Published Feb 17, 2012Every three years, like clockwork, New Orleans blackened death/thrashers Goatwhore release a new album. With their fifth, Blood for the Masters, the band have taken everything they've done before -- old-school traditional metal and pure black, Lemmy-loving hardcore scuzz metalrock -- and made it even tighter, more fun, and, well, better.
The album, which dropped on Valentine's Day (who says these guys aren't romantic?) on Metal Blade Records, follows up 2009's Carving out the Eyes of God, a decidedly more thrashy affair. But the new one keeps that thrash spirit (which bows at the altar of decidedly heavier German thrash legends, not their American counterparts), along with the first-generation black metal/Celtic Frost and Bathory worship thrown in to the mix.
"I would have to say we are all pretty pleased about the new record," vocalist Ben Falgoust tells Exclaim! in a recent interview. "We aren't going to jump the gun and say it's our best effort, but it is most definitely the next logical step for Goatwhore as a whole."
Although the album is diverse, it also manages to sound more streamlined and focused than any other Goatwhore effort -- and just slightly more rocking and punkish, with, again, quite a bit of Lemmy coming to mind throughout the album.
"There are definitely those elements there," says bassist James Harvey. "Some things we wanted to sound 'old,' if you know what I mean. We wanted to do some stuff that was more back to basics on this album, and our sound has really started to incorporate that. Although some things have always incorporated that style, even since the early days."
Falgoust agrees that some of those sounds have always been with the band; they're just mastering the way they arrange them.
"We're greatly influenced by more classic metal and earlier extreme records," he says, "so those influences most definitely show up in our writing structure."
And the band have had time to hone that writing down to a fine art, creating a sound that is actually quite unique -- no small task in the metal scene of today. But it's been a long road for the group to get to where they are today. Falgoust says they've had a slow and steady ascension for a few different reasons.
"Being young and not directed toward the proper goals, member changes, dysfunctional objectives... I guess with time you make mistakes and learn from them," he says. "We have taken it with stride and moved forward through tough times."
One constant in the band has been Falgoust's over-the-top Satanic lyrics. He denies he is a Satanist, instead saying that the lyrics reflect a mixture of ideas and beliefs.
"I have many interests in the darker themes of life," he says. "I am by no means a Satanist, but I have a deep interest in the dark arts and dark literature. I have a strong dislike for organized religion and the oppression it plants in people's minds.
"I also have a great interest in death. The absolution of it and the numerous cults that follow the concept of death. I know it sounds really basic to say that, but if you read things about the cults and beliefs behind the worship of death it is quite intriguing. I like to mix various ideas of all of these ideas and beliefs and create my own personal approach."
Blood for the Masters is out now on Metal Blade Records, and you can see all Goatwhore's upcoming North American dates here.