This one man blast of black/speed metal from Espírito Santo, Brazil was formed in 2013 and though it might be fully conceived and performed by a man named Hades, he is clearly possessed by Quorthon‘s earliest demons. At least it seems that way, as the major driving factor for Goat Worship‘s second full-length ‘Shore of the Dead’ is the early Venom and Discharge influenced speed metal from Bathory in the mid-80’s. Hades‘ previous debut full-length from 2016 ‘Blood and Steel’ aimed more towards a mix of early Kreator and ‘Blood Fire Death’ this album has far tighter guitar performances played at a more appropriate speed for the era he is attacking. In a year thick with black/speed metal entries clogging every available orifice Goat Worship hits closest to his inspiration by focusing in on one major source of influence rather than trying to recapture the German black/thrash wave in it’s entirety. This could go either way depending how you feel about early Bathory, I personally worship most all things Quorthon.
Hell, I was honestly going to pass on this entirely until “The Burning of the Witches” more or less cemented my interest with it’s axe-swinging main riff and witching lurch sucked me in hard. Nothing against the opening tracks, I hadn’t really zoned in on their very careful recreation and expansion of ‘The Return…’ and ‘Bathory’ and after several listens I found every aspect of ‘Shore of the Dead’ quite well done compared to a lot of the early Bathory worship I’ve heard over the years. The d-beat elements at double speed that characterized Quorthon‘s early work are carefully studied here, almost to a fault where the drums are mind-numbingly beaten. These moments tend to blend together and the riffs become the only possible focus for the listener. The result is an album not too far from Communion‘s ‘At the Announcement’ initially, but it’s resemblance of ‘The Return…’ is far, far more clear than their Chilean cousins. The real strength of the album is in the mid-paced riff stompers like “The Final Battle” that emulates pre-viking metal era Bathory quite well without touching the damp, wily strangeness of ‘Under the Sign of the Black Mark’ too often.
With so many great, and similarly intentioned, releases this year Goat Worship‘s Hades has managed a very heavy and effective full-length in a sub-genre that is hard to gain any traction in at all. His fine-tuning of ‘Shore of the Dead’ cleans up any issues I had with ‘Blood and Steel’ and expands into far stronger viking-tinged sections. Who knows if he’ll ever fully attempt something closer to ‘Hammerheart’ but for now his thrashing mad tribute to early Bathory is a great listen. I would recommend listening to “The Burning of the Witches” and “Kingdom of the Gods” together, then “The Final Battle” if you’re like me and want the mid-paced epic tracks right away.
|Released||April 26, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Xtreem Music’s Bandcamp!||Follow Goat Worship on Facebook|
I did not die. 3.5/5.0
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