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Goatwhore are probably the first blackened death metal band I heard of and just put to the side for a long time. Just recently when I was drooling over Belphegor these guys popped in my head so I gave "The Eclipse of Ages into Black" a try and holy fuck am I ever impressed. This is one of the few blackened death metal albums that I have listened to on repeat, Goatwhore make sure you don't get bored through this chaotic blackened death roller coaster.
I'm going to touch on the whole blackened death metal thing, truthfully it's hard to say there's any death metal in here except for the crushing guitar tone. The vocals are black metal shrieks and the riffs are very thrashy with lots of tremolo riffs you find often in black metal, so blackened death/ thrash fits Goatwhore much more but throughout this review I will say blackened death metal, it just sounds better. Speaking of riffs, the guitar work here is ace, it ranges from your usual tremolo riffs, to thick thrashy riffs and then catches you off guard with slow, dark doom metal riffs with really odd "clean" vocals on top. The slow doomy riffs are the best here, check "As the Reflection Slowly Fades" at 1: 40 to nearly the end, it just sounds evil. There isn't any solos that I can remember but there is constant riff changes so they aren't really necessary.
The biggest highlight here aside from the guitar is the drums that I promise will kick you in the ass. Each song contains intense blast beats and some of the best drum work you will ever hear in the extreme side of metal. Zak can play so fast it's hard to believe, he'll play these wicked blast beats and go into an insane drum fill in the matter of 6 seconds. The only time the drums slow down is in the "doom" part. A very skilled and talented drummer indeed.
Aside from these two stand outs, the vocals are something you except from a black metal vocalist. Shrieks resembling Mayhem's earlier works. But there is one thing that will catch you by surprise, as I spoke of before in the doomy parts there's some odd "clean" vocals. By odd I don't mean a bad thing but I have never heard vocals like this, they add to the dark, evil sound going on in the parts. It almost sounds like an insane man reading from the satanic bible, that's the only way I can really describe and that doesn't even explain how dark it sounds. I believe the production is what makes this album so dark, it has a raw black metal atmosphere that really makes this album what it is. It's raw but not under produced like you find in a lot of black metal bands, it's just in the middle and it sounds perfect. The last part of the music to speak of is the bass. The bass does not shine here at all, the only way you can hear it is if you put headphones on and try to listen very closely, not really a bad thing I guess, there's so many bands that have the bass inaudible, I've gotten use to it.
Overall, "The Eclipse of Ages Into Black" is pure blackened death chaos from start to finish with a lot of parts that will catch you off guard. I recommend this to fans of blackened death in genre if you don't mind it slightly thrashy.
"Hail... to the ancient goat"