Goatwhore – Vengeful Ascension

It has been three years since GOATWHORE hit us with their last album Constricting Rage of the Merciless. Since then they have toured incessantly like the road dogs they’re known to be, and wowed audiences everywhere. If you’ve never caught them live, you’re definitely missing out, but that’s another story. Today marks the end of the wait for new music as the band releases Vengeful Ascension via Metal Blade Records. This is an outing that finds them getting out of their comfort zone, taking risks, and trying some new things. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t, but overall everything still retains that signature gritty GOATWHORE sound.

Of note is the change in who resides in the producer’s chair this time around as well. After four brilliant albums with Erik Rutan behind the board, the group opted to go with their longtime soundman Jarrett Pritchard (1349, GRUESOME) to handle production duties. Hey, when you’re trying to capture the essence of who you are live, what better way than the guy who knows you inside and out show-wise, right? As far as the songs go “Forsaken” is more of a slow cooker than an all-out speed demon to kick things off. Don’t worry though, that is handled nicely by “Under the Flesh, Into the Soul” which is more my style of GOATWHORE. “Chaos Arcane” also fits this mold, and the whole band is on fire, especially drummer Zack Simmons, making this one a favorite, no question.

Title track “Vengeful Ascension” is interesting because when it was released as the first single I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it but after a few listens (and especially after hearing it live last month!) it grew on me like Athlete’s Foot or an STD. But the undisputed champion of this record is without a doubt “Mankind Will Have No Mercy.” Sammy Duet outdoes himself in the riff department, and singer Ben Falgoust sounds like a man possessed by a thousand demons. This coupled with the thundering bass of James Harvey and Simmons’ precision drum attack make this now one of the best songs in the band’s ever-growing arsenal and I sure as fuck hope they play it here in Philly on September 1.

“Abandon Indoctrination” has such a Black Metal sound in places that for a moment I thought I was somewhere out in the forests of Norway, which was a nice touch. “Drowned in Grim Rebirth” is another fast number that repeatedly kicks you in the nether regions, Falgoust utilizing his deep growls for part of it to great effect. There is a tremendous 70’s-era BLACK SABBATH feel to the arrangement on “Decayed Omen Reborn” which enhances the flavor for sure. And closing us out is “Those Who Denied God’s Will,” another track I enjoyed immensely. All told Vengeful Ascension is a good, solid GOATWHORE record. And while not a home run like the last two, I found most of it to my liking, with only one or two I really didn’t care for. Again, it’s out now, so go get it and see what you think!

STANDOUT TRACKS: “Mankind Will Have No Mercy”, “Those Who Denied God’s Will”, “Under the Flesh, Into the Soul”, “Chaos Arcane”, “Decayed Omen Reborn”

RATING: 8.5/10

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