Goatwhore has always been one of those bands that piqued my interest. I was first turned onto them when I found out that singer and guitarist Sammy Duet formed the band as a side-project from the mighty Acid Bath, one of my personal favorites. One of the most appealing aspects of the band, however, was their blackened death metal sound, which is a sub genre of metal that I hadn’t really heard much of at the time. It was a sound that I quickly fell in love with, and I was extremely excited when I got my hands on their newest effort, Carving Out The Eyes Of God.
A trend I have noticed with Goatwhore is that every album manages to be better than the last, and Carving Out The Eyes Of God is no exception to this. Right off the bat, “Apocalyptic Havoc” grabs you by the balls, and while I’m not the hugest fan of the lyrical content, it’s a great example of what to expect from the rest of the album. As awesome as the music is, lines like “who needs a God when you’ve got Satan” seem completely silly to me, and while I’m not offended, it does detract from the experience a bit. I mean, I’m hardly a religious man, but blatant Satan-worship such as this has got to be the wackiest shit ever. Lyrics aside, the opening track is strong as can be and is certainly commendable.
The stand-out track and best example of Goatwhore’s sound can be found in the title song. “Carving Out The Eyes Of God” has the nastiest black/death metal chorus riff of recent memory, and this is the reason why I continue to love these guys. It’s nice to hear blast beats done right from an American band, and while Goatwhore isn’t the only US act showing drumming prowess, Zack Simmons is nothing short of amazing. “Shadow Of A Rising Knife” and “In Legions, I Am Wars Of Wrath” are also excellent showcases for the talent behind the kit that Zack offers.
The best part for me overall has got to be the guitars, however. Sammy Duet can write some seriously-strong death metal riffs, and his sparsely-used solos are down-right delicious. While the title track possibly contains my favorite riffs of the whole album, Carving Out The Eyes Of God is a fun listen through-and-through due to the guitar sound. The climbing riffs of “This Passing Into The Power Of Demons” are varied and memorable, and the axemanship found in “Razor Flesh Devoured” is a solid lesson in ass-kickery. Oddly enough, one of my favorite songs is the slowest one on the record: “To Mourn And Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways” is one of the more harrowing musical experiences I’ve had in a long time outside of grindcore.
The vocals are very good, but when stacked up against the drums and guitar playing, they are definitely not the breadwinner on Carving Out The Eyes Of God. Ben Falgoust is a talented front man, and his singing is far from bad, but as I mentioned before, the lyrical content is just a tad too silly for me. I hate it when Christian bands get all preachy, and this transfers over to Satanic bands when they do the same. Sure, it’s edgy enough, especially when considering the social norm, but I’m personally not a huge fan. Still, the growls and shrieks found here are the tried-and-true sound of death metal, and Ben does them well enough to come off as nothing short of professional.
In the end, Carving Out The Eyes Of God is a solid metal release, and I’m willing to bet that it’ll find plenty of praise from the death metal world. With riff-age like this and solid drumming to boot, Goatwhore has fortified their position in modern metal. I’ll admit that it may do little to win over listeners outside of death metal, but I would recommend anyone and everyone give it a spin to see for themselves – except for the devout Christians, of course.
01. Apocalyptic Havoc
02. The All-Destroying
03. Carving Out The Eyes Of God
04. Shadow Of A Rising Knife
05. Provoking The Ritual Of Death
06. In Legions, I Am Wars Of Wrath
07. Reckoning Of The Soul Made Godless
08. This Passing Into The Power Of Demons
09. Razor Flesh Devoured
10. To Mourn And Forever Wander Through Forgotten Doorways