BLASPHEMER: THE PREMIERE OF “NAZARENE” AND A REVIEW OF “LUST OF THE GOAT”
The British band Blasphemer, whose roots go back to 1990, returned to the field of battle with a self-titled album in 2017 after a 20-year gap in their musical output. The story of what happened to the band after their auspicious beginnings is recounted in this NCS interview. Fortunately, as that interview foretold, Blasphemer have let much less time pass between releases since then, with a second album now due for release by Grind Scene Records on November 30th.
While last year’s self-titled album was a roughly 50/50 mix of old Blasphemer compositions and new ones, Lust of the Goat brings eight newly-written tracks, one of which (“Child Catcher”) debuted last month, and we’re bringing you another one today. This new track, which closes the album, is “Nazarene“.
When you listen to Lust of the Goat you’d never know this band had a 20-year gap in their music-making. It sounds like they’ve been eating, breathing, and sleeping death metal since 1990, without any dimming of the fires that fuel their fury.
But this new album — which combines the talents of founding members Mass Firth (vocals, guitars) and Arno Cagna (guitars) and newer members Dale Brown (bass) and Dan Mullins (drums) — also sounds like the work of experienced musicians and mature songwriters, and in that sense the passage of time has been a big plus factor.
All the songs are technically very impressive and loaded with ideas. They feature swift, turn-on-a-dime changes in tempos, drum rhythms, and riffing, just about all of it guaranteed to make a headbanger happy. But while the songs include abundant changes, including alterations of atmosphere, the music is, in broad strokes, unremittingly and often ghoulishly savage.
The band’s preferred speed is hell-for-leather, and that includes the fast-twitch fretwork, which features a plethora of tremolo-driven riffs, macabre leads, and a carnival of freakish (and freakishly good) guitar solos. The riffs alternate multiple times across each song — seething and drilling, jolting and jabbing.
You’ll encounter bursts of crazed, blaring melody intertwined with cold, murderous vibrations, and pile-driving percussive sequences matched with thrashing gallops. The music sometimes sounds lunatic, whirling like a mad dervish, or so diseased and ghastly that it generates a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach.
When the band ease back on the throttle (which they often do, at least briefly), things get even more monstrous and horror-stricken. The title track, for example, includes a slow, lurching momentum and a grim and dismal melody with bursts of spectral guitar wailing and a reptilian solo that becomes a shrieker. An equally gruesome sequence opens “Ratlines”; “The Scythe” includes a truly grisly off-pace part with a solo that slowly oozes disease and misery; and the mere title of “Corpse River” forecasts the mood of what lies ahead (or at least part of it).
The vocals are a big part of the music’s overarching feeling of gruesome, merciless, full-throttle blood-lust. The superheated howls and blood-curdling growls, accented by gritty gagging and gurgling emissions, sound only barely human, which is of course exactly what most of us death metal deviants want.
As mentioned earlier, the performances are technically impressive without being “showy” or distracting — well, except for the guitar solos. They’re definitely distracting, because they’re so riveting. They’re key features of each song (usually coming in pairs), even though they’re quite varied — darting, slithery, extravagantly incendiary, pestilential, and wailing like a specter that’s itself lost and haunted.
The song we’re premiering today happens to be both the album closer and the longest track on the record (at six minutes). It showcases the dynamism of the band’s song-writing, ranging from warlike assaults of ripping and writhing riffage and militaristic drumming to music that seems to weep tears of blood (and a lot more happens besides that). It’s a fitting send-off to an album by a band who, almost 30 years after their inception, are firing on all cylinders.
Lust of the Goat was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Dan Mullins; the vocals were recorded at the Eagles Nest by Grruff. The artwork was created by Venomousrapture.
Check out “Nazarene” below, along with the band’s video for the album’s first advance track, “Child Catcher” (which is about the British serial child predator Jimmy Savile).
1. Lust of the Goat
2. Child Catcher
3. Corpse River
4. Suicidal Execution
5. Command to Kill
7. The Scythe
Really dug their previous album — was I alone in hearing a Sepultura vibe à la Arise, especially the first track? Based on the embed, this seems worth checking out also, but £10 for the digital album, really?!