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A delicious feast of raw blackness - 100%

LordBelketraya, June 22nd, 2011

I will say that I never really were into Archgoat from the get go. I only knew of them through the split with Beherit. I heard the Archgoat half and was impressed with the rawness and mostly the guttural vocals. I haven't really heard a deep voice like that before. Sure, I've heard brutal death metal voices, but this was different. It literally sounded like a horned beast from hell grunting to primitive music around him. I still haven't heard anyone quite like Lord Angelslayer. Even vocalists in similar bands like Blasphemy, Black Witchery, old Beherit, Sarcofago and Proclamation don't sound like him. He's as demonic sounding as it gets within the black metal genre. I know that terms "most or best" get thrown around loosely, but You Tube any Archgoat song and you'll get the gist of what I'm saying. Lord Angelslayer sounds like demon who's puking up bile from a bad meal. Truly the most demonic sounding black metal vocalist that I am aware of. It doesn't get much blacker. Try to imagine Barry White if he were to be a bm vocalist. Yes, it's that deep.

I heard back in 2006 that Archgoat got back together and they were releasing a new album. I didn't care, so much that I never even knew they split up back in 1993. I just looked at them as a Blasphemy ripoff, and like most ripoff bands they never even come close to the band they copied in terms of quality. Especially the good portion of current Norwegian black metal bands as opposed to the early 90's batch. I saw Archgoat in the same way. But in the past 2 years or so I've been playing a lot of Blasphemy and old Beherit, and I've had to urge to look into similar sounding bands because A.) Blasphemy aren't releasing any new stuff anytime soon, if ever. and B.) Beherit are back but we're not going to hear 'The Oath Of Black Blood' again either.

So I decided to go into Archgoat's 'Whore Of Bethlehem' after seeing it in a concert where those distributors bring boxes of cd's to shows. I recognized the Chris Moyen cover art, as he's done practically anything related to Blasphemy and well respected underground bands. While the production is not on the raw level of their early demos, the sound is not polished or very clean either. It's just right. I must say, these guys impressed me immediately. They don't really sound all that much like Blasphemy, they're slower, not as thrashy or even as sloppy, they don't even do those terrible solos that Blasphemy did on their releases. The one thing that if you asked me that I loved most was the primitiveness, rawness of the vocals. The instrumentation is good, nothing extraordinary. They are not virtuosos, but the rhythm and timing of the main riff are very catchy and well done. They clearly came in with a plan and a sound to project. This wasn't some weak "cash-in" as so many reunited bands have done before and since.

The run of pure win that are tracks 2 through 4 are just mind blowing. The great slow down on 'Lord Of The Void' is just classic, perhaps their finest song. But 'Dawn Of The Black Light' comes an awfully close second in terms of their overall work. 'Angel Of Sodomy' is also up there as well. They are ridiculously catchy and raw at the same time, the riffs are there and the vocals keep it underground and hateful. Surely after those tracks there must be a letdown in quality. Surprisingly the quality kept up from beginning to end. 'Desecration' takes the speed up a peg and the slow down a minute into the song is excellent. Very similar to 'Lord Of The Void'. A true headbanging / mosh moment there. It speeds up and stays in your face. Really well constructed. The timing on the songs show that they had a game plan, a structure to follow. I understand many bands follow that too, but on these 10 tracks it sounds perfectly timed, as if they were reading your mind. The added bonus is that the songs are awesome.

The second half holds up remarkably well. 'Black Crusade', 'Whore Of Bethlehem', 'Grand Marshall Of The Black Tower' are viciously brutal and irresistibly catchy at the same time. The last track 'Hammer Of Satan' is a nice track to finish off this excellent release. The time off didn't soften up the band at all. I found out they were inactive from 1993 to 2004 and when you hear this compared to the earlier material you barely notice any difference except for production. I commend them for not trying to become a nicer, melodic, mainstream friendly band like so many have done in the past. Granted with a name like Archgoat you kind of are pigeonholed into sounding pretty brutal and primitive anyway. Lol! These copies are getting pretty hard to find since they're on a very obscure label. So grab on if you see it. This will go down as this generation's 'Fallen Angel Of Doom'.

