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A Furious Bloodletting - 75%

Left Hand Ov Dog, September 22nd, 2012

When first diving into the world of Goatwhore, the most noticeable aspect is the unceasingly furious pace. Not in any sort of grinding, brutal way, but a sort of driving stomp that continues unabated like a dry desert wind. And the riffing reinforces this mental picture, dry and barren, cutting you with a stark beauty, quite similar to the more manic slabs from the legendary Celtic Frost. While the attack that Goatwhore provide is not nearly as dynamic or groundbreaking as their forefathers, I still feel like they are heirs to that throne in spirit (along with the fantastic Aura Noir), and Blood For The Master is another solid, skull-pounding reason as to why that is.

Blood for the Master, like all the output by these Louisiana black/death/thrashers, is single-minded in its mission, often to a fault, as it contains almost literally no variety, in either tone or pacing. However, this determined velocity is framed by a lot of very strong riffing, cutting along like a desert wind, and one can’t help but watch in satisfaction as Goatwhore conjure a dust storm and paint the entire countryside in their unmitigated fury. This is a showcase of panoramic guitar work at a brisk, thrashing pace, and so full-bodied and epic are some of these progressions of open chord notation that the album veritably cloaks itself in a bleak majesty. While some sections admittedly feel repetitive and slightly anemic, the entirety reveals itself to be a pretty impressive storm. Ben’s dry, rasping vocals cut through the swirling dust like some kind of skeletal wraith, perhaps once kingly, but now draped in disease, spitting fire and venom, rusting, pestilent sword firmly in hand.

The tireless, atonal tirade that is Blood for the Master can be a bit wearisome at times, despite a bevy of favorably epic riffing patterns, really requiring the right mood for its limited range to work its magic. Though to be fair, when the time is right, you can’t find much more fitting an attack. If you’re the kind of headbanger who eats up blackened thrash for breakfast, I can imagine this primal riff-beast will be immensely pleasing. It’s not always involving and memorable, and does very little that could be considered dynamic, but Goatwhore know how to write a riff (often one on top of another), and they know how to keep the energy up, and there’s definitely something to be said for that. Not to mention the conjured atmosphere, a real storm of death and plague if I’ve ever heard one, yet purveying a sense of dark nobility, of forlorn majesty.

For all its admitted strengths, though, this just doesn’t stick to my ribs. Certain riffing patterns stir my soul pretty epically, while others feel like chugging repetitions, and my attention waxes and wanes with this back-and-forth flow, lending an often confused perspective. To be fair, it never dips so low as to be in any way mediocre, but it’s just not consistent enough to be fully satisfying, or really all that memorable, though not for lack of effort. So, while I doubt this is the kind of thing I’ll be listening to all the time, it certainly has its place, and it’s unwavering enough in inherent, base-line quality that I will indeed keep it around, because sometimes a simple, carousing, heavy as fuck hybrid like this is just what the doctor ordered. Unwavering fans of the band and genre will not be disappointed, and can safely add 10 percent onto my score, but for everyone else, I’d suggest approaching with cautious optimism, as you might want to test the consistency of this blood before you plunk down your hard earned cash for a transfusion.

-Left Hand of Dog

Goatwhore – Blood for the Master (2012) - 70%

Asag_Asakku, May 28th, 2012

New Orleans is known for being a party town, rocked by the rhythms of jazz and blues. So, Black Metal is not coming to mind when talking about the Big Easy. It is wrong, because this town is also home to the formation Goatwhore! They are celebrating their fifteenth anniversary this year and mark the moment with the launching of their fifth album, Blood for the Master (2012). So what kind of beast is out of the bayou?

The group did not see fit to let languish listeners about his musical choices. From the first notes of Collapse in Eternal Worth, we know what to expect: a melodic Thrash Black, full of ballsy riffs. The songs are rather short (three and half minutes on average) for an album that stops before the fortieth minute. Short but effective. This efficiency is demonstrated with When Steel and Bone Meet, which evokes unambiguously the heyday of American Thrash. With an unstoppable rhythm, this title is the highlight of the album, tied with Parasitic Scriptures of the Sacred Word, which allows good headbanging. I am less excited about the rest of the full lenght. From Tradition In Deathless, we feel that the group is running out of inspiration. The titles are missing teeth and Thrash sounding riffs, so effective at first, become redundant in the second part of the album. There is all the same great nice passages, including the introduction of Embodiment of This Bitter Chaos, which reminds me of Pantera’s “This Love”. It wraps up with My Name Is Frightful Among the Believers, that sounds far more Black than previous songs, backed with a rhythmic guitar playing and looping.

