Blackened Death Metal is definitely one of my favourite genre’s of all time. Producing bands like Belphegor, Sinsaenum, Anaal Nathrakh and the almighty Behemoth, it’s definitely one of the only subgenre’s of metal that can truly exacerbate hatred towards Catholicism, and praise Satanism and Cultism in a unique and interesting manner, with some bands (like those previously listed) being able to convey that hatred and anger into artistry that will leave every metal fan in shock.
Listening to Archgoat for the first time while reviewing this album, it’s been made evident that they are one of the classic Blackened Death Metal bands, being formed in 1990 and having an onslaught of releases under their belt, with 5 studio albums, 4 EP’s and 5 splits since their inception. While their original releases would have been, at the time, interesting and a massive development for the underground Black/Death Metal scene, I just couldn’t get around to enjoying their work (which doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate their talent and acknowledge their hard work over the years). With their 6th studio album, The Luciferian Crown, they showed an interesting style that I’m not familiar with as of yet, and definitely a few heavy and relentless tracks.
Beginning The Luciferian Crown with “Star of Darkness”, the band unleash their bombardment of heaviness with violent and demonic guitar riffs and a storm of blast beats that show they’re a staple of the underground Blackened Death Metal scene. Replacing VnoM on the kit as of last year is the band’s new secret weapon, Goat Aggressor, who, especially in “Stars of Darkness”, effortlessly shows a meticulous variety of drumming, ranging from violent blast beats and fast paced action to a slower, more relaxed, yet grim approach than most drummers tend to portray.
Continuing the album after shooting through the third track of the album, the action packed “The Darkness Has Returned”, Archgoat take a doomy, depressing turn with “The Obsidian Flame”. Showcasing his songwriting talents and his ability to adapt from constant violent and aggressive music, guitarist Ritual Butcherer creates an ambience of gloom and melancholy with the use of key changes and ponderous tempo, using his knowledge to his advantage to create a music piece that stands out from the rest of the album in terms of atmosphere.
Following along with the Satanical theme of butchering and sacrificing animals, what could be Archgoat’s most confronting piece written so far (yes, more than “Nuns, Cunts and Darkness”) is the 8th track of the album, “A Messiah of Pigs”. Opening with a sound clip of (probably) a pig getting slaughtered, the song begins in typical black metal fashion with pulverizing blast beats and a chord being tremolo picked relentlessly. Vocalist, bassist and lyricist Lord Angelslayer uses his talents of lyricism well, providing the metaphor that we as a human race are pigs, and that the lord Jesus Christ is the “Messiah of Pigs”, praising those who drove the nails through the cross, as well as throwing in the subliminal message of renouncing Jesus Christ as your god and your saviour (as surprisingly pointed out during the chorus(!)).
Although the musicianship of members Lord Angelslayer, Ritual Butcherer and Goat Agressor is shown through their talented songwriting skills, the one big let down for me in this album, and through all of Archgoat’s extensive music, is the vocals provided by Lord Angelslayer. Although I understand that monotonal and almost effortless vocal delivery is a key staple in projecting death and misery within the Blackened Death Metal genre, I just couldn’t personally get around his style as I felt the effortless delivery really brought the album down as a whole to the point where I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.
Expectations for classic Blackened Death Metal legends Archgoat are high for their 4th full length album, The Luciferian Crown, but does it follow through and live up to its predecessors? Unfortunately not in my eyes, but to all the proper fans of the band, I can assure you that this is definitely going to be an enjoyable release for you!