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Goathammer - Ceremony of Morbid Destruction

Ceremony of Morbid Destruction
by Sean McGuirk at 28 December 2018, 6:43 PM

Listening to GOATHAMMER’s first LP, “Ceremony of Morbid Destruction”, is like unearthing a forgotten Black Metal relic from the dampest dungeon (or basement) in all of Western Canada, a kind of missing link that ties together decades of the unholiest music into one primal 38-minute assault. The influence that Canadian War Metal pioneers BLASPHEMY and CONQUEROR have on their sound is overtly apparent, as is, to a lesser degree, the thrash punk attitude of RAZOR and SLAUGHTER. The band deftly uses those instincts to play a brand of satanic bestial Black Metal that feels like a mix of first and second wave Black Metal from all corners of the metal map. Their name spells it out, likely taking inspiration from bands as far-reaching as ARCHGOAT (Finland), GOATPENIS (Brazil), HELLHAMMER (Switzerland), MASTER'S HAMMER (Czech Republic).

A series of cryptic howls kicks off the fun as "Arcane Destruction Spell" moves from a slow CELTIC FROST-like stroll to an all-out frenzy of blast beats and dive-bombing guitar solos. "Invoking the Sadistic Spirits" invokes a touch of SADISTIK EXEKUTION mixed with more traditional Black Metal like DARKTHRONE in Daemonomancer's furious drum blasts and the song's Transylvanian attitude. We take a left turn at the start of "Into The Endless Night," with clean arpeggios and rain effects giving way to a relentlessly bleak and moody Black Metal reverie that sounds like EMPEROR without the pad synth. The epic “Astral Crucifixicion” and “Right of Conquest” both do a great job of mixing first and second wave Black Metal influences, perhaps creating something close to a signature sound.

"Perverted Blasphemy" is the closest the album gets to full on Grind. Here the snarling vocals of Sadowulf stand out, with chanted monosyllabic yelps reminiscent of Max Cavalera's breathless diction on SEPULTURA's earliest work. The outro, with a moaning clean vocalization floating over a tribal drum pattern, is an organic moment that strays from the template and works.

Speaking of outros, the final track, "Sempiternal Holocaust", is a rousing future show-closer, with an amazing last few minutes that sees Daemonomancer in improv mode, going in and out of a marching war beat underneath a swirling chord progression that feels like BATHORY on angel dust.

It's very clear on this album that GOATHAMMER plays from the heart without a touch of irony, setting themselves apart from their peers with their strict allegiance to blasphemous Metal. While this artifact of raw, analog Black Metal may be by its nature backward-looking (and sounding), there are signs of evolution from the band's first demos, with frenzied chaos developing and turning the corner into thoughtful execution and atmosphere. There is light yet to extinguish and many crypts left to violate for these unholy Canucks!

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Arcane Destruction Spell
2. Invoking the Sadistic Spirits
3. Into the endless Night
4. Perverted Blasphemy
5. Astral Crucifixion
6. Right of Conquest
7. Sempiternal Holocaust
Sadowulf - Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Depravore - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Daemonomancer - Drums
Record Label: Hells Headbangers Records


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Edited 27 January 2023

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