I am convinced that Blood for the Master was wrote for its stage performance. We feel the whole band’s live experience behind this album consisting of direct and rhythmic shortsongs, tailored for the viewers to get high in the mosh pit. Pleasant to listen, greatly interpreted, this album will appeal to all fans of Thrash Black American who can appreciate a job well done … before going to maim his neighbor into a hot pit ! 7/10

Originally written for - 80%

RidgeDeadite, May 28th, 2012

After releasing the excellent albums A Haunting Curse and Carving Out The Eyes Of God, Goatwhore have released what is easily the best album of their career, Blood For the Master. Curse was primarily a death metal album, while Carving really showed the band bringing out more of the black metal influence. This album has that equal ground that the other albums were missing.

Led by the stellar single “Collapse In Eternal Worth,” this shows just how much Goatwhore have grown into their music. After a wicked black metal intro, they slap false metal across the face with the brutal death-thrash that only they can pull off. The actual riffs don’t really change much, but instead Sammy just changes the pitch and execution of the riffs. This is the musical equivalent of the rhino tank in Grand Theft Auto (Goatwhore) running into a crowded intersection full of cars and people (everything else).

For a more groove metal approach, “When Steel And Bone Meet” does that very well. I mean, the name of the track literally speaks for itself. A little off putting after going through the brutality of the last track, but it is on par with most of the metal that is out there today. Falgoust really steps up the menacing factor of his vocals with this track. Fast and furious metal is the core.

One thing that really sets this album apart from the rest is that they explore a lot more musical territory instead of being tied down with a specific formula. “In Deathless Tradition” is a slowed down and heavy behemoth of a song that runs down the competition. Full of sludgy black metal riffs and healthy doses of chugging groove, “Deathless” is a track that will be the soundtrack of that really big guy that annihilates the pit.

“Beyond the Spell of Discontent” injects more of their punk/black metal roots in the album. It has a lot of the same type of guitar tones and riffs that are synonymous with black metal. Combine this with the production difference of the drums as compared with the rest of the album and you will see for yourself. Along with the speed and raw feel of punk, and you have a track that stands on its own from the rest of the album.

This is another prime example of a band that sticks their past catalogue in a oak barrel till it ferments even more, then adds in more new flavors to create the signature blend of Louisiana whiskey that Goatwhore delivers.

Showing God the true meaning of "smite". - 85%

Pr0nogo, March 16th, 2012

When you write a metal record, your main goal is often more than just explaining your point of view; usually, it's also crafting solid music, emotive instrumentals, powerful vocals, and a seamless listening experience. The almighty Goatwhore, with their fifth full-length album, seem to have done more than 'get the memo'. I think they were the ones who wrote it. Blood For the Master is an incredibly emotive, powerful, seamless record that starts off with a blistering pace and ends in quite the similar fashion; yet, it deviates significantly enough from the introductory tracks to keep things interesting. Like the paradigm of a typical five-paragraph essay, it begins and ends at the same place, but has quite enough blackened meat and bloody potatoes to go around in the middle.

What we have here with Blood For the Master is an incredibly-fun, almost addictive listen that allows us to feel the power and strength behind the band firsthand. It establishes several memorable guitar riffs in each track, building exponentially on their last record's guitar structure, while improving several faults and tying up the loose ends. It may be a 2.0 to some, but if that's true, it's a damn good one. There are legions of new concepts unleashed by this record, and it feels as if Goatwhore no longer binds them to their past inhibitions. While the introductory track "Collapse in Eternal Worth" has quite a lot in common with Carving Out the Eyes of God's opener "Apocalyptic Havoc" - especially in terms of pacing - the tracks that follow deviate a good amount from the typical Goatwhore structuring. This allows the band's sound to flourish without becoming boring or dated, and keeps things interesting on a subliminal level. The conscious improvements like the new guitar treatment and the more forceful vocal presence are still paramount, but this change in structure has definitely worked out for the better.

The guitars themselves are masterwork. Blood For the Master's guitar play is a more well-refined iteration of the screaming, shredding riffing we heard on Carving, with a heavier influence on technically-demanding riffs and solos this time around. This is a logical progression for the band's sound, and it makes Blood For the Master that much better of a record. The guitars are everything that I hoped I'd hear this time around, and more. It has this unique quality of sounding similar each time around, but changing structure and depth each song. This allows things to stay interesting when you try to study the guitars, keeping you on your toes for the next solo or riff change. It's a great technique, and shows the detail Goatwhore's placing into this album. There's also a decent amount of clean guitar passages throughout, where the vocals stop and the drumming slows down. These pieces are very evocative, and help set the mood of the song - and, often times, the mood of the songs that follow. The guitarplay on Blood For the Master is not just impressive; it's paramount to the overall listenability and replayability of the record, and it serves as an indicator for the level of effort put into the sound design.

