Sunday, 29 January 2012

#124 Archgoat - The Light Devouring Darkness

And now, to bring the trilogy of bestial black/death metal bands, which, retrospectively, are fairly tenuously linked, to a close, I'm going to review Archgoat. I heard of Archgoat long after I heard of Von and Blasphemy, but they, like the other bands were busy doing things at around the same times; the very early nineties, and as such, seemed a natural accompaniment to two. 

 The similarities of the three bands are definitely notable, and I wondered how this fact would affect my ability to review their music. Fortunately, differences are very much present, in excess of my expectations. "The Light Devouring Darkness" was released in the very not-nineties time of 2009, just going to show that unlike, so far, Von and Blasphemy, Archgoat are still doing things - sure, the other two bands manage the occasional EP or DVD, but Archgoat have brought out at least an equal discography, and that's before counting the two full-lengths the band have made since reforming in 2004. The relative freshness of the album is very much apparent, especially in terms of the production quality, which is much, much, MUCH higher, almost to the point of being above a lot of today's black-metal, let alone war metal, as many would herald Archgoat's style to be. Nonetheless, this relative crispness does nothing to hinder the Juggernaut of evil which vomits forth from my speakers upon playing the music. I certainly enjoy it a lot more than Von or indeed Blasphemy, just for the fact that is sounds so much more complete and clear, and while this may contradict the music's aesthetical code, in the eyes of some, I'm certainly embracing it.

I admire the way that the band bring a different kind of evil into their music when compared to "standard" black metal. I may well have said the same for Blasphemy, but I feel that it's even more true of Archgoat - they bring, as opposed to an eeriness, a wild, blasphemous fucking thunder of cloven-hoofed misanthropy to the party, something which before, I'd heard only in the entirely different musical context of bands like Abigail, from Japan. I may sound very naive to say that it's a relatively new style to me, but... well... it is. I certainly appreciate it though - It's got all of the evil of black metal, but keeps the pounding, memorable nature, and attitude of the other forms of metal which influence it.

I've found reviewing three albums of a similar style to be as educating as it was taxing, and I certainly might not have looked at any of the bands in as much detail if I hadn't decided to make myself do this. In the end, it was definitely worth it. Archgoat may well be my favourite of the three. This album has been the first of theirs that I've listened to fully, and I'm impressed and excited.

This is 9/10. In my opinion, a cut above the rest.

Archgoat official site
Archgoat on Myspace
Archgoat on Metal Archives