Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Review: Archgoat - Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites)

Archgoat's third EP offering comes in the form of Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites). The album itself was recorded over the course of three short days in September of 2011, at a place known as The Temple of the Black Moon. This release also marks Archgoat's first record deal with Debemur Morti Productions, the label that they've stood by ever since.

Genre: Death/Black Metal
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Release Date: October 14, 2011
  1. Intro
  2. Blessed Vulva
  3. Goddess of the Abyss of Graves
  4. Penetrator of the Second Temple
  5. Day of Clouds
  6. Passage to Millennial Darkness
Total Playtime: 16 minutes, 04 seconds




Rating: 7.0/10



Archgoat's third EP offering comes in the form of Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites). The album itself was recorded over the course of three short days in September of 2011, at a place known as The Temple of the Black Moon. This release also marks Archgoat's first record deal with Debemur Morti Productions, the label that they've stood by ever since.

Of course, Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites) wouldn't be an Archgoat release if it didn't open with an ambient track filled with disturbing keyboard work and backward speech; nevertheless, tradition is tradition. Instead of a harsh transition into hell, listeners are greeted with the tolling bells and slow, chunky groove riffs of "Blessed Vulva", one of the stronger tracks on this short excursion. It's right from this moment that audiences can tell that the band has moved away from their overly raw sound, and into a slightly higher production quality.


Not many songs stand out on their own here, but "Penetrator of the Second Temple" manages to hold its own. It brings with it the same 'ol hot and heavy/slow and dreamlike pattern that Archgoat has made their signature sound over the years. Haunting choir synths and deep, brooding guitar hooks keep listeners engaged and interested, not to mention there's also some amazing bass drum work in action, and Sinisterror manages to be all over the place on his drumkit at all times.

Even though Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites) isn't the best weapon in Archgoat's arsenal, it's still not a bad one. In fact, this short-but-sweet EP marks a turning point in the band's career; to higher production values and less repetition. It's nice to hear a solid release that doesn't have that one particular slow groove riff in it that has appeared in almost every other offering by the band. There are few tracks that stand out, but the ones that do are great to listen to time and time again. 

Review: Archgoat - The Light-Devouring Darkness

After Archgoat called it quits in 1993, the two founding brothers, Lord Angelslayer and Ritual Butcherer, reformed in 2004 with a new drummer and spat out Whore of Bethlehem; a less than impressive debut full-length installment. The Light-Devouring Darkness is the 2009 sophomore full-length incantation from the Finnish trio; if we're counting all of their demos, splits, and EPs, it's the eighth overall release.

Genre: Death/Black Metal
Label: Blasphemous Underground Productions
Release Date: February 7th, 2009
  1. Intro: 3rd Invocation
  2. Apotheosis of Lucifer
  3. Tribulation of the King of Worms
  4. Goat and the Moon
  5. Sodomator of the Doomed Venus
  6. The Light-Devouring Darkness
  7. Blessed in Beast's Blood
  8. Worms Born of Martyrdom
  9. Fornicated Messiah
  10. The Dawn of the Antichrist
Total Playtime: 29 minutes, 57 seconds




Rating: 8.5/10




After Archgoat called it quits in 1993, the two founding brothers, Lord Angelslayer and Ritual Butcherer, reformed in 2004 with a new drummer and spat out Whore of Bethlehem; a less than impressive debut full-length installment. The Light-Devouring Darkness is the 2009 sophomore full-length incantation from the Finnish trio; if we're counting all of their demos, splits, and EPs, it's the eighth overall release.

From the very beginning of the album, audiences can tell right away that there is a lot more chemistry going on between Lord Angelslayer and Ritual Butcherer with Sinisterror. There's no longer a sense of the two founding musicians being rusty from having been on hiatus for over a decade, and overall the instruments amazingly well together. In Whore of Bethlehem, it sounded as though the drums and guitar were trying to go their separate ways at all times, but there's an incredible synchronicity in The Light-Devouring Darkness; most notably during the title track.

