Goatwhore

Constricting Rage of the Merciless

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Forget that it sounds like the Bayou-based decibel crushers elicited the moniker for their sixth studio long-player from a generic black metal title generator, Constricting Rage of the Merciless is as punishing a collection of songs as one is likely to come across in 2014. Even more concise and streamlined than 2012's relentless Blood for the Master, Constricting finds the veteran New Orleans band so dialed in that there may as well be nobody listening. Rather than mess with the formula, Goatwhore opted to simply turn up everything and let the sparks fly, resulting in the least forward-thinking, yet most sonically rewarding album of their career, offering up a bludgeoning ten-song attack that's as accessible as it is neck snapping, with highlights arriving via textbook blackened metal confections like "Poisonous Existence in Reawakening," "Nocturnal Conjuration of the Accursed," "Unraveling Paradise," and the sneaky and serpentine yet surprisingly melodic "Schadenfreude." In fact, outside of the spaced-out intro to the appropriately titled "Cold Earth Consumed in Dying Flesh," a punishing, funereal, post-pub crawl of a song, there isn't a moment of respite in Constricting Rage of the Merciless, and really, with a name like that, why should there be? Once again, Goatwhore is on the cusp of nothing and waving it in your face. They are ruthlessly efficient, unmerciful, redundant, triumphant, and wholly invested in darkness, volume, destruction, and little else.

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