Originally written by Erik Thomas.
Finally, the band fulfills and fleshes out its ‘Southern, sludgy black metal’ moniker.
I’ve always sort of thought Goatwhore’s previous two overrated efforts were little more than Soilent Green sprinkled with some half hearted black metal imagery and lyrics, but on A Haunting Curse, the New Orleans based band has delivered a dirgey, yet intense slab of swampy, sweaty black metal that stings more than having Louisiana hot sauce squirted in your pee hole while listening to Immortal.
Obviously, due to Ben Falgoust’s vocals and Sammy Duets’ guitars, there is still a slight Soilent Green/Crowbar/Acid Bath tone to the music, but the band has finally given their black metal some measure of credibility and songwriting competence rather than relying on the Southern vibe to carry the music. Starting with the impressively blistering black metal assault of “Wear These Scars of Testimony” and “Bloodletting Upon the Cloven Hoof”, Goatwhore show they have upped their black metal ante considerably rather than play tremolo picked Scandinavian riffs with the odd sludgy twang thrown in. “Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult” shows the album’s first throes of mid paced Southern groove, but “My Eyes are the Spears of Chaos”, with its more death metal-esque lurch washes away the Southern vibe like a busted levee. However, like the triumphant return of New Orleans, standout tracks “In the Narrow Confines of Defilement”, “Forever, Consumed, Oblivion” and the title track are epic, blackened, smothered, and venomous amalgamations of seething black metal and sneering, butt scratching, tobacco chewing, dungaree clad, incestuous, toothless fury.
Those three tracks make for a hard to follow album mid section that only the heaving, angular “I Avenge Myself” manages to match in the album’s latter stages. Add to that production held together by Erik Rutan and you have an album that does well to highlight both black metal grimace and Southern leer, which, as a whole, is a very effective, solid listen.