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In 1998, one of the coolest metal demos came out. I have a soft side for 90's demos, due to my love for that particular sound quality.
Goatwhore - Serenades To The Tides Of Blood
This demo has atmosphere.
This is my favorite material they've done, their first demo. The music goes into many different extreme musical styles, especially 90's style black/death metal. The vocals are done by the SOILENT GREEN singer and former ACID BATH guitarist, not familiar with the bassist or the drummer on this recording but the drumming shreds. Lots of lightning fast blast beats that kind of remind me of ANGELCORPSE.
Anyone who listens to blackened death metal knows what they're going to get with song titles like PERVERSIONS OF THE ANCIENT GOAT, and GRAVEYARDS AND DEAD ANGELS. But unlike some bands of that genre GOATWHORE go through many different speeds in their songs. The slower songs create great melody, mood and atmosphere, while other songs are full of speed and guitar crunch that sound like you're head is up to the amp.
Sometimes the vocals kind of remind me of Abbath from Immortal, and the guitar playing sounds similar to Acid Bath demo era songs. There is some good epic melody going on in some of the songs, one of my favorite songs on here is a song called LYCANTHROPIC MOON, it is very cool sounding and is pretty much a black metal song, kind of sounds like old ULVER to me.
In some songs the singer has a Tom G. Warrior, Into The Pandemonium, sort of clean vocal that has that melancholy chill to it.
I could go on and on describing each song, but what you're going to hear is some excellent black/death metal with lightning fast blast beats, ghoulish vocals, the great guitar tone of Sammy Duet from ACID BATH, including some of the crunchiest riffs I've ever heard.
I'm sure there are many metal fans aware of GOATWHORE, but how many of them are aware of this demo?
Serenades To The Tides Of Blood was the very first piece of material Goatwhore ever released. While it's very primitive and has a mildly poor production, it's still actually quite good. Goatwhore are simply a no nonsense death metal band who're out to prove their worth. Serenades To The Tides Of Blood is a good introduction to the band, so it's probably wise to start here instead of heading straight to the full-lengths, which is something I do tend to do. But in order to see this bands progression, it's imperative to begin here as it is where they began all those years ago.
There might be certain positives to this demo, but there are also some negatives. As aforementioned, it's primitive stuff. Heavily induced death metal with powerful aggressive riffs is what Goatwhore are aiming to create. They do this sufficiently well, but do tend to falter on occasions. There are points on Serenades To The Tides Of Blood where my opinion drops due to sloppy musicianship. The black/death crossover has rarely ever been pulled off well. Goatwhore do a moderately good job at doing it, but the vocals are lacklustre and the production is too hazy for the death metal element of the music to really prevail. Behind this wall of noise, the bass struggles to compete with the poor production, this is a huge negative and because of this, the guitars are left with a massive job to do. Not only do they have their own department to contend with, they have to fill in for the bass, which when heard, is distinctly average.
The vocals are confusing. Rasping growls which add nothing to the melodies this demo is determined to make and the clean vocals serve only to confuse even greater. They have no purpose on this demo, so Goatwhore should seek to cut them out immediately. The fast and furious pace of Goatwhore's music is suited to the rasping effect anyway, although the vocals need to be improved upon greatly. The percussion aspect is, again, largely primitive. Harsh and raw in sound, this may suit some people who like their death metal edgy and with a grind element to it. I fail to see the black metal influences, unless of course these are shown in the constant use of blast beats. It would be nice to see a greater variation used when it comes to the band instrumentally. They focus much of the variation on the switch between clean and unclean vocals. The clean vocals are generally overshadowed by the rasping growls, which is unfortunate.
Having said all this, Goatwhore possess talent. They have shown potential, but need to improve in several areas if they are to succeed.