After two decades of existence extreme metallers Goatwhore show no sign of wear and tear as they’ve just released what’s possibly their best and most well-rounded album to date – Vengeful Ascension. If you haven’t heard it yet then I strongly urge you to check it out as it’s quite the corker.
Drummer Zack Simmons talked to us a bit about the new album…
Introduce us to Goatwhore – what are your influences?
It started off with a lot of the earlier black metal stuff like Venom, Bathory, and Celtic Frost but we also draw inspiration from bands like Motorhead, Sodom, and Bolt Thrower. Older black metal and death metal as well as all the classic heavy metal we grew up listening to.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Tell us about Vengeful Ascension
Its a pretty diverse record for us and covers a lot of territory in the different styles we like to dabble in. It definitely sounds like Goatwhore but forges some new ground and pushes the boundaries of what we normally do. We recorded the album to two inch tape once again but decided to try a different studio and producer this time around. This record was all about stepping out of our comfort zone and taking chances.
What are some of the lyrical themes on the album about?
A lot of the lyrics on this record come from the idea of Lucifer’s struggle as a symbol of light always being thwarted in his attempt to rise against the powers of god. Metaphorically and symbolically this idea applies to personal and real life ideas as well.
How were the songs written?
Most of the record was written between tours during our last record cycle. Since our bass player and I don’t live in New Orleans, Sammy would email song ideas so we could go back and forth and formulate a game plan for when we all got together again. The songs are always solidified when we’re all together in the practice room though.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
That’s a tough question but I’d have to say Chaos Arcane. Its got the full-on intensity from front to back and is a blast to play live. Some really good riffing, vocals, and as a drummer, really fun parts to play. The transition in the middle section is pretty damn heavy.
Are you happy with how the album turned out?
I’m very happy with it. With every album we just try to do the best we can at the time so maybe a year from now there might be a few things I’d wish I’d done differently and that’ll provide inspiration to improve with the following record. I think the risks we took with this album really paid off and everybody involved did an outstanding job.
If you had to do it over again, would you change anything?
As of now I’d say no. What’s done is done, you know? There comes a time where you think about something so much that you just have to let it be.
What lessons have you learned from Vengeful Ascension that you will take forward for your next recording?
I think the experience in general of recording each album makes us stronger as players and as a band and that know-how will play into the next record and so forth. You learn how to work more efficiently and just go in there and knock it out.
How would you compare Vengeful Ascension to your earlier work?
There are a lot of elements in these songs that go back to early Goatwhore records. As a fan of the first two albums it was exciting for me to see some of those elements revisited. That said, it also covers some newer ground for us. There are some slower, more melodic things that we haven’t really done before.
How do you think Goatwhore fit in with the global extreme metal scene in 2017?
I think we can hold our own playing with pretty much any band out there these days. We’ve always done such diverse tours and have realised that there is some sort of cross appeal that transcends us just being a death metal band or black metal band. We see ourselves as metal and don’t like all these classifications. We can tour with a punk band like Casualties and then go straight into a tour with Amon Amarth. I think its great.
Playing live – essential or pointless?
For us it is essential. We need to be out there and in people’s faces. I think to get the full experience of any band its really important to see them live.
What’s been your favourite recent tour that you’ve been on?
We recently did a US run with Amon Amarth which was incredible. We’ve been friends with those guys for a long time so it was great to be back on the road with them.
Do you have any upcoming shows you want to talk about?
We are heading out with Venom Inc and Toxic Holocaust for a six week full North American run. Very excited about this tour!
What will Goatwhore be up to for the rest of the year?
After the Venom Inc tour we will hopefully get over to Europe in November and December. It has been a while since we’ve been across the pond and I think its time.
Any final words?
Thanks for reading! Check out Vengeful Ascension and come out to a show!