Double Play: Goathwhore & Locrian And Mamiffer

Two reviews for the price of none!

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson



Blood For The Master

Metal Blade Records      


So, what’s the new Goatwhore like?

         (Metal head considers) Um, fast…

Yes, it’s true; the new Goatwhore album Blood For The Master is fast. Wicked fast. Super fast. Fuck you false metal forever fast. If somebody could capture the speed of the harshest winds in the Antarctic they might come close to understanding the High Rocktane insanity of Goatwhore. For 15 years this band has been lighting a fire under the ass of metal with their blood drenched combination of death metal, black metal, Motorhead grooves and punk. However, to simply rate Goatwhore as a fast band that brings the pissed off pain in waves of spike fisted pummeling would be to do them a disservice. There’s so much more going with Goatwhore and this record is no exception.

The first crack across the skull comes in the form of “Collapse In Eternal Worth”, a tune that enters the fray with a black metal intro before diving into a driving thrash riff. While the speed remains a constant on the track, Sammy Duet’s guitar skills have him playing with the riff all throughout. He doesn’t change it significantly; he just attacks it different and gives a fevered pitch to the song as well as subtle changes in the flavor.

“In Deathless Tradition” shows Goatwhore deviating a tiny bit from their formula. There are a few time changes here as well as focus on groove over speed. I dig that drummer Zack Simmons isn’t tethered to double bass speed at all times. Here he gives not only a solid groove but also a few off time moves and some tasty chops as well. I have to give it up to Duet again; a killer solo rides through the middle of “In Deathless Tradition”.

“Judgment Of The Bleeding Crown” is a straight black metal jam with a dash of thrash tossed in for soloing purposes. “Beyond The Spell Of The Discontent” shows off Goatwhore’s punk rock roots while “Death To The Architects Of Heaven” is their fucked up nod to the bay area thrash scene. Blood For The Master is a cornucopia of musical enjoyments all skinned, bathed in blood and offered up on a platter made of skulls.

The final touch to what makes Goatwhore so good is the vocals of Louis Benjamin Falgoust III. For the most part when I hear barking and growling vocals I tune out. They’re usually so boring I end up wishing the band had gone instrumental. Falgoust approaches his vocal duties from a different angle. Sure he screeches but you can understand him, he’s growly but not to a point that he sounds like a pissed off bulldog. To put it best, Falgoust adds a dash of humanity, which makes all the difference.

What folks seem to miss with Goatwhore is the level of musicianship and the quality of the songs. This isn’t just a collection of hyper riffs played over double bass jerk off drums with some dude screaming over them. The fifteen years of live shows and albums have created some real songwriters here and if you listen to Blood For The Master with a critical ear you’ll catch an album way ahead of the genre it’s lumped into. That’s the magic with Goatwhore, you can take what they do at face value or you can dig deeper. Either way you’ll end up dancing around your room and debating whether or not tonight is the night you burn the Earth to cinders.





Locrian And Mamiffer

Bless Them That Curse You

Sige Records

On a completely different musical plane comes Bless Them That Curse You, an opus of instrumental music from Locrian And Mamiffer, a project from former Isis member Aaron Turner and his wife artist/pianist Faith Coloccia. This is music that deals mainly in textures and moods. There is no real structured musical execution on Bless Them That Curse You. It’s a mind fuck, a dark trip through the ethereal. What makes the record so great is it leaves definitions out of the equation. You take what you put in; you feel what you want during the music. It’s an interactive session between artist and listener.  Locrian And Mamiffer don’t want to tell you what the music is, they want you to find out for yourself.

To build an epic soundscape like this you have to understand emotions on a basic level. So many who attempt these kinds of ambient records think of them as easy. Some keyboards here, a bit of noise there, maybe a plodding riff born from the doom genre and that’s all. Those records are by and large boring. Locrian And Mamiffer takes the ideas of darkness, isolation, sadness and even celebration and breaks them down to an instinctual level. Bless Them That Curse you is a record of all feeling. The soundscapes and noises attach themselves to your subconscious. Without realizing it, you’re moved by the music. Your soul is lifted away and carried to another place entirely.

 Isis bassist Jeff Caxide achieved this same magic with his Crone project, and while ideologically the two albums are similar, Locrian And Mamiffer take a different approach to their music. The Crone album Endless Midnight was, in my opinion, one complete musical movement, almost like a classical piece. It had no breaks in it, no matter what the track listing said. Bless Them That Curse You is the flipside; each song is a different set of circumstances and textures. “In Fluminic Blaze” opens with noise. Dense and foreboding, the sound grows louder until it releases into quiet acoustic guitars played over light tribal drumming. When the noise returns and the instruments begin fighting it for dominance, the result is sonically staggering.

The title track is another movement altogether. Building from absolute silence, the song is a loop of sounds that come across like the death toll for one of H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones or the soundtrack to scenes from the end of the world. Very creepy, subtle and unnerving. “Corpus Luteum” is simple and beautiful. Piano and strings work together perfectly for an effect that’s heartbreaking. To me “Corpus Luteum” is an ode to sadness and despair through the eyes of someone who remains eternally hopeful. That dichotomy is what makes Bless Them That Curse You so goddamn good.

The final track, “Metis/Armanthine/The Emperor”, is a nearly twenty-minute slice of just how perfect this genre can be. Turner and Coloccia take everything they’ve done throughout the record and bring it together on this track. Guiding this journey are lush and haunting vocals. As the track progresses the noise element takes over. It’s not jarring but it does shake you from the original beauty of the song. The final minutes bring in a nightmare doom. I don’t use the term mesmerized very often but it fits here. For eighteen minutes and fifty nine seconds I could not move. I could only sit with my eyes closed and feel the music surround me. I only wish I had been on really good drugs during the experience. Like Crone, Locrian And Mamiffer redefines the scope of ambient music. Bless Them That Curse You could lead to back-to-back years that former members of Isis make my top ten list.