GOATWHORE released their Vengeful Ascension full-length worldwide on June 23rd via Metal Blade Records. The band’s seventh full-length and second recorded reel-to-reel, Vengeful Ascension was captured at Earth Analog in Tolono, Illinois near Champaign with longtime soundman and comrade Jarrett Pritchard (1349, Gruesome), breaking a four-album tradition of working with Erik Rutan.
“Working with Rutan was awesome,” says GOATWHORE frontman Ben Falgoust. “We did some great records with him. But you come to a point where you’re like, ‘All right. Let’s try something new.’ It was part of trying to remove ourselves from a comfort zone and a risk thing we needed to take. Plus, we really wanted to hit the essence of where we are live and what better way to harness that than by having our live sound guy involved. Jarrett is knowledgeable with the studio stuff. He also knows how we sound coming out of a PA and we really wanted to get closer to that.”
The resulting ten-track, forty-one-minute production – mixed by Chris Common (Tribulation, Pelican) and mastered by Maor Applebaum (Faith No More, Halford, Today Is The Day) at Maor Appelbaum Mastering – California – marches in, clutches its listeners by the throat and refuses to loosen its grip until the abrupt conclusion of “Those Who Denied God’s Will.” A sonic manifestation of war, chaos, desolation, and emotional conflict, seamlessly bridging twenty years of the band’s signature brand of audio venom, it’s a record that finds its members at their most accomplished both individually and as a cohesive unit. Guitarist Sammy Duet’s dense, sub nuclear riff work and possessed solo blitzes are at their most devastating spiraling flawlessly and instinctually around drummer Zack Simmons’ and bassist James Harvey’s hammering rhythms while Falgoust’s distinctly commanding roar, his acidic prose more enunciated than ever before, complimenting the apocalyptic proceedings.
“Each song is a representation of GOATWHORE from day one until now. It really shows our evolution as a band,” the frontman reflects. “I don’t think that this band has reached its peak yet. I mean, I think we’re closer now than ever but we’re still growing; we’re still evolving.”
Vengeful Ascension is available on CD, vinyl (in multiple limited color variations), and digital formats. Various Vengeful Ascension order options are currently available at metalblade.com/goatwhore.
While hardly a concept record in the traditional sense, Vengeful Ascension loosely revolves itself around Luciferian notions in title and spirit where the symbol of Lucifer serves not as a fiendish, all-destroying demon but rather an emancipator or guiding light. It’s a theme of struggle and transcendence derived from John Milton’s Paradise Lost epic and one that has appeared, whether directly or indirectly, within GOATWHORE works of the past.
“There’s that whole idea of Lucifer being the anti-hero,” elaborates Falgoust. “He’s cast out from this place in Heaven to the depths of nothing. He keeps trying to ascend to the top again but no matter what, there’s always this significant force trying to destroy him at any point and banish him back to Hell. If you look at it from an everyday aspect in life, it’s the idea of people, hitting the bottom of the barrel or you know, things just aren’t going right in life… emotion plays a huge part in how people react. Whether it’s based on love or hatred or sadness or whatever, there’s always an aspect of emotion that drives people to an extent. So the whole idea of a ‘Vengeful Ascension’ is built on being at the bottom, working your way to the top, and realizing along the way that there’s other facets to the journey aside from just pure retribution. Within negativity there can exist a positive angle as well.”
Vengeful Ascension serves as the soundtrack to that luciferious rise straight off with the combative, ritualistic drum onslaught of opening hymn, “Forsaken.” Wholly immersive, each track is alarmingly palpable in subject and corresponding execution. The tense, maniacal battery of “Chaos Arcane,” based on H.P. Lovecraft’s character Nyarlathotep who attempts to recount the inexplicable sense of fear in expectancy of an unknown evil, conveys that sensation of impending doom through sound in a way only GOATWHORE can. “Mankind Will Have No Mercy,” a pseudo tribute to Bolt Thrower, seethes under the weight of its own wartime sentiment, while the rapid-fire, punkish urgency of “Under The Flesh, Into The Soul,” a first person account of irrepressible resentment, sounds utterly enraged. And with an average runtime of just four minutes, no one song ever overstays its welcome.
