01. Sacrament of Emptiness and Despair 02. Vengeance of Demonic Fury 03. Bloodguilt Eucharist (MP3) 04. The Serpent that Enslaves what is Worshiped 05. Chanting Bells of Funeral Anguish 06. Sky Inferno 07. A Closure in Infinity 08. Invocation to the Obsidian Moon 09. As the Sun Turns to Ash 10. Fires of the Judas Blood 11. The Black Art of Deception 12. Baptized in a Storm of Swords2003 Rotten Records
by Ash Levitt
Immediately images come to mind at the mention of black metal. Skinny Norwegians in corpse paint and black leather abounded in spikes. Theatrical shows with keyboards and accompanying operatic vocals. Grainy pictures of two long-haired men in a winter forest with swords next to an indecipherable band logo. Then there are the schemas of the notoriety of the Norwegian scene in the early nineties. Homicides, suicides, grave robbings, church burnings, members of bands in prison, members of bands fighting; it was definitely not an age of enlightenment. The idiosyncrasies of any scene are easily made fun of, and more times than not are what destroys that scene. All of that aside, the most overlooked part of black metal is the powerfully simple, yet almost elegant music. Goatwhore, who could fit into a couple different genres aside from black metal, is the epitome of a band. With their newest darkened slab of music, "Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun," they once again set the standard for not just black metal, but for everything that American metal in general should be. Goatwhore is not a technical band. They do not try to impress fans with smoke and mirrors. However, they do have a love for the music, and it shows. Vocalist Ben Falgoust (Soilent Green) and guitarist Sammy Duet (Acid Bath) bring an amazing amount of talent and experience to the band. Falgoust’s distinguishable voice is as charismatic as ever, allowing Goatwhore to cater to even the smallest of Soilent Green fans. Duet’s voice also adds a nice texture to the band’s storytelling of dark landscapes, etc. The music as a whole on the new record is hard to describe in one term. It has definitely matured compared to two other releases ("Eclipses of the Ages Into Black," and a split 7” with Epoch of Unlight). Upon first listen, I couldn’t help but think of American hardcore circa the 1980’s. The up-tempo drum work really pushes the thick combination of guitar and bass. As quickly as the listener finds this, the music sweeps into a blast beat making it more akin to black metal. Other times the band will slip into a sludgy discordant groove somewhat similar to fellow New Orleans-based brethren Eyehategod and Soilent Green. However, I don’t want to be overanxious in comparing Goatwhore to these bands. Even though there are unavoidable similarities, Goatwhore is first and foremost its own band, not just some side project playing off members’ other bands. Melodies on this record are few and far between. On the other hand, there are plenty of subtle hooks just below the surface to make the songs memorable, likely compelling listeners to return for more. There is also an extra spice to Goatwhore, an ability to let the music lay back even in the fastest of blast beats, that can only come from a band from New Orleans. Bottom Line: Goatwhore is for fans of all types of aggressive music. It is not meant for those who get caught up in scene politics. It is for those who love the music. Goatwhore delivers metal that is fast, slow, brutal, dark, feral, solid, relentless, and consistently good. This record, as well as Goatwhore’s live show, should not be missed by any fan of metal.