Moreover, it seems that Archgoat learned from all of the mistakes that they made on their previous effort. The band still keep their signature raw production quality, but the mixing is incomparably better, with the only gripe being that Ritual Butcherer's bass gets stomped all over. Lord Angelslayer's vocals have taken a turn for the more bestial here, and now it really sounds like a demon is present at all times rather than leaving it as a tacked on gimmick for certain tracks here and there.


The Light-Devouring Darkness is also noticeably shorter, with no track lasting longer than four minutes. Song length really hurt the band's previous full-length release, as many of the tracks dragged on for way too long with excruciatingly repetitive riffs. This time around, there's a good mix of slower tunes ("Goat and the Moon", "Worms Born of Martyrdom") and chaos-inducing tirades ("Sodomator of the Doomed Venus", "The Light-Devouring Darkness"), while Archgoat still keep their patented formula that mixes the two within other songs ("Tribulation of the King of Worms", "Blessed in Beast's Blood").

With all that said, the band still manage to hang on to the exact same riff that they used in Angelcunt (Tales of Devastation). The one that starts off high on the fretboard, and then goes to the middle for a couple of strums, and then proceeds down the neck before repeating. This one riff seems to be a staple in the Archgoat diet, it's present in numerous tracks. To more easily identify it, it's the core of the song "Fornicated Messiah". It's not a terrible riff by any means, but it's so overdone at this point in the band's career that it's almost becoming a joke.

At the end of the day, The Light-Devouring Darkness is still an incredible addition to Archgoat's arsenal. The songwriting patterns that they keep are uniquely their own, and it ensures that the band is easily identifiable within anyone's playlist. Lord Angelslayer's vocals have become much deeper and ghastly since Archgoat's inception in 1989, and when combined with the raw production, slightly cavernous echo, and eerie synthesizers, it makes for one hell of a demonic soundscape to be reckoned with.

Review: Archgoat - Whore of Bethlehem

Remaining a three-piece since their inception in 1989, Archgoat disappeared into oblivion in 1993; the same year that they unleashed their debut EP, Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration), into the world. However, the two founding brothers, bassist/vocalist Lord Angelslayer and guitarist Ritual Butcherer, resurrected the band in 2004 with a new drummer known as Sinisterror. Whore of Bethlehem is the band's first full-length title, with all previous entries in their discography being either demos, EPs, or splits.

Genre: Death/Black Metal
Label: Hammer of Hate Records
Release Date: September 9th, 2006
  1. Invocation
  2. Angel of Sodomy
  3. Lord of the Void
  4. Dawn of the Black Light
  5. Luciferian Darkness
  6. Desecration
  7. Black Crusade
  8. Whore of Bethlehem
  9. Grand Marshall of the Black Tower
  10. Hammer of Satan
Total Playtime: 35 minutes, 36 seconds




Rating: 6.0/10




Remaining a three-piece since their inception in 1989, Archgoat disappeared into oblivion in 1993; the same year that they unleashed their debut EP, Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration), into the world. However, the two founding brothers, bassist/vocalist Lord Angelslayer and guitarist Ritual Butcherer, resurrected the band in 2004 with a new drummer known as Sinisterror. Whore of Bethlehem is the band's first full-length title, with all previous entries in their discography being either demos, EPs, or splits.

Whore of Bethlehem follows the same formula that makes Archgoat a band that stands out among their satanic black metal peers; frenzied yet somewhat melodic sections of guitar and drum work that works in tandem with a driven bassline, and then followed up by slow, haunting verses. The problem is that there are very few chords used over a very small set of patterns, and Archgoat never deviates from said song formula. Every single track is virtually the same, save some ambiance-enhancing synthesizer work such as tolling bells and choirs.

