Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Goatwhore - Carving out the eyes of God

Thrash black tends to be one of the smaller genres out there. But one thing is for sure, there are a small handful of some pretty damn big bands from there. All of the ones that I’M aware of are Skeletonwitch, Melechesh, Hellhammer, and Goatwhore. I originally was introduced to Goatwhore when I saw them live in 2010 at a show headlined by DevilDriver (my first time ever hearing them as well) along with Suffocation (the only reason I was there) and Thy Will Be Done. Due to my lack of interest in Goatwhore at the time, I wasn’t really that impressed by their set. Then, sometime in the last year, Goatwhore set out on a headlining tour with Hate Eternal and Fallujah (Cerebral Bore didn’t show up, which is why they’re making up for that by being on Summer Slaughter this year). Of course, for me, I was going for Hate Eternal since they completely blew the fucking place apart the first time I saw them, as well as Fallujah. A couple of days before the show, I decided that since Goatwhore was the headliner of the show that I should at least check out ONE of their albums. Well, this was the one I got and after my second listen, I was hooked.

Probably what most everyone likes about thrash black is the catchiness it has. Hellhammer is obviously filled with it; that’s what most people know about them. Also, when you listen to Skeletonwitch and Melechesh, along with the extreme grimness of the black metal sound, you can hear the slight catchiness that comes from the old school thrash metal sound. Goatwhore is the black sheep, though. They don’t have a black metal base with some thrash weaved about there and there and sprinkled around; their sound is of that description, but reversed. That’s the typical Goatwhore sound; but this album in particular is the most unique album they’ve put out so far.

This album is Goathwore’s most unique primarily because they’ve chosen to implement more death metal than they did in previous releases like A Haunting Curse. So think of it like this: the really fucking catchy thrash death sound of DevilDriver plus black metal equals Carving out the Eyes of God. That’s what I think is the overall best description of this album. So as far as influence goes, I would probably guess that DevilDriver had a HUGE influence on the sound of this album because of the resemblance it has of them. To the elite black metal listener, this album wouldn’t be at all enjoyable because it lacks the signature grimness that we black metal fans both expect and love to hear. Also, another aspect that has been completely taken out during the writing process of this record is atmosphere. You listen to the earlier works of Darkthrone, listen to Immortal, and just about any at least half-decent black metal band and hear ATMOSPHERE. Hell, even Skeletonwitch and Melechesh managed to stick atmospheric elements into their music while still keeping the thrash black sound they were aiming for. But in this album, no way in hell will you find any sort of atmospheric or traditional black metal elements.

It’s for that very reason why I initially labeled this album as a black death record. Because the death metal and thrash metal combination completely enclose the core black metal sound, there actually isn’t much black metal left. For those of you that can sniff out even the faintest scent of black metal in any situation, you’ll be able to hear SOME black metal sound in this record; but very little. When you listen to their most recent release, Blood for the Master, you hear that most of the death metal sound from Carving out the eyes of God was removed, therefore re-exposing the pure catchy thrash black sound.

What I love most about this album is the amount of energy it contains. I’m not talking about how the shitload of bass and the sound of the guitars give it grit and energy; I’m talking about how you can literally FEEL the energy that the music itself creates. You can hear that the individual members are literally putting every last drop of energy they have during the recording process and were probably sleeping for the next two days in order to regain it back. Of course, many of you will beg to differ, but that’s certainly the feeling that the album gives ME.

The song structure is completely organized and without flaw. The way everything was composed keeps the different elements evened out and keeps the different sounds from clumping together. Doing this has kept the general sound of the album fairly consistent. But the reason why it doesn’t feel repetitive is because the mixture of the different sounds aren’t COMPLETELY blended together. Think of it as like when you mix red and yellow paint; right before it turns to pure orange, it just looks like a bunch of red and yellow swirls with a tad bit of orange here and there. You can tell that there’s a blend of different sounds, but they aren’t tightly pulled together in order to make it extremely easy for the listener to digest and enjoy. In some cases this is a bad thing, but Goatwhore defy that thought by doing just the opposite and making it a good thing.

This album is a fantastic album and I would recommend it to just about any extreme metal fan. A good cacophony of black metal, death metal, and old school thrash metal gives this album a 15/20. As well as that, it’s just a motherfucking BLAST to listen to!