Archgoat - Heavenly Vulva (ep)
I had heard, at some point in the past and like many things from long ago, quickly forgotten about Archgoat. Their sound seemed a minimalistic and rather narrow-minded view at what has more and more commonly been termed at "War Metal". What is War Metal, you ask? A dense mixture of black, death and grindcore, something that comes off as a hate-fueled mix of atmosphere and aggression. Of course, knowing that Archgoat were basically not a band for 11 years helped me forget about them, but their music at that time did little for me. Now, all these years later they've (long since, starting around 2004) have reunited and Heavenly Vulva is their latest release. What's changed? Focus, I suppose. There's a singular thread of musical identity to be found within the 16 minutes of this EP, and while there's always something to be said for consistency, it still doesn't do a whole lot for me.
I am a very impressionable person when it comes to the much-overused but usually effective intro track. I prefer these to have some sort of tone-setting demeanor and nature, being able to warrant the space they fill in replacement of an actual song to set a mood for the rest of the album to follow on. Heavenly Vulva's intro doesn't do all that, but like I said, I am very impressionable and something about the backward-spoken chants and the tone that goes off between verses seriously creeps me out. Onward, the title track shows that Archgoat have definitely gotten better with their riffs, however blatantly simplistic and blunt the overall soundscape may be. The vocals are a pedestrian and standard grindcore grunting that remain both indecipherable and indistinguishable from track to track. Consistentcy. What else really stands out? Well the sensual moaning (couple this with the cover art for a truly blasphemous idea) that leads into a (goat? pig? what the hell was that?) animal noise that leads into "Penetrator of the Second Temple", which has some interesting Slayer-esque guitar leads. "Day of Clouds" is by far the best thing Archgoat has ever done if you ask me, it has real drive, purpose, stands out from it's peers and the funeral bell offsetting the rhythm in certain sections is a wonderful little touch.
Consistently average is nothing to really write home about, but it's hard to disregard Heavenly Vulva simply because it only offers about 1/3 of what a full album should be. Judging it strictly as an EP still leads me to believe that, if we are to receive a whole album's worth of material soon, that it will also be consistent in it's mediocrity. For what it's worth, this EP has put them back into my sphere of consciousness, and I will be consistently awaiting their upcoming LP...if it ever happens at all, of course.
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