black metal melodies and a drum assault reminiscent of 1349′s I am Abomination, matching Frost’s violent intensity, with that thick dark guitar tone really pounding along with all manner of black metal riffcraft.
Baring Teeth for Revolt is a more simple thrashy affair with a slight sludge influence on the guitars,and thick choppy melodic riffs abounding throughout in a great piece of catchy thrashy brilliance, a song with a shredding solo that will definitely feature on their future setlists. Reanimated Sacrifice is another solid thrasher in the same vein, while Heaven’s Crumbling Walls of Pity is another piece of atmospheric, melodic yet simply crushing black metal. A soft atmospheric intro kicks off Cold Earth Consumed in Dying Flesh serenely before slow, heavy sludgy riffs crush the serenity alongside a mighty bellow. A slower atmospheric one gives the album a change of pace, the heaviness dragging you down into an abyss. FBS (Fucked By Satan) is definitely the pick of the bunch though, with fast groovy catchy riffs and a vicious fast paced vocal delivery, ripping melodic solos showing a great deal of trad metal influence but beefed up, thrashy and intense.
Overall it’s another great effort from Goatwhore, and with it’s variation, solid song writing and infectious catchy songs, Constricting Rage of the Merciless is the most flat out fun extreme metal album of the year so far with it’s thick chunky riffs and vicious vocal delivery throughout. Anyone who likes any brand of extreme metal will definitely get a kick out of this. Screw subgenres, it’s just a flat out fantastic metal album!
Originally written for swirlsofnoise.com