Release Date: Feb 14, 2012
Record label: Metal Blade
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Death Metal, Black Metal, Speed/Thrash Metal
While it's always interesting when bands set out to explore bold new sonic waters, there's something to be said for doing the classics incredibly well. With their fifth album, Blood for the Master, Goatwhore do just that, delivering another album of relentless and refined blackened death metal that speaks volumes about the band's level of craftsmanship. Every element of the album is airtight, and it's from this highly fortified position that the band are able to launch and all-out metal assault, digging into their arsenal of thrash, death, and black metal riffage to destroy the eardrums of anyone they come across.
When I laughed upon seeing the album art for Goatwhore’s newest album, I thought to myself, “This probably isn’t a good start. ” The band’s occultic take on the Eucharist (rightly) won’t make most people chuckle, but for me, the cover represented everything I don’t like about black-metal, namely the cliched depictions of occulticism that makes people so hesitant to engage in the genre in the first place. Speaking as someone who disagrees with much of the genre’s known philosophy, I still recognize that there are black-metal musicians who don’t just go with the most obvious anti-theistic titles like, I don’t know, Blood for the Master.
If you take the time to read the script of Blood for the Master, the fifth album by New Orleans death metal quartet Goatwhore, you might be intimidated. True to stylistic expectations, these 10 songs are indeed rife with deicide, genocide, apocalypse, upheaval, bloodshed, and biting. The horror-house images are occasionally compelling, too, like the loaded descriptor "bound in serpent's coil" or the suggestive "a drop of blood in water." During opener "Collapse in Eternal Worth", there's talk of perdition and sacrifice, decay and slaughter, extinction and returning "these false gods to realms of disease." Elsewhere, heavens burn, virgins bleed, underworlds hunger, massacres gratify, and zombies rise.
It's been fun watching Goatwhore over the course of their five albums. What started as a novel black metal side-project from some prominent New Orleans metal dudes, most notably Soilent Green vocalist Ben Falgoust, has slowly morphed into a band certainly good enough to be Falgoust's main breadwinner, and as the production budgets have grown, so have the old-school death/thrash elements, as well as the Lemmy-esque swagger. It's unavoidable to mention the Soilent Green influence in some of the song structures (here, "Collapse in Eternal Worth" could pass for the opening track off the next Soilent disc).
Six-foot-four swamp thing Ben Falgoust II lords over a stage like no other, but where his vocal command should be soul-stripping ("Collapse in Eternal Youth"), it's subsumed by the New Orleans quartet's typewriter attack (rat-a-tat-tat). When he's forefront in the mix ("When Steel and Bone Meet"), he seldom screams singer. Much here to relish: cold riff sleet ("Parasitic Scriptures of the Sacred Word"), while warplane thrust in "Death to the Architects of Heaven" and backup "An End to Nothing" top off Blood for the Master.