A Classic in the Evil Metal Genre - 100%

HandyManny, June 27th, 2010

"Whore of Bethlehem" is easily the best album to have come from the satanic metal scene for the past ten or so years. This record absolutely delivers on its promise, unlike the band rosters from either Moribund Cult or even Relapse. Where those bands fail to take off in the musical payoff department and mostly generate interest through hype or through the album cover or artwork (groups like Blood Ritual or Merrimack have great album artwork for example but it is in the music where they totally fuck up), Archgoat's album succeeds without press or internet releases or the token publicity and gimmickry courtesy of a major metal record label.

There is never a boring moment in Whore of Bethlehem, it is that good. It has tons of aggression, dark atmosphere as well as that evil vibe missing in a lot of metal bands today. The vocals are perfect for this type of blackened death metal and in contrast with other generic black metal bands who have annoying shrieking hag vocals, is refreshing for a change. The vocalist is obviously inspired by Gods of War era Blasphemy and is pretty effective in conveying an evil mood. The guitar has that black metal pitch but blends well with the bass so it doesn't come off as too thin sounding like a lot of bands from Norway. The drums provide that percussive element that seamlessly bond and weave the music together.

In some ways, Akercocke's Goat of Mendes could have had the same quality of this release if it didn't wallow in genre-bending excess (though I still love that album and consider it one of the best satanic metal out there, second only to this Archgoat album). Incantation's Onward to Golgotha could also have learned a thing or two from Whore of Bethlehem's musical balance since the former eventually becomes a snooze fest after a few listens. It is surprising to note that while Whore of Bethlehem employs the same repetition of riffs, it doesn't get boring in the long run. Also, Archgoat does a good job of just putting in the right amounts of violence and unlike bands like Skinless that degenerate into over-"brutality" (that it becomes boring and stupid sounding to say the least), Whore of Bethlehem spreads its magic with grace and a cold subtlety which other bands find hard and difficult to accomplish with this kind of music.

We should have more albums like this, to say the least. The market is saturated with depressive black metal, nationalist socialist black metal, Morbid Angel clone bands, melodic black and death metal that it's become a boring scene.

Comparisons with Darkthrone is not even applicable; I find a lot of the bands coming from Norway (Darkthrone included) tedious to listen to and do not even have the caliber of musicianship that Archgoat brings to the table. Lastly, I don't understand why some folks are thinking this is similar to Beherit's Drawing Down the Moon. Frankly, Drawing Down the Moon doesn't hold a candle to this. Beherit's overrated album feature spacey, abstract noise which most of the time is just boring and empty. I think some people should listen to both records first before drawing their conclusions and passing judgment since it makes them look lazy and ignorant.

This album then is not recommended for the weak but for those who want excellent quality metal. Go fucking buy this masterpiece of evil and anti-Christian blasphemy.

1000 % Perfect - 100%

hellhippie, July 23rd, 2008

When a band that i love gets back together my first instinct is usually "crap this is going to suck" ! No different here , I put off getting this for along time so i could still in my mind say Archgoat ruled , they should have put out more albums than that amazing split with Beherit . Then i thought heres comes the usual sellout album for the masses ; they need money . Once again on my endless search for new brutal albums with nothing coming my way fast , in my mind I "broke down and purchased this" . For two weeks this sat with my record collection as i waited for the right time to be disappointed by a band that back in the day i loved so so much . I have never been so wrong in my life .

This my friends is what any fan of total evil blackened death metal has been looking for . This is a complete masterpiece for worshipers of all that is heavy ! Archgoat forces every demonic note down your fucking throat with nothing but absolute hatred that this old school black and death metal fan hasn't heard in what seems like forever . Perfection is an understatement seriously . I cannot stop listening to this with good reason ; and this is why .

