Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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.

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