CONSTRICTING RAGE OF THE MERCILESS
posted on 6/2014 By: Chris Redar
Goatwhore is a band that occupies a certain space in the metalsphere. Not unlike the Devildrivers and Amon Amarths out there, they’ve become consistent in both intervals of recorded output (about every two years) and the output itself. They are to creativity what Bart Simpson is to rock, paper, scissors.
Enter Constricting Rage of the Merciless, the latest and greatest from the N’awlins lads, whose members are also in every other band ever since 1987. While it’s definitely more “death” than “black” in comparison to 2012’s Blood For the Master, it’s essentially Goatwhore. In fact, the fretwork and percussion have been scaled back to the point that a typical ‘Whore fan might not dig it, either.
“Poisonous Existence In Reawakening” kicks off with a one-two behind the kit and a riff so dull it’s only distinguishable as guitar because this is a metal album. And Ben Falgoust doesn’t sound “into it”- a rarity for a usually pronounced and prolific lyricist / vocalist such as himself. That’s not to say he sounds bad, but he does definitely sound like he only showed up because he had to as part of the band.
Things don’t necessarily pick up steam from here, either. “Baring Teeth For Revolt” makes an attempt at some Motley Crue style sleaze crossed with a Motorheadesque gallop. It comes so close to hitting the mark that it’s frustrating that the song isn’t over about a minute sooner. And then, like every other song on the album, the finishing note is an ‘UAGHH!’ and a three-fret slide as the crash fades into the distance.
The real shame here is how outstanding the final two tracks are. “Schadenfreude” has a traditional vibe to it that develops into an experience of a song over its three-and-a-half minute run time. Falgoust also does this talk/shout thing towards the end that would have very well sent shivers down the ol’ spine, had it come about a half-hour earlier in the runtime. And closer “Externalize This Hidden Savagery” is up there with the best material Goatwhore has. All of the speed and riffery that was absent from the preceding tracks must have been bottled up and saved for the grand finale; it’s like watching a bad-ass fireworks show after your team lost the game. (As a White Sox fan, I know all about that shit.) I was almost hoping these were the two leadoffs for a better album. Alas, ‘tis not to be.
So, Goatwhore fans should give this a go (like they weren’t going to anyway) so they know which three songs the band will play live before playing most of Carving Out the Eyes of God at their next show. Non- fans / curious parties? Check out the other two albums mentioned before this one, because this will seem like aural torture. The older-school vibe the band has the ability to bring out is dimmed and snuffed by the lack of fun and the absence of memorable riffs. Die-hards only.