In the music review world, there is no more backhanded of a compliment than “I bet this stuff kills live”. Translation: this album sucks in at least seven of the ten ways there is for an album to suck, but a popular touring artist recorded it and diehard fans are going to snag it and see them live regardless. Its a futile effort to criticize something that’s essentially critic-proof, and we on this end of the pen know it. So why bother?
Because the only thing critics hate more than themselves is their audience, and I am no exception. Vengeful Ascension, the latest from Goatwhore, probably kills live. It also represents a band that is officially stuck in second gear following the lackluster Constricting Rage of the Merciless. These guys don’t sound like they’re into what they’re doing and that lethargy shows more and more as the album wears on.
Without exception, every track on Vengeful Ascension reaches a logical stopping point, and then inexplicably continues for at least another minute or so. Considering that there are so few solid riffs present and vocalist Ben Falgoust sounds like he’s going through the motions, it’s a genuine chore to get through this in its entirety. A few bright spots aside (drummer Zack Simmons’ wild fills on “Abandon Indoctrination”, the riffwork on “Mankind Will Have No Mercy”), there’s nothing that demands repeat listens.
There really isn’t much more to talk about here. This album just smacks of a reason to print some new merch for the next tour and keep gas in the van. Goatwhore probably never needs to record another classic to keep the wheels going, but would it kill them to at least try? Judging by this last effort, the band might be convinced that it’s not worth testing that theory.