Published Jul 08, 2014Zack Simmons, drummer for New Orleans black/death metal band Goatwhore, will be the first to admit that the band's sixth album, Constricting Rage of the Merciless is no huge departure from their sound. Fans can expect the band's usual mixture of fast black metal and thrash-tinged darkened death metal, but Simmons says that there is an overlying meaner spirit to the disc.
"I wouldn't say there is a drastic stylistic shift on this album," he tells Exclaim! "But I think it's got a bit more variety than the last couple [of] records. It's got elements of all the older albums but still retains its own identity and stands on its own. It's a lot more angry and bloodthirsty with a darker vibe overall."
Although there are no big surprises on the album, "Baring Teeth for Revolt" stands out as being particularly punk rock. The tune gallops along with a punk speed and simplicity, which Simmons doesn't deny, although he adds in another influence, from an unlikely place: classic Teutonic no-frills, balls-to-the-wall metal.
"We're all fans of old punk rock," he says. "Sammy [Duet, guitarist] was listening to a lot of Plasmatics while we were writing so that's probably how that song came about. We had been wanting to use that main riff for a long time and all of a sudden the whole song came together in one night. It's got a total Accept vibe to it. A total headbanger."
The album continues with Goatwhore's overly Satanic aesthetic, one that has always seemed to be more sincere in delivery than many "evil" metal bands, despite its often over-the-top nature. (Simmons admits the song title "FBS" stands for "Fucked by Satan," for example.) When pressed, Simmons says each member has their own stance on Satanism, and he will only speak for himself.
"For me, it's definitely a way of life in that I've sort of strayed from the path that's considered normal," he says. "There are many different reasons people are drawn to Satanism but I identify with it because at its core there is a sense of liberation and self-reliance."
Goatwhore's new disc drops during a particularly fruitful year for fans of New Orleans metal. While the Southern metal sound that the area is known for only enters the Goatwhore equation a bit, they're still close comrades with bands like Eyehategod, Down and Crowbar, who also all have new releases out in the first half of 2014.
"It's pretty crazy how that worked out," says Simmons. "It's great to see all these bands still going strong and releasing some of the best albums of their careers. The metal scene is pretty tight-knit in New Orleans. It's not that big of a city, really, so we run into the Eyehategod and Crowbar guys pretty frequently. Everybody knows each other and we all support each other. I'm just glad all these guys are still kicking ass after all this time."
Constricting Rage of the Merciless arrives today (July 8) on Metal Blade. Watch a 2013 interview with Goatwhore vocalist Ben Falgoust on Exclaim! TV below.