Let's start with the drums on here as they need to be mentioned . Your normal grinding beats on most albums usually go straight through with the occasional accents done with a quick little fill here and there to keep things interesting which is fine in most cases . Here the drummer uses the ride symbol constantly keeping time with an off beat as you would with a snare . It has to be heard to be believed , this guy is a machine never ever letting up for one second . Truly unique drumming in a genre that has had every little thing possible done to it from bands trying to separate themselves from the pack .

The guitar and bass sound is so god damn heavy its almost fake sounding . Every riff , every note , every solo is so meticulously played that you'd think the devil himself gave these guys the sheet music and lessons . Unbelievably structured riffs that this band knows exactly how to execute in a most primative demonic fashion . Never ones to be technical Archgoat knows exactly how to mix their crushing speed with the most bouncy yet totally simple and effective "pits" that you will just have to show some sort of emotion to when listening . Its almost insane how much purity for the genre these guys have . Totally evil and i love it so so much . The songs never get boring or redundant and with each this gets better and better as you say to yourself that was so sick that had to be the best song on the album . Every one is perfectly delivered ; it's sickening (in a good way) how perfect they all are . There is a stand out song here . My favorite being "Dawn of the Black Light" but that doesn't mean anything really because they all are truly amazing .

Then the vocals come into play as Lord Angelslayer vomits forth as only he can do . Completely guttural , disgusted in his deliverance this is a perfection of evil incarnate graciously given to you and me by what can be described as non other than what satan himself would sound like if he recorded an album . Hands down what a no bullshit black metal band with severe death metal influences would kill for . No other singing style would fit here and this band knows it . Deep deep deeper is a severe understatement , in a great way unreal .

If you are a fan of absolute unrelenting , satanic , grinding in your face sick death as i am then this should be your next purchase . This is the soundtrack to the underground and all that most bands would hope to be . When these guys finished recording this an angel wept a little and i'm sure that is exactly what they were going for here and i love it . All i can say is thank you Archgoat for the perfection that is "Whore of bethlehem" thank you !!!!

Bestial & Unholy Black Fucking Metal - 87%

orphy, February 10th, 2008

Archgoat was a band from the early 90s that had a lot of potential. They, along with bands like Beherit, carved out something unique for Finish black metal, and put Finland on the map. However, Archgoat disintegrated over the years. Finally, the band has re-assembled and given us this unholy slab of black fucking metal known as "The Whore of Bethlehem".

With that being said, a lot of fans would immediately question the quality of the new material. Generally, when a band reforms, it sucks. Not the case with Archgoat. They certainly picked up right where they left off so many years ago, and the band works this style to their advantage. Primitive riffs fly along with blast beats, at break neck speeds. Archgoat varies their quick riffs often enough to keep them interesting, and by not always blasting them. They'll use quick beats on them, but not always blasts.

What makes Archgoat really distinctive is not these primitive riffs and fast sections. It's how they counterpoint them. They do this with slower and mid-paced riffs which have an internal groove. The drums follow along in a similar fashion, creating an unholy atmosphere. The song that does this best is "Desecration", the slower riff is just so evil sounding that it'll be sure to incite rituals.

The album has a lot of stand out riffs throughout, which proves that being primitive is still effective. There's some other distinct features on this release that make Archgoat really addicting. First, the vocals on this are absolutely demonic. Archgoat utilizes lower vocals... think Blasphemy-esque kind of stuff, but lower. Also, they use some sound effects like bells throughout the songs on the slower sections, which give them a feeling of impending and absolute doom.

Honestly, people that hate this album are probably either a) pussies or b) tech heads. Archgoat is NOT a band for the weak, nor is it a band for people who expect technical wankery. That being said, Archgoat is a band for old goats who like blasphemous, dark, and relentless black metal that's blunt and to the point. It's great to see a band like this come back and stick so close to their roots, desecrating all trends that exist today.

