Goatwhore released their eighth full length studio album this past week on October 7th of 2022, titled Angles Hung From The Arches Of Heaven via Metal Blade Records, a label they’ve been with since their 2006 full-length album, A Haunting Curse. It is their first album in over five years that they’ve delivered to the masses, following up to Vengeful Ascension, which released on June 23rd of 2017. Goatwhore are Blackened Death Metal with a very apparent Thrash undertone in their style, and they are based out of the Musical rich city of New Orleans, Louisiana, where other bands like EYEHATEGOD, Down, and Crowbar are from. The band is made up of drummer Zack Simmons, guitarist Sammy Duet, vocalist & lyricist Louis B. Falgoust II, and bassist Robert “Trans Am” Coleman.
Zack joined Goatwhore at the age of seventeen and made his debut on the A Haunting Curse record. Growing up, he remembered sitting down on his first drumkit, putting on the 1987 release of Ozzy Osbourne’s live record in honor of Randy Rhodes, titled Tribute, to jam along with, which helped evolve his personal style of playing. He said while laughing, “There’s no way I’m playing Tommy Aldrige’s licks at fourteen or fifteen years old, but it was one of those things you just sit down and kind of jam along to it and kind of get the general vibe of where the changes are in a song, where the two and four is in the song, and when the chorus hits and stuff like that, and you kind of learn to get comfortable adding in fills here and there.”
Once he gained a little more experience, he’d put on Slayer’s Reign in Blood as a workout routine and try to get through the whole album. He’d be tired and covered in sweat by the end of the album. “Even if you’re not playing the stuff dead on, accurate, it’s still…As long as you’re making an effort to at least stay in there and commit to playing through the songs, it’s a big thing to help you evolve and improve as a drummer. “
As a drummer, Zack is on the more rhythmic side of things when he connects to the songs. He’s never been a lyrical type of person or someone who decodes them a lot, “I’ve been more paying attention to the cadence and the rhythm of the words in the lyrics and how they play out and play with the Music, but when I read Ben’s lyrics, I’m always amazed at what he’s able to come up with and how he can write such a depth of material and how it never repeats and never has a shortage of ideas, and I’m always amazed at what he’s able to come up with. Especially on this record, it’s some of his best work ever. I’m really impressed and always amazed by that guy, for sure.”
Goatwhore filmed the video for the second track off of Angels Hung From The Arches of Heaven, titled, Born of Satan’s Flesh at an abandoned masonic temple in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. David Brodsky and Allison Woest, who directed and produced the video suggested they do it at that location before driving home, as they had just ended their tour with GWAR. They ended up filming two videos there. The first one being for Born of Satan’s Flesh. “The one for Born of Satan’s Flesh, there was an upstairs portion of the building, so there was natural light coming through those windows, so we utilized the daylight, so we were shooting two videos in a day. It worked out and I really like how Born of Satan’s Flesh turned out, for sure.”
When chatting about the most chaotic parts of Angels Hung From The Arches of Heaven, Zack elaborates that it’s the first piece of Music on the record, which is the second song, Born of Satan’s Flesh, following the one minute and twenty-six-second-long intro track of Invocation 3, a track sounding like what you’d hear if you were inching toward the gates of Hell. He describes Born of Satan’s Flesh as one of the most chaotic songs on the record in terms of pure aggression and chaotic arrangement, “It’s our first record in five years. It’s come out of the gate swinging. It’s like a punch in the face. From then on, it’s kind of funny because the album closer is like the polar opposite vibe than what the first track brings.”
The twelfth track that closes the album is called, And I Was Delivered From The Wound Of Perdition, and it starts out with a very mellow acoustic guitar with some ghostly, symphonic undertones before it kicks into the melodic, yet heavy riffs and slower beating drums, following Ben’s Black Metal, higher pitch style vocals, followed by one of the most melodic Goatwhore solos you’ll hear by guitarist Sammy Duet. “It’s kind of a slower, more plotting-epic sounding song. But that’s kind of…Just to show what we’re capable of with the record, where every song kind of has its own identity, but it’s also a cohesive unit as a record which keeps it interesting for not only us, but for the listener as well instead of having an album that’s just straight blast beats for forty-something minutes, you know? It’s just those dynamics and each song has its own presence. And it’s still Goatwhore all the way through and through. “
Zack said they kind of surprised themselves when it came to And I Was Delivered From The Wound Of Perdition, “It’s one of those things when we were writing it when we all knew it was a good song, I mean that’s why we planned to use it on the record. It was one of those songs that once everybody had laid down their parts, all the vocals were laid down and everything, we heard rough mixes back of it… It was like, “wow”. It exceeded my expectations as a song. And it’s still one of those songs, that when I play tracks from the new record for friends and family, that’s definitely one of the ones– my Mom’s not a huge Metal fan, but she was like ‘ah, I want to hear some of your new record!’ and I was like, “alright, Mom, you’re going to like this one!'” It was just one of those ones I’m really proud of and was pleasantly surprised by everybody’s collective take and addition to it.”