GOATWHORE will return to the road this fall on a North American excursion supporting UK metal icons Venom Inc. The Blood Stained Earth Tour will deafen twenty-nine cities from September 1st through October 2nd. Additional support will be provided by Portland punk thrashers Toxic Holocaust and Ohio deathcore unit The Convalescence. The following month, GOATWHORE will make an appearance at this year’s Ozzfest Meet Knotfest in San Bernardino, California alongside the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, and Marilyn Manson, among many others. In February, the band will take to the seas on the 2018 edition of 70000 Tons Of Metal, the world’s biggest heavy metal cruise with additional live dates to be announced in the coming months. See all confirmed dates below.
GOATWHORE w/ Venom Inc., Toxic Holocaust, The Convalescence:
9/01/2017 Voltage – Philadelphia, PA [tickets]
9/02/2017 Gramercy Theater – New York, NY [tickets]
9/03/2017 Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA [tickets]
9/04/2017 Les Foufounes Electriques – Montreal, QC [tickets]
9/05/2017 Mod Club – Toronto, ON [tickets]
9/06/2017 Harpo’s – Detroit, MI [tickets]
9/07/2017 Agora Ballroom – Cleveland, OH [tickets]
9/08/2017 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL [tickets]
9/09/2017 Full Terror Metal Fest – Cave In Rock, IL [tickets]
9/10/2017 Riot Room – Kansas City, MO [tickets]
9/11/2017 Marquis Theater – Denver, CO [tickets]
9/13/2017 The Pin – Spokane, WA [tickets]
9/14/2017 Studio 7 – Seattle, WA [tickets]
9/15/2017 Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC [tickets]
9/16/2017 Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR [tickets]
9/18/2017 Slims – San Francisco, CA [tickets]
9/19/2017 The Roxy Theatre – Los Angeles, CA [tickets]
9/20/2017 Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA [tickets]
9/21/2017 Club Red – Phoenix, AZ [tickets]
9/22/2017 Tricky Falls – El Paso, TX [tickets]
9/23/2017 Gas Monkey – Dallas, TX [tickets]
9/24/2017 Grizzly Hall – Austin, TX [tickets]
9/25/2017 White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX [tickets]
9/26/2017 Parish at HOB – New Orleans, LA [tickets]
9/28/2017 Churchill’s – Miami, FL [tickets]
9/29/2017 Orpheum – Tampa, FL [tickets]
9/30/2017 The Haven – Orlando, FL [tickets]
10/1/2017 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA [tickets]
10/2/2017 Soundstage – Baltimore, MD [tickets]
11/05/2017 Ozzfest Meets Knotfest @ Glen Helen Amphitheater & Festival Grounds – San Bernardino, CA [tickets]
2/1-5/2018 70000 Tons Of Metal – Ft. Lauderdale, FL [tickets]
“The album roars with the classic GOATWHORE sound of searing shredding and screams of rage. The material also tries some new things, tossing in a bit of blackened atmosphere, adding to the philosophical questions the music dives into.” – Alternative Press’ 10 Best Metal Albums Of 2017 So Far
“Turning frowns upside down with metal steeped in gloom isn’t supposed to be a thing, but in incorporating more classic influences, GOATWHORE has (in)advertently offered Vengeful Ascension as a link between battle jackets and monk robes. 8/10” – Decibel Magazine
“…the most mature recording in the GOATWHORE canon… Its combination of disparate subgenres from opposite ends of the structural and melodic continuum is masterful, resulting in a remarkably non-contrasting display of good and evil; that being good songs that sound as evil as all hell. 4/5” – Team Rock
“…the high water mark that GOATWHORE have set for themselves thus far… 9/10” – Metal Injection
“Vengeful Ascension has extremity black metal fans will dig, groove that will appeal to death metal aficionados, and potent guitar work thrash lovers can appreciate.” — Loudwire
GOATWHORE Recording Lineup:
Louis B. Falgoust II – vocals
Sammy Duet – guitars, vocals
Zack Simmons – drums
James Harvey – bass
GOATWHORE Touring Lineup:
Louis B. Falgoust II – vocals
Sammy Duet – guitars, vocals
Zack Simmons – drums
Robert “TA” Coleman – bass
Forged by former Acid Bath/Crowbar guitarist Sammy Duet in 1997, it’s been two decades since Goatwhore reared its menacing head from the swamplands of New Orleans, Louisiana. The band’s winding history a dramatic, at times traumatic, sequence of personnel changes, fatal injuries, paranormal activity, natural disasters, and an assortment of other misadventures large and small, their tale begins with the primitive rumblings of the Serenades To The Tides Of Blood demo and subsequent Eclipse Of Ages Into Black debut released in 1998 and 2000 respectively. Then a five-piece comprised of Duet, Soilent Green vocalist Ben Falgoust, guitarist Ben Stout, bassist Patrick Bruders and drummer Zak Nolan, Goatwhore’s DIY work ethic, persistent tour schedule and warring, fuck-all approach of songs like "Invert The Virgin" and "Desolate Path To Apocalyptic Ruin" helped spawn a loyal following compelled by the band's unrepentant Celtic Frostian rhythms and corrosive black death bayou swagger.
