Even with a name like Goatwhore, there’s room for subtlety.
Yes, there are Satanic overtones in Goatwhore’s lyrics — duh — and their music reflects it, with the kind of hardcore black metal crunch you’d expect in the drums, guitars and, of course, the vocals (also duh). But the last record’s lyrics come from a concept album, Vengeful Ascension, which portray Lucifer as an underdog slighted by a God who was equally oppressive.
L. Ben Falgoust II, the band’s singer (and keeper of one of the best metal monikers in history), uses historical references to color the themes, but Zack Simmons, the drummer, likes to apply the lyrics to real life. At some point we’ve all felt oppressed by a higher power, metaphorically or otherwise. Maybe this is a little deeper than you’d expect from a band named Goatwhore, but Simmons is used to those expectations selling the band a little short.
“Ben doesn’t like writing those juvenile, rebellious teenager sorts of things for shock value,” Simmons said in a phone interview with BandWagon. “You won’t hear ‘Hail Satan’ on our records.”
Still, you will likely hear material that dwells on witchcraft, the occult and Satanic themes, and that’s true of the latest record, slated to be released this fall. Fans thirsty for some new material — Vengeful Ascension was released in 2017 — won’t be disappointed, Simmons said.
“It’s pretty much anything you would expect from a Goatwhore record,” he said. “Conceptually we wouldn’t stray too far from the usual subject matter. But as far as the music goes, it’s twists and turns.”
If you’re a fan, don’t worry, there’s plenty of crunch (it will be released on Metal Blade Records, after all). But the songs are more varied. There’s faster stuff, and then there’s a song that Simmons said “definitely pushes the boundaries for us.” Simmons compares that song, in 6/8 time, to Metallica’s “The Call of Ktulu.” The song isn’t an instrumental, but it is slow, epic and maybe a tiny bit pretty.
Simmons said the band has had the newest record finished for nearly six months. They would have released it sooner, but, you know, the pandemic. They recorded it more than a year ago.
“We’ve been living with it for so long, it almost doesn’t feel new to us,” Simmons said. “I almost got burned out on it. I had to set it aside. I know eventually we will start playing the new stuff and I don’t want to be sick of the songs by the time we do that.”
Simmons is self-aware of the band’s name. He’s so used to it by now he’s a little detached from it, but he always feels a little strange telling “a normal person” the origins of it.
There are two stories associated with it: One of them involves a stripper with “the face of a goat,” he said, and the other involves the English religion founder Aleister Crowley, a favorite subject among occultists, and a certain sex ceremony that’s best left unstated. It’s a goofy name, but it carries enough grit to be a good metal name in a genre known for bizarre band names that call upon the extremes of society (for context, three other well known active metal bands are named Death, Angel Witch and Holocaust).
The band has not toured since 2019 and is ready to carry their personal brand of musical extremes to the stage. They will play at the Moxi Theater in downtown Greeley on May 18. You won’t hear much, if any, new stuff live until this fall, when Goatwhore will kick off a monster tour in support of the new record. But yet another new album may be coming sooner than you think, or at least sooner than in another five years.
“We’re pretty stoked about the new record,” Simmons said, “but ideas are always flowing.”