Fan Facts: David Brodsky and Allison Woest of My Good Eye Visuals out of New York City have also directed and produced many Music videos for Clutch, Granny 4Barrel, Whitechapel, Revocation, and also the newer Lorna Shore Music videos. You can check out all of their work here!
The Music video for the song Angels Hung From The Arches of Heaven, which premieres today, was the second video they shot at the abandoned masonic temple in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, “It was shot in a different portion of the building with stained glass windows and a darker atmosphere, but it really worked out not only logistics of where we were in the country on tour and shooting two different kinds of videos in the same day.” Zack also shared how this song is a little out of the norm for them in terms of it having more melody than they are used to, “I think it works for us, because it’s a really driving song and it’s got some dynamics to it, even the main melodic riff of the song, kind of reminds me of the second wave of Black Metal, just kind of driving, up-beat double bass with a melancholic melodic riff to it, but it’s still…It just works… And when you can tell something works, you don’t overthink it too much.”
The album Angels Hung From The Arches of Heaven was mixed by producer Kurt Ballou, of GodCity Studios, mastered by Ted Jensen, and produced by their own live audio engineer, Jarrett Pritchard. Jarrett has been their live audio engineer for many years, and also has produced albums for Norwegian Black Metal band, 1349, as well as his own band, Pulchra Morte. You can check out our 2018 interview with Jarrett here!
On the subject of how Zack feels Jarrett was able to capture the Goatwhore energy on this album, he replied, “We’re such on the same page when it comes to working live together for so long, he knows not us only as people, but he also knows our strengths and even weaknesses, you know. So, he really knows. He’s also a fan of the band to where he wants the best for us too on a technical side, he knows how to achieve that to where maybe one of us may not have the best technical vocabulary as to how we want something to sound, but in our kind of caveman ways, it clicks with him, and he knows what to do. So, it really makes it an asset in the studio as to helping us achieve, kind of the energy we try to bring live. I think this record’s the closest to where it has that energy to what we try to achieve live, it’s a hard thing to do, but I don’t think it’ll ever be 100%, but I think this record is the closest, it has that kind of grit and aggression without losing clarity, and it’s kind of a fine balance. And also, the atmosphere in the studio, since we know him so well and it’s a comfortable working environment, and yeah, I think it really worked out well and set the tone for how the record turned out for sure.”
Fan Facts: Kurt Ballou is the guitarist of Converge, and has mixed & produced albums for High On Fire, Converge, Every Time I Die, Toxic Holocost, and more! Check out GodCity Studio here! Ted Jensen of Sterling Studios has quite the discography. Most recently, he has mastered the albums Back From The Dead by Halestorm, Death By Rock & Roll by The Pretty Reckless, Planet Zero by Shinedown, and Megadeth’s The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead! You can check out his extensive discography that spans decades at this link!
Being in the band since he was a young age, Zack feels through trial and error he learned what to do and what not to do, what he likes and what he doesn’t like, and how he incorporate what he learned throughout the years into Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven, “I think when it comes to this record, I think I’ve definitely discovered kind of the way I like to tune my drums, I’m kind of anal about that, you know? That’s a huge part of sound, especially achieving a good sound from the studio, knowing how to tune each drum to make it sound its best, the way you play them…And also, it’s part of your personality as a Musician is to be able to tailor your own sound…”
When it comes to the playing and performing aspect, he’s less hesitant to let some of his biggest influences shine through, who are more Rock oriented drummers and applying that to the more extreme side of Metal that Goatwhore does. His biggest influences are Mikkey Dee of Motorhead and Tommy Aldrige, who played with Ozzy Osbourne in the early 1980s and was on the 1983 Bark At The Moon album. He continued to elaborate, “There is a space for it with a lot of Rock and Punk elements to this band, but also it’s fun to include that in the more extreme side of drumming. And also just in the studio, I think things just got more natural for us as far as the drums go int he studio because nowadays, it’s more extreme, especially with the younger bands…It’s easy to get carried away with sound replacement, just little studio tricks and stuff, and it takes away from the overall vibe, and makes everything sound a little too mechanical for my taste. So, I think we’ve definitely went backwards in a way and tried to make things a little more natural and warm sounding….Trying to achieve the vibe, especially the drums, but to everything for the band.”
