New Orleans based Goatwhore formed 16 years ago from members of bands such as Acid Bath, Crowbar and Soilent Green. Their brand of metal combined elements of black, death and thrash metal, and once again on their sixth full length album ‘Constricting Rage of the Merciless’, they have once again produced an intense, punishing record that aims straight for the jugular and doesn’t let go.
From the moment that opener ‘Poisonous Existence in Reawakening’ explodes into being, the listener is hit with a huge thrash riff that edges towards black metal to create an unnerving sound that is just about constant throughout the record. The relentless pace carries on, with the addition of some deeper vocals on ‘Unravelling Paradise’ before a big change of direction. ‘Baring Teeth For Revolt’ comes across as almost a KISS tune, with its base firmly set in old school hard rock and heavy metal. An interesting twist but after this, the album returns to its brutal ways.
The uncompromising sound of the earlier tracks is then revisited, with ‘Reanimated Sacrifice’ and ‘Heavens Crumbling’ heading back to the black metal sound. The latter indeed has a heavy Immortal influence to it. The album again throws another twist as ‘Cold Earth Consumed’ comes in. The clean intro is probably the only break from the filthy noise that has been set loose previously, but that gives way to a huge riff that sends the track into death / doom territory. As before, it isn’t long before the track descends into chaos for the last ninety or so seconds. This is probably the highlight of the album for me, a few different styles and effortlessly brought together for a really impressive track. The album then heads back to a more thrash sound for the remainder of the running time, apart from a mid paced ‘Nocturnal Conjugation of the Accursed’ which shows again that they aren’t afraid to mix things up a little. It could seem out of place but works really well.
Despite a busy Louisiana scene, Goatwhore have consistently delivered and managed to stay near the top of the pile. They have thrown in a few different ideas without compromising their sound and musically are as tight as ever, with each of the songs being a decent proposition live. Ben Falgoust’s and Sammy Duet’s vocals combine well and each tune Is packed with memorable riffs with a big rhythm section pushing them along. It’s the type of album that should please old fans and make plenty of new ones. Very impressive.