What can I say, sometimes you just have to grab promo because it’s obnoxious and crude and sounds like a wacky way to ride out the week. Native to Peru, an area that offers as varied a range of metal as the biodiversity of the country itself, and following on from two live albums and a host of splits with Nazxul, Krieg, Levifer, and Japan’s Sabbat, Goat Semen are delivering their debut full-length release – Ego Svm Satana. Unsure as to exactly what to expect from the goat worshipping heathens, and knowing the album was a decade in the making, a healthy dose of anticipation had me quickly establishing that Goat Semen play the kind of loud-mouthed, obnoxious black metal that veers into thrash, death, doom and sometimes even grind territory with similarities to Anal Vomit, Wicca, Sextrash and others that I’ll get to down the line.
Ego Svm Satana kicks off with “Letanias de Satan,” a short track that holds some similarities to the opening track from Sextrash‘s Sexual Carnage. It’s raw and darkly atmospheric with much of the vocal contribution consisting of prayers and invocations to conjure up the underworld. Following close behind, “Holocausto” sets the tone for what you can expect in “Genocidio,” “Warfare Noise,” “Altares De Pandemonium” and “Madre Muerte” with track length being the big differentiator. Only a short way into the album, you’ll discover that Erick Neyra has a vocal style similar to that of Anal Vomit‘s Milo Possessor, ranging between crude puking, croaking gurgles and barking black metal shrieks dripping with mania so varied and layered that I initially found it hard to imagine there was one vocalist.
Musically Satyricon’s drumwork has a frenzied feel, with blast beats competing with fills, competing with more blasting – it’s brutally ugly but at the same time satisfying, resembling the delivery used by Impaled Nazarene or once again, Anal Vomit. Axeman Wa Han Beleth shoehorns squealing flourishing solos à la Wicca and Sextrash into the mix every chance he gets, and while not particularly unique, they’re great focal points in all the schizophrenia. Vocals and guitar solos play off of each other effectively, either one or the other wailing at some point as if being slaughtered or sacrificed. The remaining tracks (“Hambre, Peste, Guerra y Muerte” and “Ego Svm Satana”) have an unexpectedly doomy vein that pops up from time to time, with the element drawing once again from Sextrash. If nothing else, it certainly sets these two numbers apart and provides some diversity.
Apart from being a collection of nine songs that fail to commit to memory easily, be it the lack of catchy vocal anchors or the fact that Goat Semen don’t really have any unique, original elements, the lengthier tracks suffer from overstaying their welcome. A short and brutal impact was what I was after from Ego Svm Satana, and only part of the album fits the bill.
Despite, or maybe because of the production problems that plagued this album during 2013, Goat Semen turned to Arthur Rizk (responsible for the engineering, mixing and production of Inquisition‘s Obscure Verses for the Multiverse) to produce the album and his attention to detail has paid off handsomly. It has the right balance of blackened DIY-authenticity combined with a pleasant focus on dynamics that allow the bass riffs to punch through, guitar solos and vocals to sing out and at the same time, make this less ear-fatiging. Goat Semen have delivered an album that while not unique, is still a good addition to the extreme metal niche they occupy and I’ll keep spinning this. Look past the band name and give it a spin!