Even though Zack sticks to what he likes in terms of drum equipment, he’s always switching back and fourth with drumhead choices. On Angels Hung From The Arches of Heaven, he used a Pearl Reference Brass Snare Drum, “The biggest difference on this record, compared to the two previous is that the snare drum that I use on this one, I used the Pearl Reference Brass Snare Drum. I think the two previous records I used a really heavy steel. So, it’s just kind of minor differences, but I guess drum nerds would definitely kind of notice and be more interested. But the brass snare, it sounds great on the record. Aside from that, there’s some different symbol choices that I used on this record than the previous two. A little thinner, a little brighter, but they definitely cut and do the job, it’s always something to where I find what works, but also, I like to switch things around, just to keep it interesting as well. I think every Musician’s like that here, who’s been doing this a while. You know what you like, but it’s always fun to experiment and try some new stuff. But yeah, nothing too drastic as far as changing of equipment, but just kind of minor things to keep it interesting and still make it sound good. “
Certain songs fell together really quick and other songs took some work, time, and revision. However, when it came to inspiration for Zack, there were always little things as a drummer that he always wanted to include or add as an ode to Mikkey Dee and Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden. As far as songs coming together for Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven, Zack continued, “the thing with this record, we used the whole pandemic time of uncertainty to our advantage, used the extra time to try and write as many songs as we could and try to make the songs the best we could…We had time to go back and be like, “ok, this part could be better” and so on…It was good to have the extra time, I don’t think it got to the point we were overthinking it to where it was a detriment to our material, but I just think it all worked out pretty well.”
Goatwhore’s good friend and Artist, Jordan Barlow, who does a lot of their merch designs, created the album cover for Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven. This is the fourth album he’s done their album Art for, the first being Blood For The Master, which released February 14th of 2012. The second and third album covers he’s done for Goatwhore are their July 8th, 2014 release of Constricting The Rage of the Merciless, and 2019’s Vengeful Ascension. “He’s a New Orleans local, a great Tattoo Artist, we’ve been close friends with him for years. Ben will come to him with a concept, or an idea, and Jordan will run with it and knock it out of the park. We’re definitely on the same page, he does killer work. And yeah, for this current record… There’s a lot going on, but not a lot going on at the same time. It’s a very simple drawing, but there’s a lot of symbolism, and then the use of the sigils, that tie in an unique aspect. And also, it’s a recurring theme from past records from the use of the sigils as well. I’m always amazed of Jordan’s talent and ability and the way he is able to rock an idea and make it his own and stay true to what the concept is. Even with the band logo, isn’t even present on the cover of the record, which I’m sure a lot of bands would think that’s unheard of that you could do that, but it’s an Artistic kind of thing, I think it’s cool that it’s so blunt and just there. I really like how blunt it is too because that’s kind of what we were going for, blunt in-your-face, this is what it is, and yeah! I’m just happy with the whole package of the record as a whole, the way everything came together.”
Fan Facts: Jordan also created the album Art for 1349’s 2019 album, The Infernal Pathway, as well as their merch designs for the album cycle. You can check out more of his work on his official Instagram page here!
On the subject of touring, he noted how he’s stoked about their upcoming European tour with labelmates Revocation, who released their eighth full length album on September 9th of 2022 titled, Netherheaven, “It’ll be great to get back to Europe, especially with Revocation, been great friends with those guys for a long time. I was joking with someone else recently, you got Sammy of course, and Dave Davidson from Revocation, and then Wes Hauch’s band Alluvial is going to be on it too. Super great guitar players, but I’m joking how I can’t wait to overhear all the guitar nerd talk in the corner of the bus at the end of the night. It’s going to be a good time, killer people, and Revocation has a killer new record out too. We can’t wait to get back to Europe and hopefully January-February, they save some power for us, so we can plug in some amplifiers and play some Heavy Metal!” he added about the energy crises going on over there.
