Thursday, October 20, 2011

Archgoat- Heavenly Vulva(Christ's Last Rites)

Archgoat- Heavenly Vulvua(Christ's Last Rites)

To describe my excitement for Archgoat's new EP Heavenly Vulva(Christ's Last Rites) as unbearable might be an understatement: I will openly admit to being a huge fan of these Finnish blasphemers. They were, like many, my first Bestial Black Metal band, and along with Blasphemy and Beherit, helped breed my demonic fascination with bands who play this style of crusty, inhuman and Death Metal-influenced Black Metal. So I will admit right now, that being objective about Heavenly Vulva was not easy for me. But after spending plenty of time with this EP, I can safely say that not only have Archgoat settled on a sound that allows them to stand out amongst the crowded scene of Bestial Black Metal(or War Metal as some of you might refer to it),they have mastered it with satanic purpose.

Archgoat, unlike many of their peers, were never one to mindlessly ape Blasphemy(who we can credit for creating this fusion of Death Metal, Black Metal and Grindcore that is Bestial Black Metal) at every turn to fill a CD: this band had a unique purpose and have always delivered, and whether it was their brilliant Angelcunt(Tales of Desecration) EP or their first full length Whore of Bethlehem, Archgoat sought to separate themselves from the legendary Canadians. But starting with the unbelievable Light Devouring Darkness(their first full length after a long split), Archgoat set out to create a sound that was uniquely theirs, to decidedly mixed reviews. The addition of unique, Demilich-style vocals and a heavy emphasis on mid-paced, groove-laden songs turned the historically fast Bestial Black Metal genre on it's head. Heavenly Vulva is a continuation of this sound, and a further refining of its madness.

Heavenly Vulva is loaded with plenty of fast, Blasphemy-esque sections of insanity, but continues to showcase the bands ultimate strength: mid-paced, head banging riffs that create a dense and demonic atmosphere. These mid-paced sections are the highlights of the album, and on songs like "Goddess of the Abyss of Graves" they are short, sudden shifts in between the blistering speed riffs that adds a level of depth to the music. This is helped greatly by the production: this is the most balanced and heavy sounding production Archgoat have ever received. Heavenly Vulva is thickly produced, with rumbling bass and a nasty kick drum keeping things low and dark. The vocals are also more powerful and inhuman than on Light Devouring Darkness, which will please many. Heavenly Vulva is by far the bands most full sounding, powerful and brutal release so far, a big compliment considering the bands formidable back catalog of some seriously vile material.

About the only problem with this EP is the length: including a frankly worthless intro, Heavenly Vulva last only 16 minutes, and considering it has been a while since the bands last release, there was hope for more content to this long awaited new EP. The whole thing is over so quickly, it leaves you wanting more, something no album should do. I know that EP's are rarely as long as LP's, but 16 minutes of Archgoat is frankly not enough, and left me disappointed.

Despite its short running time, Heavenly Vulva is still one of the finest Black Metal releases of this year, and certainly my favorite EP released in 2011. Archgoat have never sounded so evil, so vile, so disgusting as they do on this short, not-so-sweet EP. The future is pitch fucking black for Archgoat, and hopefully we won't have to wait long for more.

Rating: 9/10

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