Archgoat's comeback. Promising! - 79%

Anaktas, February 10th, 2008

Archgoat re-united, and released "Whore of Bethelehem", which in fact is a very promising album, despite some black metal cliches that sometimes pop up during some tracks.

A notable fact regarding Archgoat, is that their old-school black metal sound is combined with growling death metal vocals, instead of the usual shrieks. The production is bad (the way it should be!), the guitar sound is over-distorted, that is (the way it should be!) and the drums sound as if Sinister Karppinen has put pillows over the drumkit's skins (the way it should be!). There are some mid-tempo breaks, but blastbeats and fast drumming prevail.

The lyrics are childish, the music is very raw, but what else can you expect? Archgoat play old-school black metal, they do not dream of being accepted in the Berkeley University or in the Philosophy Department. And the thing they do, you bet that they are doing it well. None can expect innovations or something groundbreaking. If you enjoy the aforementioned sound of playing, go ahead and buy "Whore of Bethelehem". Otherwise, stay away.

Fuck OFF!! We are ARCHGOAT!! - 90%

Diarrhea_Face, August 28th, 2007

I have been familiar with this band for around eight years now and never thought they would have reformed. I do not read any "underground" zines so I had no clue this had been released until a friend mentioned it to me. Well I listened to the album a few times now and have become really impressed by what they have done. It may not have the extreme chaos of their earlier material, but it definitely is by no means a bad album. They incorporate some of the heaviest riffing I've heard in years and they execute everything with extreme conviction. There are many of these "war" metal bands who have ripped off Archgoat and Beherit since thier arrival in the early 90's and to me none of them have captured what this primitive and Satanic style is all about. These people aren't part of the black metal scene in the first place, most of the bands filter in from grind projects and other similarly punk based garbage. Archgoat are from the original scene. If you read any reviews on here bashing them just take a quick look, these are children, not long ago listening to (and likely still) all the commercial shit being forcefed by the surrounding media whores. They have no understanding of what black metal is.

This band plays an abbrasive, down tuned form of black metal. The vocalist sounding like his insides are being torn out with each breath. It reminds me of a beast defending it's kill against a pack of rabid parasites. As I alluded to earlier, this is primitive, so the song structures are rather basic, most containing only around 4-5 power chord riffs that alternate and focus on different elements. Some songs focus on climax, while other will simply feed you into some abusive chainsaw combat. In general the music focuses on song writing and not being flashy. The drummer is actually very good for this style. He uses a wide variety of beats and fills, but he doesn't overdo anything which would detract from the music. He keeps things heavy and let's the guitars and vocals do their job. The mix is also a big improvement from the older work especially concerning the drums. On the older albums the drums were buried in the mix and much less prevalent than what has been done here. I like that they chose to go with a clearer sound as it shows that the music doesn't rely on shitty production to obtain it's atmosphere.

Archgoat's Whore of Bethlehem, released in 2006 has the raw hate and aggression that most bands have completely forgotten. They are proficient musicians who paint this bestial vision with unwavering clarity. It's a very dark world, one of torture, genocide, rape, of the primal essence and animalistic desires that are still contained within our genetic framework. In modern day one can still see this, just take a stroll to your local prison or walk down the streets at night in a run down city. Those who are falling into the trap of becoming dehumanized and anesthetized to the crumbling civilization around them will laugh at this because they have absolutely no comprehension of what this music represents. They see this as purely entertainment, the "internet" generation. Nearly gone are the days of real artists dedicating themselves to conveying this filth. Archgoat stand with a shotgun pointed towards the globalized consumerist blood letting of this music and they do it with pride!

An excellent piece of strong Finnish black metal - 95%

tzaeru, June 28th, 2007

Apparently, from reading other reviews, opinions on Archgoat tend to come in rather largish scale. For me this came as a small surprise, so well had the album worked for me as a whole.

