Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Released: July 8, 2014
Format Reviewed: FLAC
Feature: National Uprising – Recent Releases
By: Kris Kotlarik
Goatwhore is one of those bands that I’ve always been able to listen to, but not really dive into. There’s several reasons for that; as one might expect from the band name (and the song “FBS,” which stands for “Fucked By Satan”), the lyrics are less than savory and not all that innovative. And while I admittedly haven’t explored the full depths of their back catalog, from what I’ve heard so far, there’s not a lot of diversity in their sound. Nonetheless, I do have fond memories of hearing their music before shows at Eau Claire’s House Of Rock. In fact, Goatwhore was just about the only music that bar ever played before metal concerts.
But this is a new go-around (their sixth) for the group, and I see some differences, most notably the use of both screaming and growling vocals, as well as a bunch of slower songs, almost all of them being on the second half of the album. Does it change my impression of them? No, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s worth noting that every song except for one lies in between the lengths of 3:15 and 3:48, which if nothing else scores a point from those who aren’t inclined to sit through long songs or albums (this one clocks in at about 37.5 minutes).
The one song that stands above all the rest is “Unraveling Paradise,” which is swift and merciless from start to finish. The opening and closing tracks are both great tracks but don’t pack as much punch as the aforementioned song. I also enjoyed “Reanimated Sacrifice” and “Heaven’s Crumbling Walls Of Pity,” particularly the latter, which boasts a nice riff.
“Baring Teeth For Revolt” and “FBS” are notable for taking on more of a traditional heavy/speed metal feel. “Cold Earth Consumed In Dying Flesh,” the longest track clocking in at 5:29, is a slow, brooding quasi-doom metal track with a long intro. The nice buildup towards the end saves an otherwise uninteresting piece. “Nocturnal Conjuration Of The Accursed” and “Schadenfreude” are both similarly slow songs with not much going for them.
Overall: The slower second half takes some of the wind off this album’s sails. Anything else that can be said about previous Goatwhore albums is applicable here.
Bonus Thoughts: Given the criteria in which I review albums, which mostly hinge upon innovation, creativity and diversity, I could easily see this scoring a 4.0 on other blogs that use a different set of criteria and wouldn’t bat an eye. A 3.0 on this site isn’t a death sentence; it just means that I consider it to have a somewhat low replay value for one reason or another. And in this case, that reason is because the second half waters down an otherwise strong album.