Goatwhore “Blood for the Master” Metal Blade

Goatwhore’s new record Blood For The Master is a typically violence inducing muscular guitar fest from the New Orlean’s quartet. Riffs chug and clatter relentlessly amid a backdrop of pummelling death and black metal influenced rhythms and manic yet clear shouted and gurgled vocals. It undoubtedly succeeds at the level of aural brutality but Blood For The Master misses out on essential status due to a lack of dynamics; choosing to get its head down and brawl never looking up from the carnage to survey its surroundings.

The seething opening salvo of Collapse In Eternal Worth and When Steel and Bone Meet ably demonstrate the clenched fist, take no prisoners approach Goatwhore adopt with gusto across ten tracks. Mixing up blastbeats with a hardcore chug might not be a surprise but it certainly makes a point. Occasionally guitarist Sammy Duet lets fly with blues bends and classic rock style leads that lend a dash of colour to the usual palette of blackened gore but make no mistake Blood For The Master is a resolutely metallic bastard of an album that rarely has room in its attack for such niceties.

Lyrically, the band’s approach is similarly bleak: “Spoiled with ageless blood. Destroy the kingdoms on the throne above. Rising legion of the damned. Bring forth the holy lamb of the slaughter”, not that you would come to a Goatwhore record expecting songs about the prom or unicorns. Singer Louis Falgoust crams in verbose ruminations on death, decay, remorse and the occult into every available sonic space. Titles such as My Name Is Frightful Among The Believers and Parasitic Scriptures of the Sacred Word are prime examples of the band’s vocabulary. The songs bulge with words dextrously spat by Falgoust, his vocals free of the usual distortion and obfuscation you usually get from death metal vocalists.

Blood For The Master is an oppressive and ferocious explosion of a record that doesn’t moderate its intentions to catch passing trends and songs like the Slayer style thrashing of An End to Nothing and the eerie and crushing Embodiment of This Bitter Cross are undeniably satisfying but for me there’s a little something missing. The riffs are often mere background generators of velocity refusing to stand out and be noticed � happy to power the swirling rage conjured up by the nuclear grade drums of Zack Simmons and vocalist Falgoust’s bloody lyrical agenda. Sure, when the blows connect they hurt and what’s more they come thick and fast leaving you battered by the end but ultimately with little recollection of what happened.

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