To the music. If each instrument is separated from the context, the outcome is very generic and primitive black metal with low tempo from the earlier ages. But combined, the music evolves into something much more effective, creating a working atmosphere of primitive, crushing black metal. Drums do excellent work leading the tracks onwards with the guitar, while vocals announce the current point with unbelievable force! Somehow, at least for me, bass tends to be left to the background, sort of pulling the combination together to the socket that it creates. "The whole equals much more than the sum of its parts", is what probably best describes Archgoat. Also, while maintaining same style, tracks do come in diversity. Opening track 'Angel of Sodomy' is strong guitar-weighted sawing, where 'Black Crusade' is low tempo march, both highlights of the album!

Archgoat also did mixing fully by themselves, to create the rather unique atmosphere and working album. And most surely this was the only right choice - no other way could the album be such a strong sum of each contributing factor. To put short of it: Primitive black metal done to be listened as a whole, in which every instrument contributes to create the unholy march that is Whore of Bethlehem!


WilliamAcerfeltd, June 9th, 2007

Look at the title, that's basically what I thought was the mentality of these guys when they wrote this album. This doesn't sound like straight black metal to me, rather it sounds like black metal meets death metal. I always wonder why some black metal bands have death metal vocals and other some death metal bands have black metal vocals. While this is not as bad as some say it is, it definitely isn't as good as some say it is.

The music is distorted guitars, which are repetitive to say the least. It will be keep you interested for a while, but it really doesn't take you all that long to get bored with it. The reason you'll probably get bored with it is because all of the songs sound pretty similar. The speed in most songs varies, from being mid-paced to slow. Get what I mean when I say it sounds a bit like death metal? While there certainly are black metal elements here, such as the distorted guitar, you cannot ignore the death metal influences.

The drumming again, is more in the vein of death metal. Forget blastbeats, it's more of the drumming you'll hear in such bands such as Blood Red Throne, the drumming however isn't technical and there isn't really much variety in it.

The vocals are death metal vocals. You'd have to know nothing about the black metal scene to think he's doing black metal vocals here. I'm not really sure why he is doing death metal vocals on this album because from my experience, anyone who can do death metal vocals can let some pretty high pitched shrieks out. Anyway, his death grunt is pretty deep, so deep in fact he rivals that of Markus, from Dark Deception. However, unlike Markus, it seems he has used some sort of sound effect to make his vocals even deeper. Also Markus has a better death grunt than this guy. The guy handling vocals on here sees more generic.

I could easily see why people could like this, and why people can hate this. Some people compare this band to Beherit, in which case Archgoat rips the shit out of anything Beherit ever did. After all, if your best is Drawing down the Moon, then you know you career represents a failure in the black metal scene. However, I certainly wouldn't pay money for this seeing as how it isn't mind blowing or anything. The fact that this album is 35 minutes is both a good thing and a bad thing. You think you're being ripped off forking out cash for 35 minutes of pretty average death/black metal, but by the same token, had it gone on for 70 minutes, it would certainly be one boring listen. If you get this for free give it a listen, otherwise I wouldn't really bother with it.

Conclusion: The above is recommended for download only.

Enough from the beginning. - 9%

cinedracusio, March 20th, 2007

So the legend of black metal goes forth, where the mindless Christians may never reach, where their prayers are useless, they are surrounded by the imperial fiends and drawn closer and closer to the blackness while watching Oprah Winfrey shows...

