GOATWHORE – Vengeful Ascension

GOATWHORE – Vengeful Ascension

Relentless is an apt description for Goatwhore. Celebrating 20 years together as a group, "Vengeful Ascension" as their seventh studio record keeps their abrasive thrash/death/punk/black juggernaut wall of sound chugging along – adding another 10 tracks to their coffers. What’s always exciting about the quartet’s approach is their ability to inject melodic sections at surprising moments – even when they decide to go full bore or step off the accelerator and submit to more of a sludge/power groove factor.

There’s no mistaking the Ben Falgoust raspy roar – acidic, evil, and sure to send any threatening onlookers fleeing for the hills. Check out the punkish volleys for "Chaos Arcane" as ‘from the abyss I shall be born’ reverberates against the frantic, Slayer-ish lead breaks from Sammy Duet while the double bass/ frantic fill thunder out of Zack Simmons keeps the battle launching onward. At other times, the band prefer to sink into slower, darker riffs that breathe a bit more for atmospheric context, as the follow up "Where the Sun is Silent" illustrates, the guitars and bass forming this low-tuned union to inflict aural submission in a semi-tribal, circular context. Choosing to record away from Erik Rutan and go with their soundman Jarrett Pritchard at Earth Analog in Illinois could be a risk to some, but actually gives Goatwhore a chance to capture their live sound as close as possible in the confines of recording – primal and locomotive.

Extreme artists, especially those with decades of skin in the game, know that dynamics play a huge part in long-term appeal. When Goatwhore choose to be frantic for one section, they reign an arrangement in for the next addictive tremolo picking maneuver, divebomb lead break, or double bass-oriented underpinning – for every blast beat that makes "Abandon Indoctrination", the next section slays in an At The Gates meets blackened approach. By the time the abrupt closing for "Those Who Denied God’s Will" finishes, most will want to hit play once again to be crushed again by the weight and heaviness of the record.

Goatwhore succeeds again.