Goatwhore – Angels Hung From the Arches of Heaven (Album Review)

Goatwhore – Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven
Released: October 7, 2022

Line Up:

Louis Benjamin Falgoust II // Vocals
Sammy Pierre Duet // Guitars/Vocals
Zack Simmons // Drums
Robert “TA” Coleman // Bass

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With their home state’s rich history in voodoo and witchcraft, it’s no surprise that the blackened attack of Louisana’s Goatwhore sounds no less authentic than it would coming out of Norway. What separates Goatwhore from their Norwegian brethren is the melding of black metal with other extreme metal genres; creating a primal coming-together of black, death, thrash and sludge metal. Initially, a NOLA supergroup formed by members from Acid Bath, Soilent Green and Crowbar, Goatwhore have been churning away in the darkest corners of the extreme metal underground for over 20 years. Album number eight Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven promises to deliver another sacrilegious slab of raw, old-school evil extreme metal.

After the horror-movie-esque intro ‘Invocation 3’, the frenzied ‘Born of Satan’s Flesh’ blows the doors right off. Blast beats and trem-picked guitars are the name of the game here, with frontman Louis Benjamin Falgoust II’s throaty scream leading the sermon. It’s the type of adrenaline-charged opener that Goatwhore have down to a tee. The following song ‘The Bestowal of Abomination’ is just as powerful, with some nice dynamic touches bolstering the mid-paced tune, while the title track is another epic cut with some restrained, moodier aspects – including the addition of piano at the end.

Having Kurt Ballou in the producer’s chair is a masterstroke. Ballou is, without doubt, one of the finest creative minds in the heavy music production game, and his outside influence helps with more than just the sonics but also structures and other creative ideas. Another bolstered addition is guitarist Sammy Pierre Duet lending more of his feral-sounding vocals to the mix, with bridge sections being his main domain.

The cross-over-thrash-like ‘Death From Above’ is a rager; bringing in an almost rock n roll element – it’s an obvious second single, being a raucous, direct track. The centre of the album, whilst still carrying all of Goatwhore’s trademarks and generally enjoyable, sags a little. ‘Ruinous Liturgy’ and ‘Voracious Blood Fixation’ are certainly better than ‘just okay’ – just a tad forgettable. Fortunately business picks back up again with the LP’s closing trio. ‘Weight of a Soulless Heart’ with its incessant string-ringing guitar riff and foreboding vibe makes for a high point, while following number ‘Nihil’ is one of the best all-out thrashers on the record.

The enormous closer ‘And I Was Delivered From The Wound Of Perdition’ is almost as monumental as the title given to it. The stomping main section explodes after a lengthy, moody intro with acoustics, while the over-six minute song also introduces keyboards for the first time. With screaming, emotive lead guitars and a thunderous climax, it’s one of the best things that Goatwhore have composed to date.

Goatwhore have become one of the most consistent bands in metal, and it’s good to see artists with over two decades of history still bearing the passion to expand their sound. But make no bones about it; this is undeniably a Goatwhore release – an unpolished, unpretentious collection of old-school leaning, extreme metal. A couple of dips in its centre keep Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven from being the year’s standout black metal record, but it’s still a fierce, exciting album from one of the metal underworld’s finest.

Goatwhore – Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven tracklisting:

  1. Invocation 3
  2. Born of Satan’s Flesh
  3. The Bestowal of Abomination
  4. Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven
  5. Death from Above
  6. Ruinous Liturgy
  7. Victory is the Lightning of Destruction
  8. Voracious Blood Fixation
  9. The Devil’s Warlords
  10. Weight of a Soulless Heart
  11. Nihil
  12. And I Was Delivered from the Wound of Perdition

Rating: 8/10
Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven is out October 7th on Metal Blade. Pre-Order here
Review By – Andrew Kapper. Twitter: @andrew_kapper 

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