But now, let us return to our heroes from Finland and their fiddly-diddly goat douche, which resulted into a blast of old/new black metal destined to fill the brains of suckaz, along with the pockets and positive underground reviews box of the champions. The main thing that anybody should keep in mind is that Archgoat is mostly about blasting and second about growling. The guitars are nothing to be hailed, except the subtle fuzz given probably by the bass. The rest of it is Beherit. Beherit would have made something like this if they had reformed, and they did in the past.
The drums have a hammering sound, they "benefit" from a good presentation, consequently the listener like me gets tired from three minutes of these drums. It's not Transylvanian Hunger (the simplest and most effective comparison regarding bash-bash thump-thump albums). Regarding the variety of blasts, hope ya folks heard of Havohej or Lugubrum. I recommend that instead, more varied. And by the way, do not use a death metal sound for something not intended to be death metal, especially drumming or genre (Archgoat's case). Archgoat did nothing but highlight the general boredom floating all over this album.
The riffs are pure Beherit stuff. End of chapter. And I'm not a huge Beherit fan. The tone is thin and inoffensive (like, the opposite of the great Al Ghemist from Lugubrum).
The vocals: LAAAME, RROOOAAARRR !!! The vocalist makes use of a more death metallish growl and knows no change. Beherit surpassed these assholes in the vocal domain, so better grab Drawing Down The Moon unless you're so clever to praise this shit when actually having heard Beherit first.
As a whole, this album consists of a single track repeated in eight variants. The introduction is null to me, just a silly method to hook the asses of those not fed up with devilish intros.

Well done, champions. You're dusting the shit. Better break up again and start sweeping or passing dope.

Another overrated "kvlt" band - 5%

Algiz88, March 20th, 2007

Archgoat has for some strange reason become one of those cult bands. To me there is no reason for this. To me a cult band has been around for a long, long time and most importantly they have recorded important and interesting music. Archgoat plays primitive black metal with some stains of death metal that is not insteresting nor is it at all important for the scene. Primitive riffs that are poorly written without any sense for what is needed to make good black metal. This is just raw for the sake of being raw. Most of all this album sounds dishonest. It sounds like the members decided to do an album just because people seemed interested again., a sad case of cashgrab is what this is. Those who like the death metal-styled Darkthrone might find this a bit interesting as it sounds a bit like that but nearly as good. Where Darkthrone had a clear goal for each riff Archgoat just plows on to the point where it gets so boring that I stop hearing the music even though I am lsitening to the album. The parts where the tempo is lowered really shows that these guys have no sense for melodies nor groove. The vocals are nothing but a pathetic attempt of creating brutal black metal styled deathgrunts but it has now brutality of any kind!

Finale: As I said above this album might interest those into the deathmetal-styled Darkthrone. Just don´t expect the same high quality songwriting from Archgoat. Regular black metal fans will find little, if any, interesting within this album. This is the perfect example of a band that would been better of left sleeping because this
"comeback" is just embarassing! This album is with ease on my top five worst albums ever and I will forever regret the day that i decided to buy this album. I´ve been trying to trade it but there is no one who wants it!

The "high" score for this album is based on the fact that I really like the coverart

Brilliant! - 95%

rasmushastrup, March 20th, 2007

Note: this review concerns the digipack version with the extra video cd.

This album just blows you away. It's really, really good. It must be one of the best black metal albums ever, and would probably be included among the twenty best metal albums of all times. Yes, I know this sounds somewhat over the top, but I honestly think it deserves all the accolades that can be heaped upon it.

This album represents, in my opinion, everything that extreme metal should be: it's fast, it's heavy, it's belligerent, and it's just so amazingly, overall badass. These guys know how to rock!

Even though many of the songs kind of blend into one another, it never gets boring. There's just enough variation to ensure everlasting (I think) listening pleasure. One aspect that really amazes me is how Archgoat manage to be both supremely fast (at times) and crushingly heavy. Often you encounter bands that sacrifice either speed or heaviness for the sake of the other, but Archgoat (along with bands like Coldworker and Skinless) create the perfect mix.

The vocals are nothing short of incredible. Lord Angelslayer has a deep, raspy voice that would suit any black or death metal band. The musicians are very talented, but they apparently don't need to flaunt their talent by trying to incorporate too many annoying elements into their music. They just don't want to be Necrophagist. Straight up extreme metal that never ever gets boring takes talent, too, make no mistake about it.

If you're lucky enough to get your hands on the digipack version, you'll get treated to some decent live material from this band. The camera work is sort of home video quality, but the sound, at one of the shows at least, is surprisingly good. Loads of spikes and corpsepaint, loads of good, evil fun.

This album is destined to remain among my favorites for a long, long time.