Goat Torment – Sermons To Death


Dark and deviant

Review by Paul Castles

Armor Fati Productions

Release date: 20 July 2015

The unavoidable question that first needs addressing here is ‘is there enough room on our overcrowded planet for another metal band with ‘goat’ in their name?’ Plucking just a few from the ether, there’s Goatwhore, Archgoat, Goatsnake and never forgetting the ubiquitous Milking the Goat Machine. Well, having played SermonsTo Death to death the answer to our opening question is, well yes of course, especially when they are as dark and deviant as Goat Torment. Since these Belgium members of the Lucifer Appreciation Society first stamped their hooves in anger in 2008 the carousel of members has rarely been at a standstill with new faces coming and then going.

Chances are being in Goat Torment can be something of a rough ride with Kwei the only original member still standing. Just under a year ago he lost his drummer S and so the sticks have been picked up by Torturer who has performed with such black metal grandees as Belphegor, along with Bethlehem. Although a trio earlier in their journey, Goat Sermon now operate as a straight duo with Kwei, on this release at least, providing guitar, bass and vocal support to Torturer’s drum bombardment.

Sermons To Death opens with a nondescript whispy intro that creates a suitably tense atmosphere during three minutes of sombre shuffling which eventually give way to a solitary clanging bell before the hounds of hell are well and truly unleashed, salivating and snapping, on the bestial ‘Bones Aligned’. Torturer’s frantic pummelling fits neatly into the black metal mould, while Kwei’s barbed barks cut through the blackened clouds along with a savage riff overload. Mid-track a crushing beat breaks out with crater sized sonic grooves over which Kwei barks like a sad seal whose pup was last seen disappearing into the gullet of a whale.

On ‘Rising Dominion’ the tempo is a little more balanced but the overall atmosphere remains caked in satanic smears, the calmer more restrained sections quickly trampled underfoot as the mayhem explodes with Torturer coming down ever harder and with greater frequency on his beleaguered drumkit. Longest track ‘Hierarchy of Negligence’ begins steadily with a droning heavyweight of a riff before the detonator is triggered and Goat Torment fire up the black gods with more satanic warbling as blastbeats bounce off the walls like pool balls ricocheting off the cushion.

The album then throws in a couple of short tracks. ‘Within the Realm of Darkness’ consists of little more than some haunting monastic chants while the infinitely more aggressive ‘Defloration of the Holy Cunt’ is as twisted and tortured as its title unapologetically suggests. The song structures return to something approaching normal with the storming ‘Death is Crowned’ which weaves in some slower sections to great effect with Torturer maintaining a surging rhythm on drums and cymbals from his stool. On ‘The Domineering Profane’ Kwei roars like a bear that’s lost his honeypot as the machinegun flurry of blastbeats crash and explode with the rhythms carving up their own destructive course.

The final song, ‘Of Fire and Brimstone’ is the album’s longest at just over seven minutes and its content is conveniently captured in its title. This is a hellish outburst and you can almost smell the smoke as the flames dance around the edge of your speakers. Goat Torment are unlikely to win any friends from outside the black metal fraternity but for those who tread the decaying corridors of darkness Sermons to Death should be greeted with open arms.

Goat Torment – SermonsToDeath7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Opening the Gates
  2. Bones Aligned
  3. Rising Dominion
  4. Hierarchy of Negligence
  5. Within the Realm of Darkness
  6. Defloration of the Holy Cunt
  7. Death is Crowned
  8. The Domineering Profane
  9. Of Fire and Brimstone