Formed sixteen years ago in the swamplands of New Orleans, Louisiana, Goatwhore were spawned by former Acid Bath/Crowbar guitarist Sammy Duet but I didn't cross paths with their music until their 2009 release 'Carving Out The Eyes Of God' and was blown away by the tight, guitar led content and the intense and captivating blend of black and thrash.
'Constricting Rage Of The Merciless' is hot on the heels of 2012s superb offering 'Blood For The Master', described as a collection of diseased hymns and recorded once again at Mana Recording Studios in St Petersburg, Florida with Erik Rutan, who has been in charge of their production since 2006s 'A Haunting Curse'.
But the difference with this release is that it is the band's first studio effort to be tracked to two-inch tape, something that is beginning to regain popularity with a lot of bands looking for an organic performance quality to their work over a digitally tooled endeavour.
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As a result this ten-track, thirty seven minute offering strongly reflects the tone and energy of their live performance, an added bonus for anyone, like myself who appreciated the energy and vibrancy that emanates from their live shows.
This release encompasses a broad range of moods and emotions from sadness to anger and has more of an urgent, intense vibe than previous releases, if that is at all possible, with a dark edge, darker than 'Blood For The Master', endeavouring to portray the total evil of the soul.
As always, Duet and Falgoust's vocals work superbly together, a brutal sinister and rasping combination. Add to that the chunky riffs and the fast dense rhythms, the relentlessly pounding drum work and you have a winning combination.
The idea behind the title, 'Constricting Rage Of The Merciless', is that of someone being pushed so far into a corner that vengeance is born, as well as representing the failing mercy behind organized religion.
All ten tracks make a great listen, beginning with the intense battery that is 'Poisonous Existence In Reawakening' followed by 'Unravelling Paradise' with its dark atmosphere with black Metal melodies and brutally intense drum assault. 'Reanimated Sacrifice' has an intense hypnotic quality to the "in your face" nature of the riffs. 'Heaven's Crumbling Walls Of Pity' is slower in tempo to open building to a blackened intensity as it progresses.
On 'FBS' (Fucked By Satan) you get fast thrashy tempo with a punk edge and some great guitars in the latter part while 'Nocturnal Conjuration Of The Accursed' and 'Externalize This Hidden Savagery' both open on riffs that simply epitomise the Goatwhore sound.
The standout tracks for me are 'Baring Teeth For Revolt', with the opening line: "We are coming to smash your idols!" from Falgoust, a fast, thrashy, track with an excellent latter part solo and direction change, the longer and slower very deliberating 'Cold Earth Consumed In Dying Flesh' whose haunting opener expands into the a dark ominous offering with some superbly deep vocal growls, a hugely powerful track that ramps up several gears towards the latter part whilst maintaining that dark ominous quality and 'Schadenfreude' (the title literally meaning the pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others) has a superb blackened edge, a great guitar segment just before midway and sinister two tier vocals from Duet and Falgoust.
'Constricting Rage Of The Merciless' is another great release from Goatwhore and if you enjoyed their previous releases you should be equally as stoked with this. I am!