The dual-vocalists Falgoust and Duet return in this record, serving only to empower the rest of the sound with their blackened death metal blasphemy until we can't take any more of it. The vocals within Blood For the Master are extremely enjoyable for reasons similar to why the guitars are; they take the aspects that worked for Carving and tweak them, making them as close to flawless as they can be. The new policy on this record is kill everything, and that's exactly what Falgoust and Duet do. The powerful mid-tone screams from past records makes a prominent appearance and sounds better than ever, especially since it's coupled with several high screams, low bellows, and haunting rasps. The rasps in particular are reminiscent of Goatwhore's origins, where they focused more on black than blackened death, and it sounds twice as awesome when paired with the mesmerisingly-powerful sound that we hear on Blood For the Master. Truly, the vocals have reached new heights, even if the changes to the methods are seemingly-minor.

Sadly, the drum tracks have not changed much from Carving. While this time, the drums are reinforced tenfold by the imaginative and powerful riffing, Blood For the Master's drum tracks still do not lead the parade in ways you would hope they would. Instead, the guitarplay steals the spotlight. Even though the drums benefit from the superior production, the lack of imagination you might hear from the drum tracks as they follow the lead of the guitars is somewhat typical of Goatwhore - oddly disappointing on some level, seeing all of the changes that were made to the other aspects of the band's sound. The new method of structuring the tracks makes for more enjoyable drumming, but the lack of creativity is still somewhat self-evident. All records have flaws, though, and the guitarwork and vocals are more than powerful enough to make for an incredible listen, even in the wake of merely 'decent' or 'satisfactory' drumming. Blood For the Master is an incredible blackened death metal record - a standout in Goatwhore's musical career. Hail Satan.

Recommended Tracks:
1. "Collapse in Eternal Worth"
2. "When Steel and Bone Meet"
4. "In Deathless Tradition"
6. "Embodiment of This Bitter Chaos"
8. "Death to the Architects of Heaven"

The Master is pleased...somewhat - 83%

GodlessCyst, March 7th, 2012

Hearing the latest effort by the Louisianan masters of blackened swampcore, Goatwhore made this February 15th possibly the most eventful Valentine’s Day in my (thus far) grimdark, loveless mortal existence, and while I wasn’t immediately floored by the slightly thrashier approach our favorite bayou crawlers chose on their latest opus, repeated listens ultimately cumulated in an album that I can see myself returning to in aeons to come.

The most obvious contrast that can be made here is to Goatwhore’s previous album, Carving Out the Eyes of God. While the wicked hooks and punkish attitude of the latter album had propelled Goatwhore at last onto the radar of the metallic mainstream, I felt that the sullen, bitter miasma that characterizes the work of so many Louisiana metal bands (and had characterized all of Goatwhore’s albums up until that point) was slightly compromised in favor of a catchier, more accessible approach, something that diminished its power relative to earlier efforts like A Haunting Curse.

To go over why Blood for the Master truly excels however, I must emphasize how it brings back much of the claustrophobic aggression that had characterized Funeral Dirge for A Rotting Sun and A Haunting Curse and integrates it with the superb songwriting of Carving, creating a work that is simultaneously catchy and abrasive in the ears of the listener. The thrash influence is stronger than ever, with songs like “Collapse in Eternal Worth” and “Death to the Architects of Heaven” filled with palm-muted thrashing madness that grows repetitive, but works well in churning the collective momentum of the record in a forward direction.

The second-wave black metal influences have also returned in full-force, stronger than they have been since the days of Funeral Dirge. While the last two records took much of the power chord-laden style of Celtic Frost and interpreted it in a modern context, Blood for the Master sees these swamp dwellers once again making a sojourn to Nordic shores, with tracks such as “Beyond the Spell of Discontent” chalk full of tremolo-picked melodic melancholy that hearkens back to Darkthrone and Gorgoroth’s earlier days. Yet amidst the cacophony of classic, yet clichéd influences, Goatwhore never loses their uniquely American identity, throwing in moments of sludgy southern attitude, most prominently evident in “When Steel and Bone Meet,” one of my personal favorites off the record.

