Goatwhore is back. Get your mouth ready and clear your throat, because there's no way you won't want to suck these guys' cocks when you're done listening to the glorious evilness that is Blood For The Master!
Just messing with you. Obviously this is still a Goatwhore album so you'll be about as "wowed" by this album as I was when I woke up and saw that the sky was still blue.
I find it irritating that these guys are considered one of the leaders of blackened thrash in the current metal scene. Whatever happened to killer bands like Aura Noir, Nifelheim, and Sauron? At least Aura Noir has a new album out this year, which I will be reviewing shortly. I guess it's because the sub-subgenre has been dominated by Deströyer 666 and older Goatwhore for so long that they've become associated with the term premiere despite playing pretty standard and predictable music that borrows heavily from more capable artists that came before them. Not that these guys are bad mind you, they are certainly very capable musicians. Just rather unimaginative ones.
Obviously Metal Blade doesn't help either with the way they seem to force producers to record albums in the most sterile way possible. I do have a smidgeon of respect for Erik Rutan because he played in Ripping Corpse and he founded Hate Eternal (who have always been hit or miss), but his production on Blood For The Master leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps the band wanted a more thrash-heavy sound, but not a single track on here reaches the expected level of headbanging brutality. Even compared to their previous releases like Carving Out The Eyes Of God, this one feels like a featherweight. The bass is audible but clean and low in the mix, and the snare is very tight. It gives the album that nice, pleasing sound of a band recording an album with "pro tools" - and that's not something I want to hear from blackened thrash. I want dirty, dark, thrash aggression, not flower-power overproduction.
Other than my hatred for the production, the songs on Blood For The Master are for the most part typical Goatwhore: black metal-styled vocals with thrash guitarwork, mixed with d-beats and the occasional blasts. Nothing on Blood For The Master is above proficient levels of technicality, and the solos often involve arpeggios and slow-moving hammer-ons. "Parasitic Scriptures Of The Sacred Word" and "Judgement Of The Bleeding Crown" feature some of the better solos, and the latter also features some death growls which seem to start becoming prominent on and after "In Deathless Tradition." I like the more death metal-influenced riffing on these tracks. It gives way to some black metal tremolo picking, but I feel like they do the headbanging death metal style pretty adequately.
Single "Collapse In Eternal Worth" and its follow-up "When Steel And Bone Meet" are solid if predictable tracks as well with some of the more aggressive lyrics and vocalwork by L. Ben Falgoust II. It's not really bad per se, but I really just don't feel much when it comes to tracks like the acoustic intro'd "Embodiment Of This Bitter Chaos" and album closer "My Name Is Frightful Among The Believers." They're forgettable at best, and unbearably boring at worst.
The tracks on Blood For The Master range from bland to passable, and are often hindered by the production. At a listenable thirty-eight minutes though, at least it's easy to sit through the album despite its shortcomings. Goatwhore still doesn't manage to impress with their latest effort, but who knows? Maybe someday they'll release a real black/thrash masterpiece.
5.25 out of 10
Harder to find than a capable drummer for a speedcore band.