Release Date: Jul 8, 2014
Record label: Metal Blade
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal
Forget that it sounds like the Bayou-based decibel crushers elicited the moniker for their sixth studio long-player from a generic black metal title generator, Constricting Rage of the Merciless is as punishing a collection of songs as one is likely to come across in 2014. Even more concise and streamlined than 2012's relentless Blood for the Master, Constricting finds the veteran New Orleans band so dialed in that there may as well be nobody listening. Rather than mess with the formula, Goatwhore opted to simply turn up everything and let the sparks fly, resulting in the least forward-thinking, yet most sonically rewarding album of their career, offering up a bludgeoning ten-song attack that's as accessible as it is neck snapping, with highlights arriving via textbook blackened metal confections like "Poisonous Existence in Reawakening," "Nocturnal Conjuration of the Accursed," "Unraveling Paradise," and the sneaky and serpentine yet surprisingly melodic "Schadenfreude.
Over the complex, intensely storied 16 years of their career, New Orleans based black metallers Goatwhore have been in a constant state of transformation. While their black and death metal core has remained intact, they have accrued swamp metal sludginess, hissing acidity and the wild violence of thrash, consistently eschewing genre restrictions. Their consistent push to twist and torque their sound has resulted in a constant refining of their aesthetic, and unusually consistent improvement for a band that has been active as long as they have; their sixth full-length offering, Constricting Rage of the Merciless, is yet another step forward for the already venerable group.
Metal in general is not a genre for the meek. Thrash and speed metal, two of the myriad subgenres within the broader umbrella genre too enamored of subgenres, micro-genres, and general nit-picking, prove exhausting listening experiences as they race along at breakneck tempos, often on the very edge of control, careening along the edge of a blackened abyss. Frantic tempos and bleak, psychologically damaged lyrics are part and parcel when it comes to this kind of music and Goatwhore are clearly well-versed in both.
Between the reunion of local heroes EyeHateGod to the release of new albums from Crowbar and Corrosion of Conformity, the New Orleans sludge scene has been especially active as of late. Previously propelled by the slow chug of their peers, the Delta sludge wave now meanders into turbid waters with the release of Constricting Rage of the Merciless, the latest full-length from Goatwhore and the follow-up to 2012's Blood for the Master. For over fifteen years now, the quartet has been merging black metal, thrash, and the blues into a direct, southern-fried take on the genre.
Goatwhore Constricting Rage of the Merciless (Metal Blade) A side of New Orleans not getting much play on Treme, Goatwhore channels every evil impulse of its blackened death thrash into Constricting Rage of the Merciless, sixth LP of ill intent. "We have come to smash your idols!" roars Ben Falgoust in the neck-snapping "Baring Teeth for the Revolt," and that's the kindest he gets. Sammy Duet's disemboweling slash fuels said frontbeast's bottomless hatred for spiritual virtue: rampaging "Nocturnal Conjuration of the Accursed," slam-dancing "Heaven's Crumbling Walls of Pity," and concrete-crushing "Poisonous Existence in Reawakening.