Bands have to reinvent themselves and their sound constantly to keep up in the wake of the ever-changing music scene, and let’s face it, the Death Metal scene is one that is always evolving to accommodate a new audience. Goatwhore has always been an interesting band to me because their roots that lie hard in the almost defunct speed metal genre and the New Orleans Doom scene.
Goatwhore has never been anything short of impressive, and Constricting Rage of the Merciless is also nothing short of impressive, and frankly, makes me happy in the pants, the kind of happy that makes me reminisce of Pauly Shore dancing to “Steven Tyler PJ’s,” which should give you a fantastic visual, and I highly doubt the visual that Goatwhore had in mind when writing the track FBS (Fucked By Satan).
The album opens with Poisonous Existence is Reawakening, a fast, aggressive track that reminds you how great blast beats through almost an entire song can be when properly executed and absolutely ferocious vocals. When pressing play, you instantly know you’re in for one hell of a ride that takes us into Unraveling Paradise and Baring Teeth for Revolt, two tracks in which you feel like you’re being taken through a journey in the depths of our planet with only a sword to protect you from the evils that may await. Slow points that are so traditional thrash it makes you smile and think of great riffs from early Testament, and then fast aggressive moments of the early roots of Acid Bath.
Reanimated Sacrifice is a brilliantly designed doom and gloom track that speeds like a locomotive and is a peak of ferociousness on this album that the vocals at times feel like they are attempting to play catch up, but hang in there and never give-in, never give a second to breathe. Followed by Heaven’s Crumbling Walls of Pity, which for the first few seconds makes you think the album is giving in just a little bit and slowing it down to give you a second to think through what you just heard, but alas, we are taken into a mix of blast beats and almost, dare I say COC type doom that blurs into the melodic, dark slumber of Cold Earth Consumed in Dying Flesh, a needed track; one that blends traditional Death Metal and Black Metal to design the perfect rest on my ears and a slow headbang through the majority until picking it up and entering back into the thrash world just before heading into FBS (Fucked By Satan), a track that I truly believe should be moved into your top 25 tracks of the year.
FBS will remind you how much you love thrash, and the titans that destroyed your ears some thirty years ago! Then we begin the end with Nocturnal Conjuration of the Accursed, a perfect wrap up of this album with Schadenfreude and Externalize This Hidden Savagery¸ which all seem to blend together in a fantastic way, almost as if you’re reading the last book of your favorite fantasy series and you can feel it, you can touch the inevitable end to this great journey you’ve sunk your mind and heart into.
This album feels like a crash course in a metal history lesson without the terrible recording quality of the early 80’s. It’s a journey of epic proportions, one that was carefully planned and tactfully executed, one that should (but sadly won’t) catapult Goatwhore into the realm of (dare I say?) greatness? Not so quickly, but definitely will stick in my head as one of the best albums of 2014, and can’t wait for a headlining tour!
Louis B. Falgoust II – Vocals
Sammy Duet – Guitars, Vocals
Zack Simmons – Drums
James Harvey – Bass