Ben Falgoust and Sammy Duet; tell me that's not the metal duo in the game today. And with GOATWHORE's fourth album (and second for Metal Blade), "Carving out the Eyes of God", that pair, along with drummer Zack Simmons and bassist Nathan Bergeron, has created an album that will easily be one of 2009's purest metal albums, one that could very well end up considered the quartet's watershed release.
"Carving out the Eyes of God" is nefariously black and sadistically thrashing in a way that is uniquely GOATWHORE, perhaps more so than any previous album, which is saying a lot considering the greatness achieved right from the start. The CELTIC FROST riffs/tone continue to play a central role, as has always been the case and will continue to be so, as the Swiss band is largely responsible for spawning such a raging beast. But it is the manner in which those riffs are woven this time into a thrashier and more direct songwriting approach that makes the album so memorable. Opener "Apocalyptic Havoc" is a compact, thrashing fist to the face with an impact so violent you'll find bruises suddenly appearing on your person. Not only does it include the classic Falgoust line "Who needs a god when you've got Satan," but it is also one of several tracks that contain a new weapon in the GOATWHORE arsenal, a guitar solo! Every time Duet lets one rip the result is exhilarating.
The band's trademark grab-you-by-throat riff/rhythm moments are heard with even more intensity this time around. Just listen to the hard left turns on "The All-Destroying" and "Shadow of a Rising Knife", the latter featuring an introductory riff straight from the book of vintage MOTÖRHEAD. As for the riffs in general, every one that Duet unleashes is an unrepentant motherfucker! They just keep coming and coming for the entire 41 minutes.
And yet GOATWHORE has done more than offer up a smorgasbord of face-melting highlights (that's to be expected anyway). They've brought just enough in the way of songwriting dynamics to allow individual tracks to stand out more from the pack. The definitive case in point is the title track, which features something approaching a chorus to go with some fantastically creepy melodies and morbid guitar harmonies, all without losing an ounce of intensity. Album closer "To Mourn and Forever Wander through Forgotten Doorways" offers another twist with its eerie atmospherics that begin with a chilling bass line introduction and vocals from Falgoust that are spoken for the duration.
The fact that the same lineup has remained unchanged since 2006's "A Haunting Curse" has contributed to the tightness of the effort. It is also the band's second production with Erik Rutan at the helm. Those two elements have done wonders for the act's unbelievably aggressive attack and overall sound. Simmons' drumming alone must be heard to be believed; his blasts will cause irregular heartbeats, while his rhythmic shifts may very well knock the earth off its axis when the album is played at maximum volume.
That GOATWHORE has brought its "A" game is not surprising. That the band has done so while reaching new heights of sonic decimation is what's so damn impressive. "Carving out the Eyes of God" is pure fucking metal; as pure as it gets.