Goatwhore

Carving Out the Eyes of God

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New Orleans' Goatwhore has taken their meld of blackened death metal to new and nastier places on Carving out the Eyes of God, their fourth album proper. Unlike the last two, 2003's Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun and Haunting Curse, the dark atmospherics that punctuated them is gone, leaving only an attack: feral, brutal, and beautifully recorded. Of course this last adjective is one that will either bring the punters to or repel them from the album -- the black metal underground has already decided they sold out (after all, they are on Metal Blade), while fans drawn to death metal will welcome the sonic improvement: you can hear every single lyric here, whether it is growled or shouted by Louis B. Falgoust II. The guitar sounds by founder Sammy Duet are massive, Zack Simmons' drums are thuddingly clear and unmuddied, and for a change, you can actually discern the sound of Nathan Bergerou's bass. Some of this will be no surprise to longtime Goatwhore fans, since they've been on this quest for a while now. Sonics are the good news. Musically, there is a formula that this album follows track for track without cessation: a riff for 20 seconds, then a new riff for another 20, a third which lasts for 25 or 30 seconds, and then a mish-mash of all three for the rest of the cut. As a result, this makes hearing the entire 40-minute set in one sitting rather difficult. Stand-out tracks on the set are "Provoking the Ritual of Death," "Reckoning of the Soul Made Godless," and "Razor Flesh Devoured." There isn't really anything new here, but that said, there doesn't really need to be. Carving out the Eyes of God is so flawlessly executed it makes up for its lack of originality.

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