Sunday, August 19, 2018

Review: Archgoat - The Apocalyptic Triumphator

Finnish black metal trio Archgoat have had a long history in the metal underground. After forming in 1989, the band broke up in 1993 only to resurrect eleven years later in 2004. Their catalog is by and large made up of splits and EPs, with a couple of demos thrown in for good measure. The Apocalyptic Triumphator heralds the band's third full-length release, coming in nine years after their first, Whore of Bethlehem, and six years after their second, The Light-Devouring Darkness.

Genre: Death/Black Metal
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Release Date: January 27th, 2015
  1. Intro (Left Hand Path)
  2. Nuns, Cunts & Darkness
  3. The Apocalyptic Triumphator
  4. Phallic Desecrator of Sacred Gates
  5. Grand Luciferian Theophany
  6. Those Below (Who Dwell in Hell)
  7. Intro (Right Hand Path)
  8. Congregation of Circumcised
  9. Sado-Magical Portal
  10. Light of Phosphorus
  11. Profanator of the 1st Commandment
  12. Funeral Pyre of Trinity
Total Playtime: 41 minutes, 17 seconds


Rating: 9.0/10

Finnish black metal trio Archgoat have had a long history in the metal underground. After forming in 1989, the band broke up in 1993 only to resurrect eleven years later in 2004. Their catalog is by and large made up of splits and EPs, with a couple of demos thrown in for good measure. The Apocalyptic Triumphator heralds the band's third full-length release, coming in nine years after their first, Whore of Bethlehem, and six years after their second, The Light-Devouring Darkness.

To say that The Apocalyptic Triumphator is the most improved release in Archgoat's library would be an understatement. Audiences saw the band moving away from their overly raw and basic black metal sound with their second full-length offering, but this third installment takes it a step further. It's as though the band is gradually ushering their fans into their new era of sound, rather than make any abrupt changes to their formula.

Ritual Butcherer's guitar tone is much beefier on this release in comparison to everything that came before it. The chunky tone and equally as heavy riffs that he produces moves the content in a more death metal direction, while still allowing the album themes and lyrical content to remain devoted to the black metal spectrum. Lord Angelslayer's vocals also reach an all-time low here, with powerful gutturals and even some powerful spoken-word commandments. There's also a fairly noticeable reverb applied to the vocal tracks, which gives the album a cavernous effect.

Another huge change in the band's songwriting is the inclusion of even more synthesizer effects. Eerie choirs are the staple here, but there's also a lot of ambiance in the background. Much of it does get lost due to the chosen lack of production, but it makes songs such as "Grand Luciferian Theophany" all the more captivating. The trio would really benefit from adding a keyboardist into their ranks in the future. It should also be mentioned that this is the first release that sees Ritual Butcherer performing on both guitar and bass.


Archgoat has thrown out their signature slow riff that appeared on nearly every single release prior to The Apocalyptic Triumphator. In its place are copious amounts of groovy patterns that range from slow, doom inspired tempos to chaotic frenzies. This album also marks the reintroduction of small solos, a technique that hasn't been present in any Archgoat release since Angelcunt (Tales of Desecration); "Nuns, Cunts & Darkness", "The Apocalyptic Triumphator", "Grand Luciferian Theophany", and "Sado-Magical Portal" are all great tracks to hear these small, haunting excursions.

It's usually fairly easy to pick out a handful of songs that really help to carry an album to success, but with The Apocalyptic Triumphator, almost every song is worthy of being chosen. With that said, "Nuns, Cunts & Darkness", "Grand Luciferian Theophany", "Those Below (Who Dwell In Hell)", "Light of Phosphorus", and "Funeral Pyre of Trinity" are all excellent offerings, each with wildly different reasons as to why they stand among the other tracks. There's an amazing fusion of slow and fast tempos, and "Those Below (Who Dwell In Hell)" has a really unique full stop just over the halfway point which ushers in an entirely new set of patterns and speeds.

When it comes down to it, the only bummer about The Apocalyptic Triumphator is its production. There's nothing wrong with raw, bad production quality, so long as the content that lies within is fit for it. However, that's the problem here; Archgoat's craftsmanship of the death and black metal arts has started far exceeding the compression that low production values entail. The drums and bass become, for the most part, an entangled mess of deep thumps that carry the guitar and vocals to success. That also doesn't mean that the material has to be shiny, pristine, and overproduced, either. A good balance would've pushed this album even further.

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