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GOATWHORE photo by Nathaniel Shannon
Nathaniel Shannon photo

Revitalizing American metal

There’s a new wave of American extreme metal. Have you heard of it? No?

Well, take notice. 

One of the forefathers of the movement are the Louisiana swamp lords, Goatwhore.  Since 1997 the band has been a staple in this relatively unknown revolution.  For the last few years bands like High on Fire, Cephalic Carnage, Pig Destroyer and The Black Dahlia Murder, among others, have been carving a hidden tunnel of evil that smuggles in the sounds of the American underground. A revolution that has taken over from the Florida death metal scene left dormant in the 1990s.

Forging the way with European influences and instilling a definitive American sound, Goatwhore continues being kings of the vibrant Louisiana metal scene. It just so happens that Louisiana is only a stone’s throw away from the land of FLA, the birthplace of death.  So they packed up camp and made the drive across the state border to the land of Saint Petersburg to record with legendary producer and death metal aficionado Eric Rutland.  The outcome was Goatwhore’s fifth album, Blood for the Master. It sounds like a brewing pot of violent volume and good old-fashioned American angst.

Drumming up the demons is vocalist Ben Falgoust, who was recruited for the open position after a Baton Rouge punch up involving original vocalist, and current guitarist Sammy Duet. “Sammy got in a bar fight in Baton Rouge and he got his jaw broken.  I was into a lot of the shit he was doing and I kind of stepped in and helped out and did some shows and after that things sort of fell into place and they kept going from there,” says Falgoust of his Goatwhore apprenticeship.  A wired jaw later, Ben is in the fold and Goatwhore takes hold.  It’s now been over ten years and Zack Simmons and James Harvey were summoned on drums and bass respectively.

It may be a small coincidence to reach Ben by phone in the Goatwhore tour van on their way to Baton Rouge. The same town of that fateful dust up after a riverboat show at Austin’s South By South West (SXSW).  People have been sticking the black metal label onto Goatwhore like sand on a fresh wound. However, extreme metal is a more deserving term to describe them.  Because, in reality, they are just straight up Southern-fried badass heavy music that covers a number of the many so-called metal sub genres. “People like to put things in categories but using the term extreme leaves it a little bit more open,” Falgoust explains. “We have the angles of death metal, black metal, thrash metal and things like that all kind of blended in even to the point of full on crust, punk and hardcore.” Goatwhore are not a band to be pigeonholed, they just play music that they grew up with and love.

The Vancouver show will mark the beginning of a small Canadian tour that runs from coast to coast. 3 Inches of Blood will jump on the tour to co-headline after the Vancouver date. “The common thing we think about Canada is the cold weather of course but overall, our experiences through the years from the first time until now have been really good,” says Falgoust.Goatwhore are no strangers to Canadian soil and this will actually be their third stop in the last three years.

-Heath Fenton

Goatwhore play the Rickshaw Theatre April 10 with Tyrant’s Blood, M16 and Galgamex.