Two of our writers wanted to review this album. So obviously, we did the sensible thing and threw them into the combat pit armed only with a switchblade and their wits. Only this ended up with a draw (and some legal issues that are now ongoing) so we went with option two and told them both to do it…
A while ago, I had the pleasure to be given an update about the upcoming releases of my favourite label Ashen Dominion. Goatreich especially caught my attention because of its appealing half reveal of their line-up: “with members of Ygg, Ulvegr, Kzohh, Khors, Raventale, Balfor and Deferum Sacrum”. And that’s pretty much all what the band condescend to give as details. Funnily enough, anyone who has the slightest knowledge of the current Ukrainian black metal scene can guess the line up as I did, there’s actually nothing mysterious about it.
Still I was told not to reveal it so by respect for Ashen Dominion and the precious yet honorable souls hiding behind that so dark and so ballsy project, I won’t do it. It’s a pity the Holy Death Over Kyiv where they were supposed to play their first concert was cancelled, I was curious to see how they would have managed that. And since the first purpose of a shadowy impression failed, the real question to me is which one of them got the idea?
In a similar way, what first made me reluctant and amused at the same time, along with the super cliché band name, was the genre in which they perform – satanic black death metal. I had the conventional first listen to it and I was pleasantly surprised that it sounded cleverer than I had expected. Musically, at least. As I would usually say, when it’s done by musicians playing proper atmospheric metal in other projects, it can’t be bad. Even when it’s crass and primitive. It may indeed not reinvent the wheel but I must admit it was effortless to listen to Godfetor, which has its memorable moments.
I still leave it to Ricky who has a much more developed ear than me when it comes to death metal and I’m sure he will give it the detail it deserves. Or he will actually more likely write what bands and labels want to read about themselves.
I have listened to this album on a number of occasions now and the more I listen to it, the more I like it. Everyone at some point in another gets pissed off with life and that is when you turn to the dark side of music. This is where Goatreich come in. With a name such as Goatreich, don’t expect any songs about love and romance and a happy ever after. Goatreich, you see, are a band of talented individuals from a plethora of other bands from the Ukrainian scene who banged their heads together to bring this album full of devil worship and blasphemy and thankfully, it really is quite good. Blackened death metal or death blackened metal (or whatever) is the order of the day, depending which way you look at it. I found at many occasions the vocals and drums would be black metal but there are riffs that could easily be heard on a death metal record. Either way, I am very pleased with the results as should the band and the label Ashen Dominion.
Forgive me about not being able to tell you much more about the band members or the lyrics as these are not being released to the public, much like other bands in the scene cropping up like Sweden’s Malakhim. What I can tell you is the nice dark ambient intro to the album before “Hellhound’s Rage” comes in with a full on assault of blast beats that would give Dark Funeral a run for their money. With some aforementioned death metal riffs emerging, the vocals then come in and are right in the middle of black metal screams and death metal growls. The closest comparison I can think of is Deathwitch from Sweden on their Violence, Blasphemy, Sodomy release who are themselves a thrash and black metal band. I really do like the vocals and the song whilst relentlessly played by musicians that know the craft of writing a tune.
Anyone who doesn’t listen to this form of music would think that it’s the same track playing time after time but each song on Godfetor has its own character and its own message. The melodic ending section with intricate solo in “In the Name of the Risen” is unique from the remainder of the album. The constant battery from the drummer is frightening and although I don’t like blast beats for the duration of song after song, it’s more militaristic than all out blast beats which is more pleasing to my ear. There is much of a muchness in the songs and they are of your black metal affair, so you know exactly what you are getting with this album. This is not a condemnation as when you play a tune and play it well, why change it. However, one of the stand-out tracks for me is much lower tempo “Circle of the Whores” which has doomy drums and vocals screaming “Bleed your innocence for my pleasure”, this song is to raise your horns and bang your head to.
Culminating in rapid old school black metal track “Goatmother” is three minutes of relentless speed, battery and unapologetic brutality that this would be the only fitting way to end of the album. I can only think by the end of the recording, the drummer is knackered. While not know much about the Ukrainian scene apart from Goatreich and Necrom, I will be keeping a watchful eye of what else Ashen Dominion and Goatreich release. I only hope that their other main bands don’t take up too much time so that we can get a Goatreich follow up to this very dark, uncompromising and downright evil release.
Godfetor is out now