Monday, January 12, 2015
Archgoat:"the Apocalyptic Triumphator"
Proving the point on I made on the Goat Semen review about the dominance of European black metal is Archgoat. This Finnish band has been spreading the unholy word since the church burning second wave of black metal in the early nineties. They have left a trail of splits and eps in their wake but this is only the band's third full length...so it's kind of a big deal. Archgoat combines the more classic metal sounds of early black metal with elements of a more grime coated flavor of death metal than some one like Mortuary Drape does, even though the two bands circle a similar sonic scope.
The album opens strong the band never numbs you out with blast beats. One element that really sets them apart is the vocals. These growls are below guttural. They are the main death metal element. A hellish sewer is funneled through Angel Slayer. Its maybe even a half step below Cannibal Corpse. This style of vocalization comes across best on "Luciferian Theopany". The spoken call to worship is even chanted down in the this register. The rasp rises from a gurgle a little into a more understandable rasp toward the end of the song.
These guys are economic in the song writing. Keeping their grim hymns round the six minute mark This is a welcome relief from the bulk of black metal bands that feel the need to have two sprawling 13 minute tracks make up the entire album. This fact is high lighted with under three minute blast fest "Congregation of the Circumcised" and the rather straight forward "Those Below (who dwell in Hell)" even then they swing of into a more interesting course around the three and a half minute mark. The use of keyboards is sparse but dynamically effective. They haunt the edges of the songs right when needed to break things up. The band even uses a a coupe intro pieces for some ritualistic ambiance , but this is not over done either.
The album is really well produced. There is often a raw feeling to the intensity these guys attack their instruments with, but is very crisp and clear. I think purists who prefer the "necro" lo-fi sound will be willing to meet in the middle on this one since the band is so heavy and deadly serious in their delivery. The guitar tone is has an awesome crunch on the classic metal chug that opens "Sado Majical Portal". The drummer's subtle accents amid the bombastic beating his kit receives helps to inject smarts into songs that your average black metal drummer would have blast beaten past.
The closing songs "Profanator of the 1st Commandment " and "Funereal Pyre of Trinity" find more the roars lowering into an even more guttural of a gurgle, with the latter song being the more dynamic of the two. This raises the bar for black metal bands in 2015. It is possible to be insanely heavy with out forsaking songwriting. This album gets a 10 as it has both the brutality and attention to detail I want from my metal black or otherwise.