A brilliant display of everything that is Goatwhore

Rolling in with military-style drumming before the sounds of ‘Forsaken’ step out of the shadows and expose the band’s darkness, the analogue recording used on their previous album ‘Constricting Rage of the Merciless is immediately audible here bringing a rich warmth to the sound. This song is mired in traditional Louisiana sludge.

Moving into ‘Under the Flesh, Into The Soul’ the music clicks into second gear, taking it back into more blackened territory than the opener with a solo by Sammy Duet that is made for air guitar gymnastics.

As the album goes on, its story becomes more apparent. In a nutshell, it is the tale of the fall and rise of Lucifer, a positive spin on a normally negative icon, and themes of how people at their lowest can have a ‘Vengeful Ascension’ – a pretty weighty topic.

Vengeful Ascension blasts, screeches, and growls as its true black metal heart come more to the fore. This is the darkest album Goatwhore have done, and they have had a crack at some pretty dark music. Its biggest asset is that it was recorded with their live sound engineer Jarrett Pritchard, breaking with their usual producer Erik Rutan, so capturing their live aggression.

This is best heard in the middle of the album with ‘Chaos Arcane’ and its up keep of break neck pace and blasts beats throughout. Gliding gently into ‘Where The Sun IS Silent’ as the perfect come down antidote to the preceding track, sounding very Abbath-like in its creepy vibe and croaked vocal delivery.

From there the album blasts through a few more black-hearted thrash tracks before its biggest highlight, final cut ‘Those Who Denied God’s Will’. Here Goatwhore’s black heart beats with the most content. A cold and melancholy intro gives way to a perfect mix of tremolo picking and blast beats so good you can almost feel the cold Norway chill in every note and vocal line.

Vengeful Ascension is the best this band has done, and will come as no surprise to fans of the band. It will stun others with its excellent mix of everything, black metal, thrash, southern sludgey doom; it’s all here, a brilliant display of everything that is Goatwhore.