March 4, 2024

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Album Review: Goatwhore – “Constricting Rage of the Merciless”

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Goatwhore are at it again with their easily distinguished sound in modern extreme metal. Continuing their unique blend of thrash, black, and death metal, Goatwhore’s sixth full-length album “Constricting Rage of the Merciless” picks up right after where previous effort “Blood for the Master” left off. With such critical acclaim given to recent Goatwhore efforts, is “Constricting Rage of the Merciless” still a fresh album? Or has Goatwhore recorded a dull and rehashed album from the scraps and leftover tracks of the last few records?

“Constricting Rage of the Merciless” jumps right into the middle of the action with a strong, attention-grabbing, fast paced song entitled “Poisonous Existence in Reawakening”. Not only does this song thrive with an extremely catchy groove from the second it starts, but it also has an extremely catchy chorus. This was an excellent choice on Goatwhore’s behalf to open up the record with a song that hooks in the listener and at the same time is a solid representation of what both Goatwhore and their new album is about.

Listener’s ears won’t catch a break from Goatwhore’s assault for the next half of the album especially on moments during the blistering fast and thrashy “Baring Teeth for Revolt” and the incredibly catchy guitar work executed throughout “Reanimated Sacrifice”. Starting the second half of the album is probably one of the most unique songs I’ve heard on any Goatwhore record. “Cold Earth Consumed in Dying Flesh” starts off with a slowed, ominous intro that leads into what is most likely the slowest paced Goatwhore song that reeks of doom influence. This track surely caught me off guard but eventually goes back into more of the comfort-zone style material Goatwhore plays near the end of the song. Towards the end of the album at the ninth track, listeners are surprised once again with an unexpected tune in “Schadenfreude”. A large portion of the track is based on melody but is a pleasant surprise just like all of the others hidden on “Constricting Rage of the Merciless”.

Before continuing, I’d like to note how Goatwhore has seemed to mature and spread more diversity on “Constricting Rage of the Merciless”. Although Goatwhore sticks to the formula that gave them a plethora of success on recent albums, they definitely don’t write the same album over again. “Constricting Rage of the Merciless” is clearly a maturation and exploration of Goatwhore’s traits but even further in some cases. Tracks such as “Fbs” consists of a more thrash-focused approach to the composition where others seem more focused on a black and death make-up. Goatwhore’s decisions on these tracks is a big separation on what makes their latest effort appear mature compared to how on the previous album’s songs were mainly a balanced hybrid of all these influences and never really saw a significant amount of variation on what influence song-writing leaned towards.

As far as each ingredient goes that make up “Constricting Rage of the Merciless”, each part is executed professionally in a well performed manner (including Erik Rutan’s stellar job producing the record). You will see a solid variety on drum techniques ranging from thrash-beats to blast-beats. The bass drum has a solid kick, while the snare has a well-picked tone as well. Any cymbals used are at a comfortable listening level and sound clear and crisp. The  guitar and bass work are also well executed and have a solid tone that well encompasses a tone to work for all of Goatwhore’s influences. You can expect an endless supply of catchy riffs that will stick in your head for hours. Vocals and lyrics are exactly what you would expect from any “A Haunting Curse” era material and up. However, I did notice that there would be moments throughout where a specific vocal technique would be concentrated on. Fans will  still be pleased with Ben Falgoust’s practically trade-marked voice ranging from his deep growls to his signature black metal rasps.

Overall, “Constricting Rage of the Merciless” is a phenomenal and flawless new release from Goatwhore and is personally my favorite Goatwhore album to date. Goatwhore pleases fans by still sticking to their notorious and distinct sound but continues to mature this sound on their latest effort. Some standout tracks are “Poisonous Existence in Reawakening”, “Baring Teeth for Revolt”, “Cold Earth Consumed in Dying Flesh”, “Fbs”, and “Schadenfreude”. Every track is catchy and enticing as the next and there isn’t a single track on the entire album that I would consider poor or a filler. Although the album clocks in at roughly thirty-eight minutes, the album seems to last a little bit longer. “Constricting Rage of the Merciless” deserves a spot in all Goatwhore fans’ collections and if you aren’t a Goatwhore fan – here is a great place to start. Make sure you support Goatwhore by picking up the album and by seeing them this summer on The Summer Slaughter Tour.

Rating: 9/10

Make sure to check out our recent interview with Goatwhore here and check out the lyric video for “Fbs” below.

 

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