Gorania: GOATWHORE is Great (Hellbound’s letter of the day is “G”)

GOATWHORE (Friday, Aug. 7 at Lola’s in Fort Worth, Texas) – by Jay H. Gorania

Firstly, this isn’t a proper show review per se since I arrived at the venue quite late because my friend was busy painting her nails, meaning that I would miss both Abysmal Dawn and SWWAATS (Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky…or Success We Won’t Actually Attain…ah, I’m not clever enough to finish that off! My point is that their name is unnecessarily long and completely meaningless).

Secondly, I’m not sure that this qualifies as a review since it’s essentially the rambling of a gushing fan boy. But seriously, sometimes metal critics need to be honest with the public, never mind themselves, about their fandom and passion for the genre and specific bands. There are times for being objective, detached or almost academically analytical, there are times when it’s more appropriate to drop the notepads and start headbanging.

Well, Goatwhore is one of those bands that lights a fire under my ass. Though generally regarded as a black metal band, they’re actually so much more. There’s a rugged punk attitude, the dirge ’n sludge inherent to Louisiana metal bands is certainly present—offering some definite doom sensibilities—and never before has their thrash influence emerged as prominently as it has now with the release of Carving Out The Eyes of God, easily their career’s highlight thus far.

Drummer Zack Simmons drives the march with a steady beat that appropriately speeds up and slows down in a calculated manner much like a wolf would in seeking its prey. In Fort Worth, the rhythm section was rounded out by one fill-in bassist (SWWAATS’ touring guitarist Sally, also a member of Gigan) and then another (Abigail Williams’ drummer Sam Paulicelli), both sufficiently filling the void left by departed bassist Nathan Bergeron, who exited the band midway tour (Simmons says a permanent replacement has already been selected).

Keeping in mind their revolving door of fill-in bassists in Fort Worth (and at other shows on this tour), the fact that they still completely kick ass speaks volumes to Goatwhore’s worth. Throwing jagged shards sometimes known as riffs into the equation is guitarist Sammy Duet, reminding me of Napalm Death’s Mitch Harris in that both men seem to have been born to be riff-making machines, pumping out high-quality riffs one after another after another with extremely unique, individualized styles.

Rounding out the band is of course vocalist Ben Falgoust, one of the best live and recorded singers in metal history. In Fort Worth, he was repeatedly pumping his fist with reckless abandon, using his hands to manipulate the crowd as though it was a marionette, prompting audience members to mimic him so that they resembled a crazed NWOBHM audience with every ounce of fist-pumping glory in check.

For some reason, this was one of the tour’s shows in which Goatwhore didn’t headline. Instead, they traded spots with the over-hyped symphonic black metal band (that was once borderline metalcore?) Abigail Williams, who performed tightly enough but without soul and without songs. Quite boring, actually.

Never mind mediocrity, the evening was all about Goatwhore, a truly special and unique band. Don’t let them pass you by.