Label: Season of Mist Underground Activists
Date: October 29th, 2021
Underneath this masterful, disturbing cover art and a name that screams cliché, you can hardly expect hard rocking power ballads, right? Of course you don’t. What you see is exactly what you get. Extreme ferocity, pulverizing energy and devastating power. And… Well, that’s about it. Unfortunately.
Goat Torment has reached a decent level of recognition in the underworld during their years. Not undeservingly, I must admit. Not everyone gets a chance on such a label, anyway, which only stands to prove my point. However, to my ears at least, the Belgians run along the well-trodden path, without moving an inch outside the box. That alone might raise some eyebrows, but it doesn’t necessarily make them successful at it.
My problem with the vast majority of bands, with such a musical provenance, is the lack of any deeper impact on the listener. I mean, it all sounds quite similar. Blackened death metal (or vice versa) always has the same parameters to which the bands align. They all have that monster of production. All of them are supreme masters of satanic power and ultimate savagery. And last, but certainly not least, the atmospheric surrounding bringing forth the deepest Lovecraftian primordial caves.
So does Goat Torment, which makes this album a treat for all the fans of the genre. There are quite a few of them, so there should be no issue with this record being a hit among them.
Then again, think about the bands that influenced this duo. According to the press release, that is. Dead Congregation has all of the above elements implemented in their sound, but they have that something extra. The “je ne sais quoi” that makes them such a brutal force. Perhaps it’s this particular, Greek addition that gives them a power boost. Marduk, for the most part, lacks the death metal element, but they more than make up for it in immeasurable black metal onslaught. Not to mention the sheer mass of the catchy riffing and the compositional skill. Profanatica, Archgoat… All of them seem to possess that “pick of destiny” piece of devil’s tooth that gives them a legendary status.
I would also add Belphegor to the equation. Especially when you look at the mentioned cover art and slower parts of Goat Torment’s creation. But that’s all beside the point. As many as there are fans of such music style, there are bands who dwell on it. And, as with all the multitudes, there are many that just don’t deliver what’s needed.
Thus, we’ve come to Goat Torment. “Forked Tongues”, undoubtedly, provides for a grand listening session. Or a couple. Hell, the album might even come back to my stereo once in a while. Still, I’ve given it quite a few spins already and following each of them all I’ve got left with is the sense of the doomed atmosphere of the menacing ooze. That’s fine for a moment, but it soon evaporates in the myriads of similar ones.
Bottom line is, if you’re uncritical towards the genre, bingo! You’ve got a winner here. If you’re just looking for about forty three minutes of vicious sonic pounding, congratulations! You’ve found it. Otherwise, you might as well leave your money elsewhere.