Usually, I’m able to keep up to date with a lot of bands that are releasing new records. With Goatwhore, however, I usually forget about when they’re in the midst of creating some new material. But, from all the times they’ve pulled out a fresh LP straight from the oven, they manage to impress me. Now, seven albums in with Vengeful Ascension, the Louisianan-based blackened death quartet are back to scratch off more flesh with some of their most ferocious work to date.
Normally, Goatwhore would cut to the chase and have the first track start blasting away like a minigun. However, Forsaken starts off with some percussion fading into the beginning, only to then have Goatwhore perform a slightly slower piece than what they would usually deliver as the introduction to an album of theirs. Afterward, things will start to speed up when Under the Flesh, Into the Soul comes in at around 160bpm with some really thrashy undertones flowing through the process. While other tracks such as Chaos Arcane, Drowned in Grim Rebirth, Mankind Will Have No Mercy and Those Who Denied God’s Will go back to Goatwhore’s signature speed, we also hear the group go into slower pieces on Vengeful Ascension with Where the Sun is Silent and the title track, which both feel much more sinister and murkier in presence, entirely.
While many label Goatwhore as a blackened death band, they also seem to have given the record a thrashier vibe, musically, with vocalist Ben Falgoust giving a bit more of a black metal touch to his abrasive voice, along with some darker death metal growls. I wouldn’t say it’s a black metal record, but it’s a different one as opposed to their previous LPs. Though it’s easy for me to say that Goatwhore has a sound of their own, it seems that they’ve diced it up a bit and have paced this album in a more unique way. Especially now, seeing Vengeful Ascension as the band’s experimental side, along with slowing their usual tempo down, it’s definitely shown that they’re keeping their ideas and progression fresher and stimulating.
I also can’t help but commend Goatwhore for the strength of their musicianship and teamwork, putting together this great LP. For the most of Vengeful Ascension and a lot of their other releases, I’ve been particularly fond of Zack Simmons’ work on the drums, being able to go at supersonic speed and conduct his fellow stringsmen Sammy Duet and James Harvey. The mixing on this too has kept the aggressive and sharp tones of the guitar and bass in a good state, with nothing feel mixed out too much or too little.
I wouldn’t go so far to say it was better than Constricting Rage of the Merciless (2014), but it’s easily one hell of a record, and Goatwhore have managed to maintain their fluid and natural craftsmanship in such a good form, after all of these years. Especially seeing as I’ve enjoyed everything from Carving Out the Eyes of God (2009) onwards, I don’t think my fondness of Goatwhore will be dying out anytime soon!