Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun

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Goatwhore's second bloodfeast, Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun, finds the group ratcheting songwriting, production, and performances up a notch, making raw rookie effort The Eclipse of Ages Into Black sound chintzy in comparison. Not that Goatwhore is creating fine art here, because it still sounds like old Satyricon, albeit more practical and American-ized -- in other words, less interesting, riffs stripped down, and deathly while lacking the creepy, garagey atmosphere of Goatwhore's Norwegian influences (although song titles like "The Serpent That Enslaves What Is Worshiped" and "Baptized in a Storm of Swords" give the wrongful impression that this Louisiana outfit sports English as a second language). Funeral Dirge, however, has some things going for it: relatively varied arrangements with speeds varying from hyper death prattling to mid-tempo moshes to slow 'n' sludgy doom crawls; the convincingly caustic growl of lead vocalist Louis Benjamin Falgoust (also of Soilent Green, whose jarring tempo shifts and vague Southern swampiness are borrowed here); and the occasional vocal drone and overall credibility of ex-Acid Bath guitarist Sammy Duet. Still, too many off-the-rack riffs and typically scattershot lyrical blasphemies weigh down the overall listening experience with some unwelcome generic qualities, although a few high points do exist early in the proceedings (album-opener "Sacrament of Emptiness and Despair" and follow-up "Vengeance of Demonic Fury"). No one will be blown away by Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun, but hardcore black/death metal devotees will appreciate Goatwhore's fairly effective hybridization of the two genres.

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