Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Archgoat - ‘The Apocalyptic Triumphator’ (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 27/01/2015
Label: Debemur Morti Productions

‘The Apocalyptic Triumphator’ CD//LP//DD track listing:

1). Intro (Left Hand Path)
2). Nuns, Cunts & Darkness
3). The Apocalyptic Triumphator
4). Phallic Desecrator Of Sacred Gates
5). Grand Luciferian Theophany
6). Those Below (Who Dwell In Hell)
7). Intro (Right Hand Path)
8). Congregation Of Circumcised
9). Sado-Magical Portal
10). Light Of Phosphorus
11). Profanator Of The 1st Commandment
12). Funeral Pyre Of Trinity

Archgoat is:

Lord Angelslayer | Bass/Vocals
Ritual Butcherer | Guitars
Sinisterror | Drums


I hope you’ll forgive me for what I know will read like a broken record. I know this sort of thing matters to very few others, and I understand why. It’s really a very small aspect of an album; a single choice, really. And yet for me, it can cripple even the best of material depending on how the other pieces fall into place. If this sounds like an apology; in some ways it is. There is so much about Archgoat and their newest album ‘The Apocalyptic Triumphator’ that I like. Everything about Archgoat is right up my alley except for that one thing: flat, “everything all at once” blast beats.

Depending on the musical context surrounding the album, I might be able to tolerate or even enjoy an album that uses this kind of blast beat sparingly. Suffocation, Internal Bleeding, even the recently reformed Gorelust have gotten “passes” on using this technique from me because music has enough of a rhythmic focus for it to work. I still don’t like it in principle. Archgoat’s ugly, barbaric black metal does not lend itself to the use of this technique at all. The monolithic guitar wall begs for the barely controlled chaos of a real blast beat. So when the drums so often rely on this ill-fitting blasting style, it’s severely dampens the impact this music could and should have.

Everything else going on is top-notch. I’d be spending this whole review extolling its virtue and defying others to come up with something this compelling while remaining this orthodox. But I can’t. I can’t get beyond the way this drumming choice hurts the album. It’s the same for just about all of Archgoat’s material, but we’re talking about ‘The Apocalyptic Triumphator’ in specific. I call it a choice, because from time to time, Sinisterror will break out (in my mind) a real blast beat and I nearly cheer out loud every time it happens. He’s clearly very talented and more than capable of using the “right” technique at any time. In fact, if he were to read this he’d probably wonder who I am to question his drumming choices, especially considering that he’s continuing the style Blood Desecrator used on earlier releases, not to mention that I haven’t owned a drumset in nearly 15 years. That’s a fair point, and my only defense is that this preference is so deeply embedded in my mind and my conviction is so strong about this that I simply can’t ignore it.

If I were able to ignore it, I would recommend that everyone buy this album immediately because it’s so damned enthralling otherwise. It’s just about as time-honored and battle-tested as black metal in this vein gets. It’s powerful in a way few black metal albums can be, and it’s dark in a way few bands capable of mustering. You should seek this out immediately, because you probably don’t care at all about blasting techniques or the way it changes the dynamic of a song, and I know I shouldn’t care so much about it either. The only way I can fairly sum up my thoughts about ‘The Apocalyptic Triumphator’ is that if I didn’t have this hang up, I can guarantee you I’d be writing about this album again eleven months from now. Since the vast majority of you don’t have the same issue, I urge you to give this album a shot right now.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

Digital copy may become available later at the DMP Bandcamp page.
Order a CD/LP copy here.

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