Goatwhore - Carving Out the Eyes of God (Metal Blade/Riot)

Dark, heavy and evil. Goatwhore crush, kill and destroy with terrifying speed in their fourth flesh-ripping and face-melting record.
Release Date: 
22 Jun 2009 - 11:30pm

Although metal fans are quick to decry filmmaker Sam Dunn's oversimplification of black metal as "punk meets Wagner dressed as Alice Cooper" there's some truth to his "twitterfication" of such a rich and diverse genre; especially in his "punk" assessment. In Carving Out the Eyes of God the fourth and brutally relentless effort from the New Orleans, LA quartet Goatwhore, black metal, thrash metal and punk fuse together with furious, monstrous and destructive force.

Crushing and heavy, the band's modus operandi on this record becomes abundantly obvious - to craft every song to be as headbang-worthy as the next (barring one - more on that later). The album starts with the modern thrash oriented Apocalyptic Havoc before crunching down with borderline grind by way of Behemoth in The All-Destroying. Title track Carving Out the Eyes of God sounds like a condensed and intense symphony of tremolo guitar and double kick extremity; each note sounds expertly timed for maximum impact. Even the reflective bridges carry as much weight as the no-holds-barred shredding. Though starting out simply with punk-style riffing over the top of straight-forward snare hits ala Black Flag in Reckoning of the Soul Made Godless, they quickly take a sharp turn into rolling 80s thrash territory - think the hard-edged days of Megadeth, Metallica and Slayer.

This Passing into the Power of Demons
hears their take on muscular German style thrash (Kreator, Destruction etc.) while the standout Razor Flesh Devoured blends elements of brooding Scandinavian first wave black metal (Mayhem, Darkthrone) with belligerent American thrash. The uncharacteristically sparse To Mourn And Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways evokes elements of the post-black metal/sludge movement, featuring swampy, groovy and tar-thick riffs, vocals hauntingly spoken rather than growled or screamed.

Often, the strident riffing borders on the verge of dissonance as their fuzzy "not quite punk rock, not quite death metal, not quite black metal" guitar tone deftly adds power to their brutish and sharp compositions, thanks to the band having veteran thrasher Erik Rutan (ex-Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal) behind the boards. Luckily, the mix remembers that the bass and drums are integral to the sound, thus lending each and every track - at least at some point - a passage with which to abandon all restraint and get your head banging violently. Its not the most original record ever produced, but for black metal or death metal fans, it's a must. Even punk fans that revel in extremity will find many moments of enjoyment on this disc.

Carving Out the Eyes of God is out now through Metal Blade/Riot Entertainment.