Album Review: Goat Torment – “Sermons to Death”

goat torment sermons to death

There’s an ocean full of bands with “goat” in their names; Metal Archives lists at least 134 bands that fit the bill. It’s a given that most if not all of them are going to lean towards blasphemy in the name of Satan. Goat Torment is no different. Their production may be a little cleaner than Archgoat, they may not be as polished as Goatwhore, but, they’re still absolutely solid. And on Sermons to Death they show their maturity and skill dressed up in full regalia.

Within Belgium’s storied metal history, Goat Torment are still relatively young. Sermons to Death is only their second full length and third overall release since their formation six years ago. And where their prior LP, Dominande Tenebrae, was slower, more pragmatic and laced with a heavy dose of doom, Sermons to Death is faster, more urgent and more polished. “Bones Aligned” sets the tone with blast beats reminiscent of Dead in the Manger. New skinsman Torturer (Belphegor, Bethlehem) puts in a terrific performance behind the kit. A fuzz dominates his snare and cymbals as the vocals sit underneath the music in the mix, driving the production and working almost as support to his double bass. It’s less raw, but a more focused and complete work overall.

The guitars are probably the largest change to Goat Torment’s sound—and probably the reason Sermons to Death is so successful. The maudlin and showy (and completely out of place) soloing has been replaced with more atmospheric effects. In place of those screaming solos that would be more at home in a thrash setting, the guitar effects are shrill screeches—nearly human sounding—and affectations that add to the track rather than distracting from it.

All that said, Sermons to Death could still have stood to cut a few things. The intro, “Opening the Gates,” is an exceedingly long three minutes and 41 seconds of nothingness. They could have also dropped about four minutes off the end of the album. (Actually, the fifth track “Withing the Realm of Darkness” would probably make a better intro/outro.) Even without those roughly eight minutes, Sermons to Death would still have been a very solid thirty-minute album.

Goat Torment may be a young(ish) band but they’ve matured quickly. Only two years after Dominande Tenebrae the duo has somewhat reinvented their sound and repositioned themselves in the metal scene. And with dark, desecrating tracks like “Defloration of the Holy Cunt,” Goat Torment is well positioned to make a run at increased exposure. Sermons to Death is a very positive turn for the band that now has pressure on their shoulders to continue this path to ascendance.

-Manny-O-War


Sermons to Death will be available July 24 via Armor Fati Productions. For more information on Goat Torment, visit the band’s Facebook page.

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