With the pedigree that this trio exhibit, this record should be astronomical in its deliverance of pure, raw, dirty black metal, and it should be a true masterclass in the production of blasphemous black arts. The trio, made up of brothers Skagg and Thurzur, on guitars & vocals, and drums, respectively, and Hoest of Taake on bass duties, deliver us this follow up to their hugely acclaimed debut, ‘Cult Of The Dragon’.

‘Cult Of The Dragon’ was a beast of an album, excuse the pun, and the godfathers have had a ten-year period between that, and this latest offering, to hone their skills even further.

The deliverance of ‘Cult Of The Goat’ opens with ‘Climax Of The Unclean’, and introduces us to a behemoth of a bass line, which is swiftly followed by a more than competent guitar solo, and then we are totally opened up to an oral display of clean vocals which exhibits Skaggs’s true abilities. The first song takes us through true dirty black metal with some harsh, unsettling screaming, providing the back drop to the tune, and this prepares you effortlessly for the rest of the album.

Another track worthy of note is ‘Ascension Rite’ which gives the band 8 minutes to deliver a pick and mix of black metal styles, from the traditional to the melodic and they also throw in a delicate string accompaniment to make this the complete package.

Hoest et al continue through the album like a beast strolling through a demented forest, and don’t give the listener much respite throughout. The vocal talents on show are tasty to say the least, and Hoest creates a monster of a bass line throughout the whole album. All songs are worthy of a mention, but the closer ‘Laudate Hircum’ needs to be mentioned as it is purely an instrumental and gives Skagg a chance to rest his pipes. This is delicate and intricate in its approach, but seems out of place, especially as a close to the album, which may well leave you wanting more.

The whole album is competent enough in its approach, but if people are more tuned into the band for their other projects, then this may be a bit too abstract for them, and it may just seem too eclectic as an album to challenge the true black metal classics

(6/10 Phil Pountney)