A slower, more introverted affair, Funeral Dirge For The Rotting Sun followed in 2003. The record trailed a near-fatal van crash that left Falgoust temporarily paralyzed and the future of the band uncertain. Against medical odds, Falgoust regained use of his legs and the band, now a four-piece with Duet taking on full guitar duties, quickly returned to the road. Seemingly plagued by bouts of disaster, 2005 found the band fleeing the desolating flood waters of Hurricane Katrina. Delayed but undeterred, Goatwhore's first Metal Blade Records release -- 2006’s A Haunting Curse, which featured the revised lineup of Duet, Falgoust, drummer Zack Simmons (ex-Nachtmystium) and bassist Nathan Bergeron -- proved their most vicious manifestation yet. The record was captured at Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida with Erik Rutan (Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal), who would go on to record the band’s next three studio offerings. Wholly embracing their long-avowed Hellhammer and Venom devoutness without pirating it, A Haunting Curse is relentless in speed, precision and brazen hostility and six years later, “Diabolical Submergence Of Rebirth,” would make its way to HBO award-winning drama series, Treme.
By 2009, Goatwhore unleashed the nefarious craftings of Carving Out The Eyes Of God. A behemoth recording in sound, mind and spirit, the record ranked among the year's most worthy metal albums by fans and critics globally, debuting on the Billboard Hard Music chart at #33, the Billboard Top New Artist (Heatseekers) chart at #16, and the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart at #34. No small feat for a blatantly non-mainstream band. Decibel Magazine hailed the band’s, "rigid tempo shifts, gargantuan hooks, blasting black mass anthems, and Falgoust's soot and venom snarl," while Outburn likened it to, "a modern day, 'roid-injected sword fight between Celtic Frost and Venom.”
For the next two years, Goatwhore maintained an unyielding tour schedule, reducing cities throughout the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia to rubble with their notoriously crushing, live performance. Further educating the potentially unversed, unofficial Goat’ anthem, "Apocalyptic Havoc," appeared on the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 game soundtracks for Splatterhouse and Saints Row 3, while the video for the song was featured in an episode of Last Call with Carson Daly. 2011 closed with a win of Best Hard Rock/Metal Artist at the annual Big Easy Awards, which pays tribute and honor to the city’s performing talent.
Resting only long enough to conjure more audio pandemonium, Goatwhore undraped the chart-topping, critically-lauded Blood For The Master full-length in 2012. Now featuring Duet, Falgoust, Simmons and bassist James Harvey, who joined the cloven-hoofed ranks in 2009 following the exit of Nathan Bergeron, the record found Louisiana’s notorious metal horde at their most unified. Delivering a ruthless onslaught of fist-pumping, heathen anthems, and rhythmic obliteration bedecked in the enticingly unhallowed prose of Falgoust who succinctly dubbed the record, “evil rock 'n' roll.”
The maniacal hymns of Constricting Rage Of The Merciless arrived in 2014 and marked the band’s first studio effort to be tracked to two-inch tape, a more challenging approach that demands performance over pro-tooled perfection and leaving little room for error. Boasting a more urgent, ominous and blatantly reckless demeanor than its predecessors, the record again surpassed previous efforts in composition and execution consequently debuting at #81 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, topping their last entry position of #171 with Blood For The Master. Elsewhere, Constricting Rage Of The Merciless ranked in at #21 on Billboard’s Rock chart, #7 on the Hard Rock chart, and #13 on the Independent chart while third album single, “Baring Teeth For Revolt,” made its audio debut in CBS crime drama series Elementary. Welcoming live bassist Robert "TA" Coleman (Warmaster, Hod), a tireless tour calendar, including shows with Samhain as well as well as a converted performance at Ozzfest-meets-Knotfest opening Black Sabbath’s final West Coast show, followed. And now, the time for Vengeful Ascension has come.