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Review: Goatwhore - Carving Out the Eyes of God
Carving Out the Eyes of God

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 40:32
Tracks: 10
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: August 10, 2009
Reviewed by: Brett Buckle
Readers Rating
Carving Out the Eyes of God

Rated 3.56/5 (71.2%) (25 Votes)

One thing that seems to escape many modern metal fans, and even some metal "journalists", is that Black Metal is as much a state of mind as it is a method of riff delivery. You can't just write a "Black Metal" riff and be Black Metal. So, for the life of me, I cannot see the Black/Death categorization that so many slip Goatwhore into. To my ears this is Death/Thrash with the occasional black-ish riff mixed in, so if you've come to this party expecting some kind of blackened crossbreed you will be disappointed. So, with that out of the way, what about Carving Out the Eyes of a God as it is rather than as it's advertised? Yeah, it frequently kicks some serious arse, and unfortunately, it just as frequently bores the shit out of said arse, even after it has just delivered a notably feverous kicking. I must admit, I'm not familiar with Goatwhore's back catalogue. I heard The Haunting Curse, and while it was decent, it didn't inspire me to multiple listens, and the tradition continues with this new opus.

Busting out the gate with "Apocalyptic Havoc", Goatwhore promise quite a bit with their modern take on the Thrash of yore, and I can't help but think this style suits them much better than the Death Metal they fall back on as the album progresses. Vocally, we are treated to the old style Thrash bark, and it is pulled off with aplomb, filling the listener with confidence as Sammy Duet vocally shreds over the likewise razor riffs. The Thrash attack continues into "The All-Destroying" and, believe me, you will be banging your head if you have even a modicum of love for thrash in your heart. However, once the title track kicks in we are firmly in Death Metal territory, and, to Goatwhore's credit, the transition is very smooth, but it is simply not as convincing as the Thrash that opened the album. This typifies the album as a whole – kick arse Thrash riffage interspersed with uninspired Death Metal. "Shadow of a Rising Knife" is a prime example with its old school thrashing verses, and fall-back weak death grunting chorus (it does however have some pretty sweet thrashy solos). The main failing of the Death sections is that they are, even through the gritty, crusty production, just a bit too clean – devoid of soul if you will. As the album progresses we are treated to some very cool Celtic Frost-inspired riffs (this is always a good thing), and it is possible that this is where they get their Black tag from, but even then you hear Thrash. I really wish that this had been a full Thrash album because if it was, I'd be giving it at least a extra half point. There are plenty of highlights throughout though, especially if you are partial to the more modern take on stripped-back Thrash. "Reckoning of a Soul Made Godless" is skin shredding blade of riffs, and "This Passing into the Power of Demons" is chock full of thrashing glory, self-raped only slightly by a weak opening.

Goatwhore have delivered a main course of metal overflowing with sweet, sweet riffs, and served it up with a side dish of liver and onions – fans of liver will end up fuller than those who like their mains with Thrash sauce and no sides. So, having said all that, I will be a little conciliatory and say that the material on this disc would abso-fucking-lutely slay live. This is metal that demands a small club or pub, the sweat-stink of 100 filthy metalheads filling the air, and paint peeling levels of volume. With those ingredients Goatwhore could no doubt deliver an incredible event that would leave no neck unscathed. The bad news is that this sadly doesn't translate as well to the studio as it should, so while Carving Out the Eyes of a God is getting a very tidy 4/5 you should realize that the album is just practice for those of you who might get to see them live one day. If you are not one of those people then you should count that score as a 3.5.

Other related information on the site
Review: Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Blood for the Master (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Carving Out the Eyes of God (reviewed by MetalMike)
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