Goatwhore guitarist Sammy Duet (formerly of Acid Bath and Crowbar) is fucking stoked…not only because his cats have apparently developed fine tastes in brutalic black metal (“My cats freak out when I play Fog, Through The Eyes Of Night! They’ll sit in front of the goddamn speakers and chill out!”), but because the notorious six-stringer has quite triumphantly survived another Goatwhore outing. Fittingly titled A Haunting Curse – an idea Duet’s been toying with since the band recorded 2003’s Funeral Dirge For The Rotting Sun at the allegedly haunted Noise Lab Studios, in addition to over two years of various band trials and tribulations – the disc serves as the band’s third installment of their signature brand of blackened pummel, coming at you for the first time via the legendary Metal Blade Records.
But for Goatwhore, no studio effort comes without its share of catastrophes. Where Funeral Dirge followed a near-fatal van crash that left Goatwhore/Soilent Green frontman Ben Falgoust temporarily confined to a wheelchair and the very future of the band uncertain, the creation of A Haunting Curse saw the New Orleans four-piece – Duet, Falgoust, drummer Zack Simmons and bassist Nathan Bergeron – fleeing the flood waters of 2005’s harrowing Hurricane Katrina. If there is indeed a God, she’s certainly no fan of the ‘Whore. But the say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. In the case of Goatwhore, they’re stronger, harder, meaner and pissed the fuck off. Goatwhore are back with a magnified vengeance! But perhaps we should rewind a bit…
Allegedly named after a mysterious encounter with a rather uninviting stripper, New Orleans’ Goatwhore formed in ’97. A slew of local gigs and word-of-mouth interest earned the band a nation-wide cult following (their many legions seen sporting the band’s simple yet crafty merch design – a parody of the Jägermeister emblem replete with a mighty inverted cross – at death metal and black metal shows coast to coast with pride). By 2000 the band unleashed the mighty The Eclipse Of Ages Into Black under the Rotten Records banner to ready and willing ears. For the next two years, the band toured incessantly. Those who weren’t immediately pulled into the band’s jagged ferocity on record were helplessly battered by the band’s live intensity. Indeed, the Goats are the quintessence of road warriors captivating ‘heads across the land with their manic buzzsawing rhythms, dueling throat chaos and evil ambience. Forever hostile, forever dark, forever evil…Amen.
2003 saw the release of Funeral Dirge For The Rotting Sun. A slightly slower, brooding record steeped in Satan, death and serpent references, the disc was a direct reflection of the injuries Falgoust sustained after a vehicular collision in 2002 (on the final night of the Soilent Green tour). Falgoust miraculously recovered and the band jumped right back into the touring circuit to riotous approval.
2006: It’s 75 degrees and sunny in St. Petersburg, FL but within the pleasant confines of producer Erik Rutan’s increasingly popular Mana Studios come the sounds of the apocalypse; tones of the rhythmically sinister and fist-clenchingly METAL variety. It is the audible battery of Goatwhore’s Metal Blade debut A Haunting Curse. More molten than its gloomier predecessor, the disc stays true to the band’s original irreverent Bathory-meets-Baal (the god of thunder) in a bullpen sensibility with punkish resolve and those inimitable Louisiana grooves for which the band has become known. Songs like über oldschool “Bloodletting upon the Cloven Hoof,” the opening “Wear These Scars Of Testimony” and “Silence Marked By The Breaking Of Bone” are fast, dark and antagonistic, Falgoust’s commanding voice and challenging lyrics adding knee-buckling severity to their collective instrumental agility. Rhythms collide with stop-on-a-dime accuracy and Duet’s vexing riffs give things a torrential horns-to-the-sky exigency. A Haunting Curse is here to devour. You have been warned.
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