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Goatwhore ConstrictingRage

Constricting Rage Of The Merciless

8th July 2014 - Metal Blade Records

01. Poisonous Existence in Reawakening
02. Unraveling Paradise
03. Baring Teeth for Revolt
04. Reanimated Sacrifice
05. Heaven’s Crumbling Walls of Pity
06. Cold Earth Consumed in Dying Flesh
07. FBS 03:42 Show lyrics
08. Nocturnal Conjuration of the Accursed
09. Schadenfreude
10. Externalize This Hidden Savagery

Goatwhore hail from the ruinous swamps of New Orleans, Louisiana, which are also home to some of the most suffocating sludge metal in the world. They have had some fairly high profile touring spots, most recently opening for Behemoth on a North American tour. They have wielded their combination of black, death, and thrash metal, tinged with slight amounts of sludge and blues rock, for six albums now, with Constricting Rage of the Merciless being the sixth and most recent, released through Metal Blade Records today.

Listening to this album, it becomes rather apparent that Goatwhore are not a very inventive band. The first four songs blend entirely together, and the fifth is not that much different. It takes until track number six, “Cold Earth Consumed By Dying Flesh”, for the band to do something that is in a different tempo and uses a different style of riff. Even then, they couldn’t stay away from the rather formulaic “chug fast on a low note and maybe throw another power chord in there” strategy that they used on every other song on this album, and other albums besides. Every other song sounds exactly like every other; mid-tempo blackened thrash metal which seems to take influence from Venom and maybe a bit of old-school Entombed. It’s occasionally punctuated by a more bluesy sludge rock riff, but every time it invariably reverts to the same thing.

The only song on here that has any real merit are the first three minutes of the aforementioned “Cold Earth Consumed By Dying Flesh”, which contain a slow, pounding, doomy riff with blast furnace-like vocals – but again, even that song cannot maintain the more interesting and palatable sound. “Schadenfreude” starts off slightly promising as well, with a riff that is almost reminiscent of some Darkthrone, but does not deliver on that initial tease.

On the production side of things, it’s pretty generic sounding. It’s compressed to give it volume, the drums sound quite flat and sterile, and the vocals – the main focus – are really dry, except in one or two cases where a panned delay is used. The guitar’s distorted tone is not bad, but it doesn’t exactly leap out of the mix either. This is a fairly mainstream metal mix; a formula that has been used by engineers many times in recent years.

Constricting Rage of the Merciless is just not very interesting. Almost every song falls within the same parameters of length, tempo, and composition, and the production does nothing to help make the album livelier. Some of the more rocking riffs could possibly be interesting if they weren’t murdered by lifeless glossy production. The one song that does not fall in line with the rest is actually decently enjoyable until about two thirds of the way through, so it’s a shame.

Goatwhore’s black thrash and roll style is tired, worn out, and utterly unimaginative by this point. Hardcore fans of the band will probably enjoy this, because they’re already lost to the world, but everyone else would be wise to stay away.

Best song: “Cold Earth Consumed By Dying Flesh


Kevin writer banner Jan 2014