Forever Plagued Records
September 8th, 2014
Release length: 32:44
When people usually hear the term “Raw” in association with Black Metal, they often expect a largely analog outing. This isn’t the case here. ……Return of the Old Goat is far from that as far as the quality goes. The overall production sounds completely black against sharpened guitar riffs, a subtle bass guitar presence, and crisp drums that cover the slightly distant raspy vocals. This helps to make them sound a little more inhuman and intimidating behind music that is already incredibly hot and hostile, feeding the “raw” trait in venomous aggression on par with early Dark Funeral. Well, that is once you get past “Unhallowed Tomb.” This opening immediately sounds like a left-over groove filled cut from prior recording sessions that could easily fit with any random Black Metal group from Norway or Finland. Aside the humid atmosphere and pitch black audio landscape, there’s little that really sticks out as unique other than some of the infectious hooks that hit from time to time, and even a hint of frostbite in the slower passages, such as just past the two minute mark.
While a good song, “Unhallowed Tomb” doesn’t really match the venomous rage on display. But as soon as you hear the sinister animal growls of “Prelude,” you are thrown into a much more raw, unrestricted world. “Funeral Ghoul” mixes some catchy grooves with faster, tighter guitars that establish a maddening ritualistic sensation throughout the five minute offering. “Return of the Old Goat,” however, bares some Speed Metal fangs with infectious riffs and solid two-step drums that make it impossible to not get whipped into an old-school first wave Black Metal frenzy. And then there’s “Ascending the Throne of Satan” which pushes the drumming forward, largely blanketing the truly visceral vocal performance without really losing much energy until the slower, colder section around two minutes creeps along at a Doom Metal pace to throw back to the traditional Black Metal sound initially found on “Unhallowed Tomb.”
……Return of the Old Goat is a surprising mixture of Black Metal through the years, and even through differing regions. Between cold grooves, abrasive and even venomous riffs, and general ritualistic inhumanity in the name of Satan, Funereus provide enough worship for all fans of the genre. While the group may be operating as a two-piece now, there’s no denying the shift in line-up hasn’t affected their output, though the few restricted and traditional cuts definitely belays the mayhem found in the middle of it all a bit, which is sad as this is where the band seems to shine. But, overall, ……Return of the Old Goat is one album of the style that simply shouldn’t be overlooked by any fan of the genre.
01. Unhallowed Tomb – 5:20
02. Prelude – 0:23
03. Funeral Ghoul – 5:00
04. Return of the Old Goat – 5:36
05. Below the Horns of Blasphemy – 6:41
06. Ascending the Throne of Satan – 5:36
07. Umbra Atrox – 4:08
|Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10