Big easy metal

NOLA’s Goatwhore brings a fury of metal to Oddbody’s

By Gary Spencer

Being in a band that is constantly touring and trying to make a living out of its art isn’t easy. New Orleans-based heavy metal quartet Goatwhore, featuring Sammy Duet (guitar, vocals), L. Ben Falgoust II (lead vocals), T.A. (bass) and Zack Simmons (drums), have endured more than their fair share of setbacks and even natural disasters. So the fact that the band is still together and making metalheads go crazy almost 20 years later is somewhat of a miracle.

“[Falgoust] was involved in a van wreck while on tour and his injuries resulted in not knowing if he’d be able to walk again,” Simmons shares. “Hurricane Katrina was a major setback that forced us to relocate to Arizona to finish writing the A Haunting Curse record. Things like that either defeat you or push you harder to overcome them and persevere. It just comes down to being a strong-willed person and knowing that quitting isn’t an option.”

And Goatwhore has certainly persevered over the course of its 18-year career, formed by former Acid Bath guitarist Duet in 1997 in Thibodaux, Louisiana, after that band dissipated. Looking to make music with more of an extreme edge, Duet enlisted former Soilent Green vocalist Falgoust shortly thereafter, and the original lineup released the Serenades to the Tides of Blood demo the next year. Goatwhore followed up with its first official full-length The Eclipse of Ages into Black in 2000 and began their regular regimen of virtually nonstop gigging and touring. Simmons came aboard as the band’s drummer in 2003 around the time of the release of the second slab of musical punishment, Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun. But don’t be misled—most of the group’s music is anything but dirge-like.

“The basis of our sound would be considered black metal or death metal, but we have a strong punk and thrash element in the music, as well,” Simmons elaborates. “We are heavily influenced by the first wave of black metal bands such as Bathory, Venom, Celtic Frost. It even goes farther back to bands like Judas Priest and Motörhead. The lyrics are very dark and rooted in occult, Satanic, anti-religious themes because the devil’s music has a much lower death rate than organized religion ever will.”

In 2014, the band released its sixth, full-length opus and fourth album on the world-famous Metal Blade Records imprint entitled Constricting Rage of the Merciless. While their newest release features more of the guns-a’blazing Satanic fury they’re known for, this newest disc has a darker, more sinister vibe than perhaps they’ve ever exhibited. It seems that working with former Morbid Angel and current Hate Eternal guitarist Erik Rutan has brought out the best in Goatwhore, as their newest album might be the most musically varied and just plain gnarly release to date—and a lot of that intangibly gnarly vibe might be partially owed to the band’s decision to opt for analog tape rather than digital.

“Our latest record has a lot of the elements of our past releases, but I think it covers new ground, as well,” Simmons explains. “It’s just a natural evolution of our sound, and I think it’s our most cohesive album. …  With each album we try to improve, and recording to tape was the next step for us to try and get the sound we were looking for. It’s a more time consuming process and really demands a killer performance all the way through, but the result really speaks for itself. A lot of metal albums these days sound really fake and sterile, so we wanted to go against that trend and make a record that didn’t rely on a bunch of studio trickery.”

As strong as Goatwhore’s albums have been across the board, the place where Goatwhore has really built its reputation is as a live band, including stints opening for metal icons like Venom and Celtic Frost as well as two appearances on Ozzfest and numerous tours of Europe.

“When we play live, we strive for in-your-face intensity,” Simmons says. “There are no goofy stage props or crazy light show. Our aim is to give the fans andw ourselves an outlet for aggression and to have a good time.”

Goatwhore has all intentions on getting in your face when they land in Dayton for their show at Oddbody’s, and while it’s been a minute, Simmons says they have all sights on having a great time with headbangers in the Gem City.

“We look forward to playing your fine city again and hopefully it doesn’t take another 10 years!” Simmons says. “I hope to see you all there for a rowdy night of heavy metal!”

Goatwhore performs on Thursday, Feb. 25 at Oddbody’s Music Room, 5418 Burkhardt Rd. in Dayton. Letters To The Blind, 7L9v9ls, DARK SOUL, Forces of Nature and Eyes On Orion are also on the bill. Show is 18 and up, and tickets are $20 in advance. Doors open at 6 p.m., music at 6:30 p.m. For more information, please visit goatwhore.net or oddbodys.com.

Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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