Back in 2014, I did a review of New Orleans-born Goatwhore’s Constricting Rage of the Merciless on one of my old sites, and I said that “more of the same can be a good thing”, as much of the material on Constricting Rage of the Merciless reminded me highly of the tunes on their 2012 release, Blood for the Master.  And now here in 2017, after a three-year spate of touring, writing, and conjuring a new decouple of demonically-charged anthems, the Louisiana quartet are returning with their seventh full-length offering, Vengeful Ascension, and I must admit that this new one is, once again, predictable but pleasurable.

Goatwhore’s motif, chemistry, and composition style essentially has not wavered since their inception as a band in 1997:  blackened death metal infused with copious amounts of Satanic darkness.  So why should it be any surprise that here, twenty years later, that not much has changed?  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, I always say.  Still, there are plenty of gems to be had on Vengeful Ascension that don’t always fit right into the standard Goatwhore mold; and in all honesty, these are the tunes that I usually love the most on their albums, as while it would certainly be easy to fall back into the old groove and kick out an album of ten songs that all sound alike, branching out and trying new things shows that the lads in Goatwhore are still passionate about their songcraft – and it shows.

Consequently, tracks such as the opener “Forsaken”, “Under the Flesh, Into the Soul”, “Drowned in Grim Rebirth”, and the ultra-speedy and pacey cuts “Chaos Arcane” and “Mankind Will Have No Mercy” seem to follow in the classic vein of Carving Out the Eyes of God/Blood for the Master Goatwhore, but on the rest of the album, the band stretches its legs and really lets the thrash, black metal, and doom influences shine through.  The title track, “Vengeful Ascension”, for instance, has an almost groovy feel to its slower, galloped trot, while other cuts such as “Where the Sun is Silent” and “Decayed Omen Reborn” sport a darker, doomier side.  And the closer, “Those Who Denied God’s Will”?  Pure black metal goodness.

In total, Goatwhore’s Vengeful Ascension is yet another solid release in a long string that this two decades old act has regaled us with over the years.

FFO:  Morbid Angel, Emperor, Angelcorpse, Morbosidad, Hellacaust

Genre:  Blackened Death

Album Lineup:  Sammy Duet (guitars/vocals), James Harvey (studio bass), Zack Simmons (drums), Ben Falgoust (vocals), Robert “TA” Coleman (live bass)

Vengeful Ascension Track Listing:

  1. “Forsaken” (3:41)
  2. “Under the Flesh, Into the Soul” (4:33)
  3. “Vengeful Ascension” (4:15)
  4. “Chaos Arcane” (3:58)
  5. “Where the Sun is Silent” (4:36)
  6. “Drowned in Grim Rebirth” (4:15)
  7. “Abandon Indoctrination” (4:19)
  8. “Mankind Will Have No Mercy” (3:48)
  9. “Decayed Omen Reborn” (4:26)
  10. “Those Who Denied God’s Will” (4:09)

Release Date:  June 23, 2017

Label:  Metal Blade Records


Bloodrock Rate:  4.0 out of 5.0 axes

Written by Geoff Teach for Bloodrock Media on June 3, 2017