Respected New Orleans blackened thrashers, Goatwhore find themselves taking a slightly different tack on the seventh album of their career, “Vengeful Ascension”. Looking to capture their live essence on record, they utilised the services of their own soundman, Jarrett Pritchard. Loosely coupled with a concept that revolves around the fall of Lucifer, the idea of struggling to rise and the resentment that engulfs the lowly, they’ve come up with a work that not so much bristles with rage as explodes with a venomous aggression.

The expected raw nastiness is instant and doesn’t disappoint. “Forsaken” is a rough, primitive beast with plenty of poison that oozes through with a little Celtic Frost churn. Then, with enveloping darkness, “Under The Flesh, Into The Soul” lurches and twists into life. The bratty, tight introduction gives way to a breakneck, machine gun assault that sometimes evokes Possessed mixed with tortured, Slayer style guitar breaks. None of this is done at the expense of some serious underlying groove and directional changes when the mood takes the band. “Where The Sun Is Silent” flies off in an almost macabre, Alice Cooper horror tangent but it’s the untamed, aggressive power that comes through which is the key ingredient and it’s here in spades. Zack Simmons’ drumming cannons its’ way forward with super tight riffs from Sammy Duet that are guaranteed to get fists clenched. Vocals are shared between Duet and Louis B. Falgoust II. Growled and with a classic evil tone, they sit above the aural thunder whilst delivering scornful sermons. The band moves towards a more classic thrash tautness on “Mankind Will Have No Mercy” with a choppy, Dave Mustaine quality to the riffs. This is another example of the way the tracks on this album take little twists that keep a freshness and intrigue all the way through. With ten songs each coming in at around four minutes, they’re focussed and relentless with no filler.

This is a powerful statement from a band that has already built its’ reputation. Undeniably raw but with a rich depth of cranium crushing intensity, this is a prime cut of extreme metal that will please existing fans and will be sure to attract newcomers.

(8/10 Johnny Zed)