Archgoat : Whore Of Bethlehem

coverHammer Of Hate – 2006
Format: 2xCD

Well, it took them over a decade to get it done, but here it is: the debut full-length of the legendary Finnish Black Metal-band Archgoat. It’s an understatement to say the expectations were high, considering their legendary status and just how awesome Angelcunt (Tales Of Desecration) is. Yeah, I admit that it’s a bit unfair to expect so much from any band, but anything short of a milestone would be a disappointment.

The first thing you notice is the sound. The sound on Angelcunt is heavy, thick and fucking brutal, giving the band a Death Metallic aspect of massive, crushing brutality combined with the ferocity and primitivity of Black Metal. Well, that is gone. The guitars sound a lot thinner, and the bass is a lot less prominent in the mix (although clearly audible still). Hollow’s the word that describes the guitar sound. That’s not good. It robs the music of one of the elements that made an impact, that gave it strength. The vocals are good though, bestial and cavernous.

The music then… well, it’s not as good as I expected it to be. It’s okay, but far from groundbreaking or gob-smacking. To be honest, the songs sound like they could have been written by any decent, somewhat talented Black Metal-group; far from what I’d hope a band with such a legendary status (and with such an impressive MLP under their belt) would do. Yes, it’s chaotic, it’s raw, and yes, it’s brutal. But that’s it. It’s not outstanding and excellent. It does sadden me a bit to say this, but I am disappointed.

The limited digipack edition comes with a Video-CD containing two gigs: Under The Black Sun Festival in 2006 and a gig at Riihimäki in 1993. The 2006 gig has okayish, although thoroughly amateurish camera work and passable although very thin sound. Nothing spectacular, but fans will like it. The 1993 gig, on the other hand, is only of trivial value because the tape it is sourced from is obviously nearly disintegrated: the sound is a mess and the video quality worse. Unintelligible is the word we’re looking for here.

In conclusion, Whore Of Bethlehem is far from the milestone I was hoping it would be. It’s a decent album, but only decent. I wouldn’t even call it “good”. I can’t help but feel rather disappointed at how it turned out, even though I realize and admit my expectations were high from the start. But sometimes you just hope for so much, and when you get something less… well, it’s unsatisfactory. And that’s how I’d describe Whore Of Bethlehem: okay, but very unsatisfactory.

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