I'm sure I wasn't in the minority in wondering how in the hell GOATWHORE were going to top 2009 masterpiece "Carving out the Eyes of God", an album on which the band pulled off the complicated task of making their nefarious, Frost Hammering black/death hymns more succinct and memorable. And they did so naturally; it never sounded like a concerted attempt at "accessibility," only a more compact and immediately impacting method of songwriting. The fifth album has arrived and so has the moment of truth. Ladies and gentlemen, "Blood for the Master" does not top "Carving out the Eyes of God", but it sure as hell reinforces GOATWHORE's reputation has one of the most consistent black/death metal acts on your god's green earth, not to mention one of the most feral ones.
"Blood for the Master" may actually be a more succinct example of the GOATWHORE sound than was the case on "Carving out the Eyes of God", although not in any outlandish or alienating kind of way. Rather, the 10 tracks on offer hit like 10 separate missile strikes on a fortified Al Qaeda compound in a mountainous region of Afghanistan. The aim has to be precise enough to arrive no more than a few feet away from the intended target, yet must be devastating enough to penetrate layers of rock and at the very least knock all the pots and pans off the cave walls of the makeshift kitchen.
The one constant, no matter the album, is the mix of Sammy Duet's biting, BM- informed riffs and the well-executed, hair-raising vocals of Ben Falgoust, which move from an ever deepening low-register (more like a roar from the abyss) to a call-of-the-believers' rasp that'll give you chills. We mustn't forget the iniquitous whisper either, as heard on "Judgment of the Bleeding Crown". Falgoust also adds more quality material to his already impressive body of lyrical work, the line "forgiveness is a failure of your faith" from "In Deathless Tradition" the line resonating with me at the moment. Duet's riff on opening track "Collapse in Eternal Worth" is also the album standout and happens to be the most purely black metal one in the most Norwegian, swarming-for-Satan sense. As was the case on its predecessor, "Blood for the Master" also has Duet dishing out some well thought out solos that are just as much, if not more so, about feel as technique. Just listen to the lead on "Parasitic Scriptures of the Sacred Word".
None of the above is to take anything away from the equally important drum/bass tandem of Zach Simmons and James Harvey who provide the punches from the fist of Lucifer integral to all those mammoth tempo shifts and sharp, neck-breaking turns. Even better is that those sections always come with yet another killer Duet riff and an uncontrollable urge to bang your fucking head whilst throwing the horns.
And really, all that banging and throwing is — at its most primitive level — what makes any GOATWHORE album so worthy of your time. Those moments are many on "Blood for the Master", though not as many as on "Carving out the Eyes of God". The numbers were however of a sufficient level to have me pre-ordering the CD, since GOATWHORE has more to give than what can be obtained from MP3 alone. So what are you waiting for?