The American black/death group GOATWHORE are on the cusp of unleashing their seventh studio album, Vengeful Ascension, upon the world. This time around, the band have changed things up in the recording studio, by enlisting the help of Jaret Pritchard instead of Erik Rutan, who helped to create the previous four albums of GOATWHORE’s discography. While changing it up on the production side of things and aiming to create a raw record similar to their live sound, how does Vengeful Ascension stand?
Deviating from GOATWHORE‘s tradition of jumping straight into the action, Vengeful Ascension eases open somewhat with a build-up of drums to show you something is coming with Forsaken. The track itself is a pure burst of power that throws you into the deep end and starts the record off brilliantly. Ben Falgoust, the frontman of GOATWHORE, has explained that they wanted the record to be raw and as close to the live version of the band as possible. The record is certainly raw, which only adds to its ferocity and appeal. From a technical perspective, the album is solid and delivers fast-paced, thrashing goodness. On that side of things, there isn’t really much to complain about.
What makes this record really stand out is that each song is notably different from the other. You’re faced with a more death-oriented barrage of Mankind Will Have No Mercy, yet also the heavy black metal riffs and drum beats from Sammy Duet and Zack Simmons respectively on Abandon Indoctrination. There are definitely elements of twiddling with genres and infusing new sounds in there, and these moments work really well. This said, it doesn’t sound too different as to lose touch with what make GOATWHORE so great, which could have been a concern for some. One of the defining features of the record is that their black metal side has been exposed a lot more compared to their previous records, and this is something they pull off really well.
While not too far out of their comfort zones, you can certainly hear a change in GOATWHORE‘s sound. It may not be a career-defining record or particularly mind-blowing, but it is definitely a demonstration that GOATWHORE can step out, do something new, and pull it off. Their combination of black, death, and the odd touch of thrash are nicely done and create some memorable tracks such as Vengeful Ascension. Some songs fall a little behind the mark, for example Where The Sun is Silent doesn’t sound particularly new and reminds more of the likes of BEHEMOTH than anything, however the record has plenty of memorable material to compensate. The use of Satan for lyrics or inspiration feels somewhat overdone by this point, however that’s hardly a damaging factor to the album. For what they wanted to achieve, they’ve ticked all the boxes.
What GOATWHORE have created with Vengeful Ascension seems to be an accumulation of their discography in its finest form, and morphed into one raw, evil being. The pulls at melodic, thrash, death, black metal, and everything else that lurks in the shadows in this record, make Vengeful Ascension stand out in their discography. This record will be a welcome addition to a GOATWHORE fan’s collection, but it could be better recommended to those who are yet to delve into the band’s discography.
Vengeful Ascension is out now via Metal Blade Records.
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