Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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.

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