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jools green
4th July 2017
Jools Green


'Vengeful Ascension' is the seventh full length to be unleashed by the Louisiana blackened thrashers Goatwhore and the third to come under my reviewer's scrutiny; needless to say I have a lot of time for these guys.

It's difficult NOT to LOVE this album. It wins you over in the first few moments; the opening pounding drum work that builds and grows immediately gets your excitement and anticipation levels up and continues throughout with precision and crispness and once the crushing, groovy, fuzzy riffs kick in, the combination sets a superbly sinister tone for the album and that's it, Goatwhore now own your soul.

It sounds like a cliché to say this is their best to date but it really is, but not by much as both 'Blood For The Master' and 'Constricting Rage Of The Merciless', their two previously reviewed albums by me made for pretty impressive listens. Soundwise it's a little tighter and more crushing and more varied in approach this time. The vocals still have a great range and possibly have more clarity and intonation and they certainly, as always, do the necessary job of delivering the lyrics well, which take on the usual anti-religion stance and here on 'Vengeful Ascension' there is a literary leaning and some aspects suggest being inspired by Milton's 'Paradise Lost', where Lucifer's attempted return to heaven is thwarted by adversity.

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'Vengeful Ascension' hints at the human attempts to live life, only to be beaten by struggles, however the track 'Chaos Arcane' draws its inspiration from Lovecraft's character Nyarlathotep, altogether adding an interesting philosophical and mystical slant to the album, both thought provoking and crushing at the same time and such is the ambiguity of lyrics, many conclusions can be drawn.

It's the instrumentation that is the shining factor on this album, coming not just from that extra tightness to the sound but from the broader range of additional elements than previous releases, venturing beyond just blackened thrash. The core Goatwhore sound is still there in abundance but it's definitely enhanced.

'Mankind Will Have No Mercy' is typically Goatwhore in sound whereas 'Decayed Omen Reborn' has a decidedly death/stoner groove going on and final track, 'Those Who Denied God's Will', is just Black Metal to the core.


There seems to be a greater abundance of shreds and chunks of lead work across this release compared to previous albums. 'Under The Flesh, Into The Soul' and 'Vengeful Ascension' have superb lead work that really shines through and 'Chaos Arcane' has a seriously good first half shred.

Maybe it's because they are just so much better on this release I'm picking up on them more? I have gone back over their past works to try to establish which but whatever the reason it's all positive. Across the tracks there is also a greater rise and fall in its intensity and tempo rather than the predominantly full throttle onslaught of previous albums, making it even more of an engaging listen.

Under The Flesh, Into The Soul
Vengeful Ascension
Chaos Arcane
Where The Sun Is Silent
Drowned In Grim Rebirth
Abandon Indoctrination
Mankind Will Have No Mercy
Decayed Omen Reborn
Those Who Denied God's Will

Again, like 'Constricting Rage Of The Merciless', 'Vengeful Ascension' was also tracked to two-inch tape, to continue that organic performance quality to the studio sound rather than a digitally tooled result but the big change is Jarrett Pritchard, their live sound man (1349, Gruesome), who has been brought in to handle the production superseding Erik Rutan, with mixing by Chris Common (Tribulation, Pelican) and mastering by Maor Applebaum (Faith No More, Halford, Today Is The Day).

The final take on the album comes from frontman Ben Falgoust who comments:

"Each song is a representation of Goatwhore, from day one until now; it really shows our evolution as a band. I don't think that this band has reached its peak yet. I mean, I think we're closer now than ever but we're still growing; we're still evolving."

'Vengeful Ascension' is available from Metal Blade Records in CD, 12" vinyl or digital formats and highly recommended.




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