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It's been sixteen years since Goatwhore reared its menacing head from the swamplands of New Orleans, Louisiana — a city rife with urban tales of voodoo curses, witchcraft and hauntings by souls of the damned. Spawned by former Acid Bath/Crowbar guitarist Sammy Duet in 1997, their winding legacy follows a dramatic, at times traumatic, sequence of personnel changes, fatal injuries, paranormal activity, natural disasters, and a collection of other misadventures large and small. They say what doesn't kill you… whether driven by an unwavering commitment to their craft, pure insanity, the divine powers of Satan or perhaps a combination of the three, Goatwhore forever perseveres, inadvertently establishing themselves as one the hardest working, consistently punishing live bands of the 21st century and a true institution of heavy music.
Enter the diseased hymns of 2014's "Constricting Rage Of The Merciless." Captured at Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida with audio magus, Erik Rutan at the helm, "Constricting…" serves as 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, the ten-track, 37-minute offering marks Goatwhore's most well-executed, sonically devastating manifestation to date, its warm, organic production harnessing the thick, monolithic, war-ready tone and energy of their live performance in a way previous recordings have not.
"To record mostly to analog was incredible and the results exemplify that," said Rutan, who hadn't worked with tape since Hate Eternal's "I Monarch" and Soilent Green's "Confrontation," both recorded nearly a decade earlier. "Amazing tones and performances. This is the real deal! It takes a lot of guts to record an album to tape in a day and age of metal where conformity and sterility are more commonplace then originality and vibe. I cannot wait for everyone to hear this album. It has been an honor to work with Goatwhore once again and I thank them for bringing out the best of me."
A multi-faceted recorded that traverses a broad range of moods and emotions both musically and thematically, "Constricting Rage Of The Merciless" reflects the duality of its creators, adopting a more punishingly urgent, ominous and reckless vibe than its predecessors. "Emotions clash when we write," reveals Falgoust, "Every person involved in this band has different things going on in their lives through the course of writing a record. From the point of Sammy creating a riff, to how Zack perceives the riff for his drum duties, to the way James adds in the low end to fill out its essence to when I take it all in and make my own assessment of how the vocals will intertwine. In all those stages feelings twist and turn in each individual to create the final work that envelops the culmination of that entire emotion."
"It was definitely cathartic… a release of some very negative vibes that were pent up," admits Duet of the riff-writing process. "I feel like the last one was more you know, 'let's drink a bunch of Jack Daniels and start a bar fight.' This album is a lot more psychotic. It's more like a serial killer's murder spree." Still lush with the charred, sub-nuclear riff incursions, rhythmic battery and infernal Falgoust/Duet vocal collisions for which the band has become synonymous, Duet speaks in terms of overall atmosphere. "There are parts that will make you very sad (witness the miasmic bone chill of 'Cold Earth Consumed in Dying') but there are also parts that are very angry ('Externalize This Hidden Savagery.' That's we're trying to portray with this record: The total evil of the soul. This album definitely has a darker mentality to it."
"The title represents a person or persons being pushed into a corner too far until vengeance is born, but then again it also represents the failing mercy behind organized religion," relays Falgoust, whose traditionally well-scripted psalms of death, debauchery, religious provocation and the improbability of life-after-death explore a more cerebral realm of self-development.
From the combatant onset of "Poisonous Existence In Reawakening," and the tense, hammering momentum of "Unraveling Paradise," to the punkish urgency of "FBS" and the fiendish cascades of "Schadenfreude" (literally meaning the pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others), Goatwhore spew their unadulterated, subterranean metal as channeled through the historic likes of Motörhead and Bathory, with the insatiable hunger of a pack of wild boars. These are true requiems of revolt, at once predatory, epic, hate-fueled and sadistic. Due at least in part to the sheer synergy that comes from living in a van together for weeks on end, "Constricting Rage Of The Merciless" is razor sharp in musicianship literally writhing beneath the weight of its own sonic enormity. Duet's thick, gnarled guitar tones and bestial vocal accents coil seamlessly around Simmons' and Harvey's, brash, chest-heaving rhythms. It's all punctuated by the imposing voice and cynical prose of Falgoust who literally ran laps around the studio before taking to the mic to summon a more frantic, rasping edge to his signature tirades, now more enunciated than ever before. When Falgoust howls, "WE ARE COMING TO SMASH YOUR IDOLS!" (in traditional metal rager "Baring Teeth For Revolt"), souls weaken, forests die, planets implode. In a saturated metal landscape where sub-genres spawn sub-sub-genres and the very definition of "metal" seems repeatedly distorted by cross-pollinating madness, sacred are the bands who to stay true to their proverbial roots without repeating them.
"Constricting Rage Of The Merciless" will make its final decent upon North America on July 8, 2014 via Metal Blade Records.