Zack reminisced about one of his favorite all around tours that he still feels really lucky to have been a part of, which was the Monotheist tour with Celtic Frost, “It was their first tour in the States when they put out Monotheist, I think it was 2007. And it was a pretty long tour. 1349 did the first couple weeks on it, and we all played on a show in San Francisco and 1349 was on the bill, and the rest of the tour was us and Celtic Frost and Sunn O))) on a few days. It was a trip to be able to watch Celtic Frost every night for seven weeks. It was heavy, man. That one is definitely a top one for me, and then Psycho Las Vegas…. Psycho is always a pleasure to play. It’s such a well-run festival, the people that organize it are super great, and what a nice place to have a festival like that, not in the middle of a field with having to go to porta-potties, or time out when you want to see this band or that band, you go chill out in your hotel room. It’s a cool, cool thing. In Vegas there’s something to do for no matter what you like to do. Inferno Fest was a blast, get to be in the Ground Zero of Black Metal. It was great!”
Inferno Festival is held in Oslo, Norway every year on Easter weekend. When he was asked if he went to Helvete, the record store that the late guitarist of Mayhem, Euronymous, owned in the early 1990’s before he was murdered by his bandmate, Varg Vikernes, and is now the headquarters of Neseblod Records, Zack replied, “We went a couple times, that was a trip too. You take the obligatory basement picture, yeah that was fun too! Man, there was so many cool tours we’ve been able to go on and festivals, and getting to tour with High On Fire, a few times over the years. They are definitely like tour brothers for us. It’s always a blast, and also always being such a big fan of High on Fire, I Love that barbaric, Conan Metal they produce, it’s thunderous, has that Sabbath vibe to it. It’s always a good time.”
Zack also remembered a cool story about the last time they performed in the city where Damnation Vault’s main lair is located, in Fargo, North Dakota, “I think the last time we played Fargo was 2008 or 2009 with Cattle Decapitation at some bar, and before the show…It was like a bar and grill connected to the place… Me and our bass player at the time were getting something to eat before the show at this bar, and we look over, and Pauly Shore’s sitting right next to us. People were coming up to him and I guess he was totally in character, he was there about to shoot a movie or something, but he kept denying he was Pauly Shore because he was staying in character. It was kind of funny. We definitely need to come back to Fargo though! The Dakotas don’t get enough Love. It’s always those out of the way towns that people just kind of neglect it. People need Metal there too, you know? Even like Rapid City, South Dakota, we had a killer show there the last time we played.”
You can catch Goatwhore on tour with Revocation, Alluvial, and Creeping Death in Europe this January-February of 2023!
Jan. 19, 2023 – Schlachthof – Wiesbaden, DEJan. 20, 2023 – Matrix – Bochum, DE Jan. 21, 2023 – Doornroosje – Nijmegen, NL Jan. 22, 2023 – Logo – Hamburg, DE Jan. 23, 2023 – Valand – Gothenburg, SE Jan. 24, 2023 – John Dee – Oslo, NO Jan. 25, 2023 – Pumpehuset – Copenhagen, DK Jan. 27, 2023 – SO36 – Berlin, DE Jan. 28, 2023 – AJZ – Chemnitz, DE Jan. 29, 2023 – Hirsch – Nürnberg, DE Jan. 30, 2023 – Futurum – Prague, CZ Jan. 31, 2023 – Akvárium Klub – Budapest, HU Feb. 1, 2023 – Viper Room – Vienna, AT Feb. 2, 2023 – Backstage – Munich, DE Feb. 3, 2023 – Kofmehl – Solothurn, CH Feb. 4, 2023 – Alchemica Music Club – Bologna, IT Feb. 5, 2023 – Le Rex – Toulouse, FR Feb. 6, 2023 – Bóveda – Barcelona, ES Feb. 7, 2023 – Copernico – Madrid, ES Feb. 8, 2023 – Stage Live – Bilbao, ES Feb. 10, 2023 – Trabendo – Paris, FR Feb. 11, 2023 – The Black Lab – Lille / Wasquehal, FR Feb. 12, 2023 – Islington Assembly Hall – London, UK Feb. 13, 2023 – Rebellion – Manchester, UK Feb. 14, 2023 – Whelans – Dublin, IE Feb. 15, 2023 – Mama Roux – Birmingham, UK Feb. 16, 2023 – The Fleece – Bristol, UK Feb. 17, 2023 – Zappa – Antwerp, BE Feb. 18, 2023 – Faust – Hannover, DE
You can purchase Angels Hung From The Arches of Heaven through Metal Blade Records in physical copies and downloadable by clicking this link!
Please note: The Smoke vinyl, which is clear with black smoke and the Bloodshot vinyl, which is the clear with red swirl is exclusive to the United States. The 180g Black vinyl is exclusive to Europe. The silver and black marbled, the blood red and black marbled, and the white and black marbled vinyl are limited to 300 copies each, and also exclusive to Europe.
Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven Track List:
Article and Interview by Jenna Williams ‘The Scream Queen’