Despite its unique atmosphere and tasteful integration of antediluvian influences within a modern framework, Blood for the Master was not without its weaknesses. First of all, Louis Benjamin Falgoust II (a mouthful more befitting of a monarch of the Anciens Regime than a black metal vitriol spewer)’s vocals have certainly declined since the days of Soilent Green’s Pussysoul, and here he sounds more like a tired old man attempting to maintain a (annoyingly “hardc0re”) facade of true aggression than the mutilated larynx of nihilistically-fueled anger a black metal vocalist is supposed to be. I found that this uninspired approach often interfered with the motifs and soundscapes the band was attempting to conjure, often breaking me out of whatever necrotic stupor a great riff puts me in back into the shitstain of reality. Great vocalists like Erik Danielsson of Watain, Mortuus/Arioch of Funeral Mist, and Naas Alcameth of Nightbringer only serve intensify the crushing wall of oppression that is black metal, but Ben Falghoust’s voice is utterly devoid of phlegm, black bile, and hate, and in their current state sounds more appropriate for a dickless metalcore band than a great band like Goatwhore.

The songwriting, while still memorable, doesn’t have quite the same staying power as some records in their back catalog. The songs, all structured in a similar manner and lacking dynamics, have a tendency to mesh together as in many inferior black metal records, and there are no massive standouts like Carving’s title track or “Forever Consumed Oblivion” on Blood for the Master. I mentioned before that the palm-muted thrash picking grows extremely irritating if the album is listened to as a whole, and indeed, hearing them used in an identical fashion over and over again gives the album an artificial, inauthentic feeling that sadly shatters the black metal spell. Despite these complaints, my desire for a more brutal incarnation of Goatwhore was satisfied quite nicely by Blood for the Master, and I’d recommend this album to any acolyte of heavy metal for its accessible yet potent approach to the genre, as well as to more seasoned black metal hierophants looking for some originality in their collection.

My backside hurts. - 75%

Andromeda_Unchained, February 26th, 2012

Album number five for New Orleans ass kickers Goatwhore. These guys hold the power of the riff in high regard and the band lay down some absolute gut busters on Blood for the Master. The band remind me quite a bit of Soilent Green in places which is cool, although Goatwhore certainly wield a more aggressive age.

Ten songs and just less than forty minutes of mayhem is the deal here, and Goatwhore drive a mean bargain. I can't stress the quality of the riffs, great articulation, perfectly headbangable, and simple yet devastatingly effective, this is exactly what you want in this type of music. Shades of Carcass's Swansong riffing style really bleed through on Blood for the Master, although don't let that give you the idea this is death and roll. The band utilize quite a bit of Swedish death metal technique, with some almost Dismember moments in places.

The vocals are my only real sore point here, as with a lot of the extreme metal I cover they're a little too modern for my liking. The black metal-styled vocals work well, but it's in the death growls where the modernisms creep in. At the end of the day though, this is quality. Like a nail-spiked bat this album causes its fair share of destruction, and I can only imagine how punishing this would be live. Fans of Skeleton Witch and Soilent Green would certainly do well to check this out. Recommended.

Originally written for

the best American black metal album of the decade - 95%

blackchrist666, February 24th, 2012

Not only is this (in my opinion) the best American black metal album of the decade (the "10's"), but I think Goatwhore is probably the best American black metal band of the 21st century (so far, anyway). Some black metal purists may argue that they are not authentic enough to be considered a "true" black metal band, and that may be subject to debate, however most of the bands that the aficionados refer to as real black metal are the Norwegian and Scandinavian bands, and rightly so since most of the classic examples (Darkthrone, Mayhem, Emperor, etc.) were the originators of the genre, but that type of extreme, icy, over the top style is something that I consider to be European black metal.

The American counterpart would be a more primitive, thrashy, accessible style of black metal (or what some people commonly refer to as "blackened thrash"), but in my opinion is no less brutal sounding. Goatwhore definitely has a more old-school vibe and draws influences from bands like Venom, Hellhammer, early Celtic Frost, and Bathory (which is fine with me, since in my opinion, the older ones are certainly the best), which consists of 90% of their sound along with faint traces of Motorhead & Discharge influences. Blood For The Master finds them with more fast- paced songs and less of a melodic element as found on their last album, Carving Out The Eyes Of God. They've streamlined their sound to a more raw meat & potatoes version of the Goatwhore formula. Once again, the production on this record is absolutely flawless thanks to legendary metal producer Erik Rutan (of Hate Eternal).

The riffs are brutal and razor sharp, the bass is sludgy, yet full and thick, and the drums are extremely tight and solid. As usual, the vocals are intense and executed like an evil weapon of war and the lyrics are a poetic, black work of art, yet at the same time are full of psychotic aggression.

I would find it very hard to believe that any person who appreciates dark, evil metal would not like this album.