War Metal, the veracious embodiment of stereotypes within the Metal scene. Outsiders looking in on the world of Metal see themes of horror, blasphemy, destruction, warfare and chaos. If you’re being completely honest with yourself are these not the things that first attracted you to the genre? For me they most certainly are, so when bands amp said ideas up to ten I get really excited. Combine this with a Punk mindset of sloppy, haphazard musicianship and you’ve got GG Allin meets early Bathory an ungodly mix for only the most extreme ear.
Plundering these war-torn depths are Norway’s own Goatkraft. Formed relatively recently in 2017 the band have gone on to release a demo and an EP. Working forward in the succession of one release per year the band have now upped their game with a full length debut in 2019 through Iron Bonehead Productions entitled Sulphurous Northern Bestiality. With their country’s infamous legacy behind them can these observers of the infernal rise up to Satanic power or will they be desecrated amid the swaths of hellfire?
The album begins as the introductory track suggests with Yawns From The Abyss, blood curdling gurgles and dissonance enrapture us for the oncoming devastation. A wrath of chaotic might that is pretty standard War Metal fare with a heavy emphasis on the more Blackened side of the die. Hordes Of Damnation, Bestial Desecration and Spell Of Black Pestilence act as muddy, frantic Punk infused grimoires of early Extreme Metal terror, packed with relentless, crusty riffs and notions of vibrant darkness. Vocally the album comes across as very Blackened whilst the instrumentation appears to draw more from Death Metal with its speedy drum rhythms and Thrash heavy guitars that often merge into bouts of noise.
I really like what Goatkraft have to offer here, sure it can seem a little run of the mill where War Metal is concerned but it’s good enough to become interested in. As a first offering the listener certainly cannot complain about the overall sound and dirty production of Sulphurous Northern Bestiality. I particularly like the guitar and bass work, a filthy backing to some truly purulent vocals. They give off a sort of flare that I feel is quite often forgotten about in Metal and that is a sort of anti-music ethos. Bands often become so wrapped up in becoming great musicians that they lose sight of Punk ideals. This is by no means a detriment towards the bands musicianship, in fact I view it as a bonus, it is a welcome relief to see bands simply pumping out horrible music.
So if you’re planning on strapping on your bullet belt, haling Satan and going ‘ough’ a lot then add Goatkraft to your arsenal. Truly abhorrent music that keeps the themes of more repulsive Metal in the vein of Venom alive. A sense of not giving a damn and just playing fast and loud. This is music built upon the very foundations in which heavy music was formed. It isn’t a case of how well you can play your instrument, it’s a case of how rapidly you can churn out riffs and drum beats, not to mention how hideously one can project their voice.
(8/10 George Caley)