Goatwhore are a band I should love. They’ve got black metal, death metal, thrash, and Nola grit. They have delightfully painful song titles like “Baptized in a Storm of Swords” and “My Eyes Are the Spears of Chaos.” Guitarist Sammy Duet has one of the coolest beards in metal. But despite all this, the band’s discography hasn’t interested me. Too much sameness, too few highlights. I prefer vocalist Ben Falgoust’s other band, Soilent Green.
Carving Out the Eyes of God (Metal Blade, 2009) is something else, though. The ingredients are basically the same as before, except for some hardcore-inflected chugging riffs. But they are of higher quality now. Zack Simmons’ drumming is more varied and memorable. Duet has massively stepped up his riffing. Now one can tell the songs apart. Somehow, the band sounds even more vicious than before. Erik Rutan’s rough and huge production is much to credit. It is a big improvement from the flat sound he gave 2006’s The Haunting Curse. This record is a beast from start to finish. Its intangibles — aggression, cohesion, physical presence — are fully “on.” “Apocalyptic Havoc” is one of the year’s best metal songs, and Carving Out the Eyes of God is one of the year’s best metal albums.