Goatwhore - Carving Out the Eyes of God
Metal Blade
Sludgily Blackened Death
10 songs (40:32)
Release year: 2009
Goatwhore, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Charles
This is a new band for me, their first three albums having passed me by entirely. That’s surprising because the lineup should instantly turn the head of an extreme metal admirer such as myself. Looking at it, I was, rather simplistically, tempted to expect a grand amalgamation of its constituent parts. Proggy black metal (like Nachtmystium, pyrotechnic hardcore sludge (like Soilent Green), and waddling “workout music for people who want to get fat”, as Beavis and Butthead have described Crowbar. (The Crowbar representative is Sammy Duet, also of Acid Bath).

It’s not really like that, of course. It has a powerful and polished sound, that is perhaps disappointingly mainstream given the wonderfully black metal band name and album title. Can I be controversial? The biggest Crowbar influence lies in the fact that everything about it leads you to expect something overwhelming filthy and heavy, which ultimately never transpires when you listen to the music. I would describe it as a blackened thrash/death fusion, much heavier on the death, which is unsurprising given that it’s produced by Erik Rutan. Some of the time it’s a bit like a less melodic, sludged-up equivalent of the post-melodeath school of thrash. Like The Haunted if they wasted their time allotted for writing hummable lead melodies getting fat on Mississippi Mud Pie.

The riffs can be fantastic. Reckoning of the Soul Made Godless has a grooving “neo-thrash” feel that unfailingly induces head-nodding. So does opener, Apocalyptic Havoc, which manages to generate a fist-raising rock and roll rumble that never really resurfaces throughout the rest of the album. You can’t really find fault in the brutality of This Passing into the Power of Demons, enlivened as it is by fine plank-with-rusty-nail drumming. It’s fairly rare that we get a real taste of black metal itself here, but there is the exuberant blizzard riffing of Razor Flesh Devoured, along with some other moments.

But there’s part of the problem. Black metal is not just a way of playing your instrument. It is an attitude that celebrates musical viciousness and inscrutability. Too often, records like this, that attempt to bring some of its elements into a thick death metal or sludge base neuter it. That probably says something wider about Carving out the Eyes of God as a whole. Like the recent Birds of Prey record, another project with its roots in the US sludge scene which tried to branch further out into extreme metal, it pulls all the heavy, bruising moves, but lacks pure hatred in its soul. There’s nothing at all wrong with this, but my ear drums do not feel quite as violently molested and humiliated as perhaps they ought.

Killing Songs :
Apocalyptic Havoc, Razor Fless Devoured
Charles quoted 65 / 100
Goat quoted 72 / 100
Other albums by Goatwhore that we have reviewed:
Goatwhore - A Haunting Curse reviewed by Dylan and quoted 59 / 100
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