Goatwhore were back in the UK for some shows in support of their latest and most excellent album, Angels Hung From The Arches of Heaven. The crowd at The Asylum, Birmingham, were certainly up for it, and Goatwhore were totally on fire. Before the show, MetalTalk’s Andy Shaw caught up with guitarist Sammy Duet.
Angels Hung From The Arches of Heaven is one heavy dark album. “I will take that as a compliment,” Sammy said. “That was the purpose. That was my aim when I was writing for that record to make the darkest and heaviest record we’ve done yet. Matt Pike [High On Fire, Sleep] told me something great once, and I always quote him on this. He said dark times equal good riffs.”
For Sammy, the dark times were the pandemic and more. “Right before the pandemic, I was going through a really rough spot in my life,” he says. “Then the pandemic happened, and that didn’t make things any easier. So this album is the outcome of that whole thing without me being intact, not being on the other side of the plane, you know? But anyway, enough of the doom and gloom.”
I tell Sammy that, as well as being dark, it feels like a really complex album with a lot of layers. “One of the good things [of the pandemic] was that I had a lot of time to really experiment with a lot of stuff that I never really experimented with before. Like you’re saying, the guitar layers and all this stuff that I never really did before.
“Before this record, all the other ones before were really just bare bones. No frills. This one, I had the structures of the songs written, and I just was listening to ’em and listening to ’em, and I was just like, let me try something to see what would happen.”
“The last song on the record, And I Was Delivered From The Wound Of Perdition, I mean that song has keyboards on it, and we’ve never done that before, but it fits. When I do stuff like that, I don’t want it to sound like it’s there just to be there. I wanted to add to the actual vibe of the music. Because there are so many bands that do that kind of stuff, it just sounds like they put it there just to be there and not really adding to the vibes of the music.”
For me, the first couple of listens, I had to go back to it and listen again, as I was just blown away. The themes are quite dark. “Yeah, there’s some evil stuff there,” Sammy says. “That’s the purpose, you know?”
Brought up from down the road from The Asylum in the mid-’80s, bands like Venom were my entry into this style of Metal, and it feels like there are elements of proper Black Metal in this new album. “We are definitely influenced by that whole Second Wave Of Black Metal,” Sammy says. “But we’ve always gravitated towards the First Wave like the Venom and Celtic Frost and Bathory. But we were definitely influenced by Mayhem and Darkthrone and Emperor and all those bands as well. But I think we gravitate towards more of the Old School Black Metal. Almost a Black Thrash, if you will, as some people call it.”
Goatwhore would play half of their set with songs from the new album, and Sammy says he is really pleased with how the album has been received over this side of the pond. “They’re accepting it better than I expected,” he says. “Being such a new album, I wasn’t really sure how it was being received over here. I knew it got received in the US really well. But I wasn’t sure how it was going down over here, and it’s been awesome. You know, the reception to the new songs has been fantastic from the fans.”
I say I think people have genuinely been blown away by it. We’ve waited and waited and waited, and now we’ve got all this new music coming out. With Goatwhore, Revocation, Rivers of Nihil and Hypocrisy and various other bands, I think people are genuinely blown away by this new music.
“It’s a good time to be in a Heavy Metal band,” Sammy agrees. “It’s a good time to be a Metal fan as well, with all this great music coming out.”
Sammy says after the problems during the pandemic, he is feeling great now, which is thoroughly pleasing to hear. “How can I say it? There was a lot of weight on my shoulders while we were making this record. For this record to come out the way it did, I feel like I was almost reborn. Because with the whole pandemic thing and all that, nobody knew, especially the people in the music industry, nobody knew what was gonna happen next. Nobody knew if we were ever going to play a live show or if you’re gonna see a live show ever again. And for the record to come out, and it opened up, and we started playing shows, I just feel, as I said, I feel like I’ve been reborn.”
Goatwhore were playing Belgium and Germany after the UK shows. “We’ve been doing a lot in the States, a lot of stuff last year,” Sammy says. “Right when the album came out, even before the album came out, we did a couple of things, and we got a lot of stuff planned for this year in the States. And I think maybe coming back again here later in the year as well.”
It’s pretty nailed on that the UK will welcome Goatwhore back with open arms.