Monday, August 20, 2018

Review: Goatwhore - Vengeful Ascension

Louisiana's own black/death/thrash metal ensemble, Goatwhore, have found themselves at the center of success time and time again over the years. After forming in 1997, the band has conjured forth seven full-length studio releases; the latest being Vengeful Ascension. Up until this point, each album has been met with a powerful amount of praise, with their last two release, Constricting Rage of the Merciless and Blood for the Master, being considered fan favorites. However, this seventh installment sees the group going in a direction that vocalist Ben Falgoust sums up as "stepping outside of the band's comfort zone".

Genre: Black/Death/Thrash Metal
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: June 23, 2017
  1. Forsaken
  2. Under the Flesh, Into the Soul
  3. Vengeful Ascension
  4. Chaos Arcane
  5. Where the Sun Is Silent
  6. Drowned in Grim Rebirth
  7. Abandoned Indoctrination
  8. Mankind Will Have No Mercy
  9. Decayed Omen Reborn
  10. Those Who Denied God's Will
Total Playtime: 41 minutes, 53 seconds






Rating: 6.5/10



Louisiana's own black/death/thrash metal ensemble, Goatwhore, have found themselves at the center of success time and time again over the years. After forming in 1997, the band has conjured forth seven full-length studio releases; the latest being Vengeful Ascension. Up until this point, each album has been met with a powerful amount of praise, with their last two release, Constricting Rage of the Merciless and Blood for the Master, being considered fan favorites. However, this seventh installment sees the group going in a direction that vocalist Ben Falgoust sums up as "stepping outside of the band's comfort zone".

Vengeful Ascension marks a new chapter within Goatwhore; rather than building off of their previous success, they've decided to take on a more raw, organic sound, at least according to Falgoust. In an attempt to capture their live essence, the group has strayed away from Erik Ruttan, the guy responsible for mixing and producing their last four records. Instead, they have enlisted the help of their live sound technician, Jarrett Prichard. It's both a bold move and an unfortunate one that doesn't exactly work in Goatwhore's favor.

When you hear someone talking about a "raw and organic" sound, visions of older black and death metal bands spring to mind. Anyone expecting some greasy black metal sound will be sorely disappointed. Honestly, Vengeful Ascension sounds just like any other modern studio release, just without any sort of layering and depth. The music does sound very organic in that regard, it's also hellishly fast and brutally heavy, but it also lacks the flavor of the band's previous efforts.


Falling short of the ambrosia mixture of blackened thrash, death n' roll, and blackened death metal that older albums offered up, this release turns up flat. Granted, "Under the Flesh, Into the Soul" releases a heavy dose of blackened thrash in the vain of Toxic Holocaust, presenting feverish guitar leads that become somewhat overpowered by mind-blowing drum patterns that make their rounds all over the kit. It's a very anthem-like track, one that drives the early portion of the content.

Alternatively, "Where the Sun Is Silent" stands out from the nine other surrounding tracks due to its slower nature and picked guitar rhythms. Of all the available hymns, this is the one that sounds the most underproduced and raw. It's definitely one of the more inspired pieces on the record, and it's also one of the few places where the guitar happens to stand out more than the drums. "Abandoned Indoctrination" follows suit in this regard, as it holds its own slow tempo in the midst of hectic, sweaty incantations.

In the end, Vengeful Ascension is a typical Goatwhore release, but without the large meshing of genres that their previous installments offered. As such, there are fewer memorable songs and much of the release comes off uninspired. That's not to say that the craftsmanship isn't good; all members excel in their respective roles. Perhaps it's because Constricting Rage of the Merciless is a hard act to follow up, but the songwriting on this record is in desperate need of CPR.

Digital Download Provided by: Metal Blade Records

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