URGEHAL
"Goatcraft Torment"

(Southern Lord/Agonia)

01. Goatcraft Torment
02. Risus Sardonius
03. Antireligiøs
04. Dødsmarsj Til Helvete
05. Satanic Black Metal In Hell
06. Nefastus Nex Necis
07. Gathered Under The Horns
08. Selvmordssalme
09. Sentiment Of Chaos
10. Et Steg Nærmere Lucifer

RATING: 8/10

Looking for a quality, no-nonsense black metal album that rips and snorts from start to finish? How about URGEHAL's "Goatcraft Torment"? Having formed in 1992, the group understands a thing or to about what it means to be a true Norwegian black metal band. Riffs slice through the air like scythes, drums blast in swirls of psychotic rage, and sections of demonic speed bursts shift effortlessly into steaming hot grooves that immediately induce uncontrollable bouts of head banging. Yes sir, "Goatcraft Torment" is a delicious slice of black metal pie.

The album most appropriately begins with a defiant shout of, "this is Satanic black metal!" that introduces the title track. Rather than cheesy or cliché, it is in no uncertain terms a battle cry that sums up well the album's not-so-subtle glorification of the dark lord himself. Tossing out a few shouts of "Die for Satan" affirms it, as does the dedication of "Satanic Black Metal in Hell" to "hell and black metal." Like the majority of the album's tracks, the assault is up-tempo and vicious; slowing only for breaks into crushing mid-tempo grooves. The guitar solos found all over the album are lava hot and only add to the affair's overall intensity. Better yet is the sound mix, one that is primal and raw as hell, yet not in any way lo-fi. Instead, the mix is crisp and full. It is a good example of how to achieve a tight and ferocious mix that does not sacrifice clarity for a "kult" basement-recording sound, as appropriate as the latter may be for certain albums.

Put simply, "Goatcraft Torment" is black metal the way it should be played: violently and without compromise. That the songwriting offers just enough opportunity for the listener to remember specific songs and shout along to a host of iniquitous lines makes it that much better. There is not a weak spot to be found anywhere. You will be enraptured from track one through track 10. This one will in fact melt your face.

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