This freshman full-length offering displays a lot of promise during its first half, but by track six, "Desecration", it's easy to tell that Archgoat ran out of creative ideas along the way. Perhaps they were rusty from a hiatus that was over a decade long. Many of the riffs from this point onward seem outright repetitive, with the same patterns placed on slightly different areas of the fretboard. There's little exception to the rule here, such as the almost doom-like interlude in "Black Crusade". At the end of it all, not many tracks stand out from the crowd; "Luciferian Darkness", "Dawn of the Black Light", and "Lord of the Void" all have their place at the top, however.


Sinisterror is the only member that shows any sort of promise on Whore of Bethlehem. His skin thrashing owns a lot of variety, especially in comparison to the band's earlier releases with Blood Desecrator, and there's very little straight out blastbeat filler. Unfortunately, the poor mixing, especially when combined with the raw production, eats up a large majority of his work; it leaves the guitar to drive over everything in its way like a tank gone AWOL. One wouldn't even know that the bass was there if it wasn't for the constant thumping in the background.

At the end of the day, Whore of Bethlehem is one of the weaker releases in Archgoat's history. It's plagued with not only audio problems, but also by a lack of variety. The latter wouldn't be so bad if the band put in at least one song that didn't have constant fast and slow switching, or if the guitarist used more than four chords. The vocals also aren't that impressive, especially when Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration) had some demonic inputs. Whore of Bethlehem isn't a bad listen, but it's not necessarily a good one, either.

Review: Archgoat - Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration)

Fans of raw black metal can hardly deny the devastating force of the Christ-desecrating underground that is Archgoat. Formed in 1989, this three-piece from Finland have found a wealth of satanic success among their three full-length releases, four EPs, and a handful of demos and splits. Though their material isn't for everyone; prepare your ears for extremely raw production values throughout their catalog, and most definitely within Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration), their first EP.

Genre: Death/Black Metal
Label: Necropolis Records
Release Date: 1993
  1. Intro (Invocation)
  2. Rise of the Black Moon
  3. Death and Necromancy
  4. Soulflay
  5. Black Messiah
  6. Jesus Spawn
  7. Outro (The Prophecy)
Total Playtime: 13 minutes, 33 seconds




Rating: 9.5/10




Fans of raw black metal can hardly deny the devastating force of the Christ-desecrating underground that is Archgoat. Formed in 1989, this three-piece from Finland have found a wealth of satanic success among their three full-length releases, four EPs, and a handful of demos and splits. Though their material isn't for everyone; prepare your ears for extremely raw production values throughout their catalog, and most definitely within Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration), their first EP.

The material kicks off with your standard organ-driven, backmasked lyrical track that so many satanic black metal artists like to front their albums with. However, after about a minute the listener is thrown full swing into an array of fast riffs that are backed by powerful blastbeats and barking vocals. "Rise of the Black Moon", "Death and Necromancy", and "Soulflay" are three tracks that are not to be underestimated by any account, as they are the absolute meat and potatoes of Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration).


One of the core aspects of Archgoat as a band is their ability to maintain a groovy hook in the midst of their fast-paced frenzies of blast beats and carnivorous, visceral riffs. This shines through even on their first EP, and it's exceedingly prevalent in the aforementioned songs. Much like where every piece of visual art has shadows to accompany the highlights, every track on this release has a slow section to offset the hellstorms that the guitar and drums create; all the while, the monstrous bass looms and pummels the background like a demonic stampede. Even with the compressed, raw production value, the instruments still manage to find their own homes; rather than becoming too intertwined and indiscernible.

While everyone else in the satanic black metal underground in 1993 were more concerned with thrashing their guitars and drumkits as fast and frantically as possible, Archgoat set themselves apart by creating riffs and verses with substance. Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration) is still an extremely beefy release in all aspects, and its inclusion of slower segments, sinister whispers, captivating organ sections, and demonic voices make it all the more interesting and worth listening to even 25 years later.

Archgoat

Genre: Death/Black Metal
Country: Finland
Locale: Turku
Formed: 1989
Label: Debemur Morti Productions











Reviews:

Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration) (1993)
Whore of Bethlehem (2006)
The Light-Devouring Darkness (2009)
Heavenly Vulva (Christ's Last Rites) (2011)