Urgehal - Goatcraft Torment
Agonia Records
Black Metal
10 songs (51:01)
Release year: 2006
Official Myspace, Agonia Records
Reviewed by Tony
Archive review
Beginning with a lyrical declaration of malediction, Urgehal debut themselves to me out of the frosted reaches of Honefoss, Norway. After about two years of spending a great deal of my allocated coin collecting Ukrainian Black Metal (and rightfully so), I finally was able to pick up this album after only recently hearing their name, and after seeing a few mid graded albums on MR, I must say I think after hearing only Goatcraft Torment as my sample, that I have acquired Urgehal’s finest album. Yes, the lyrics do seem a bit outrageous and forced, but there is nothing cheesy about Goatcraft Torment.

On Goatcraft Torment, the band begin with their sacrificial decree, starting off with a host of flurried blast beats and tremolo picked riffs, but what makes this album great is that these songs are so much more than just blast beats and speed picking. Urgehal show a mid-paced brutality that punctuates many of their songs, with a flair for shredding solos that has been all but absent in the Norwegian scene. Many of Urgehal’s themes are satanic sacrifice, blackened rituals, and sacrilegious bloodlust, but their lyrics are incorporated correctly and at many conjectures they are placed perfectly. There are few things worse than a song that has a vocalist completely dominating each riff, leaving no time for the band to assert their talents. There are few things sweeter than a songwriting process that knows when the outlaying harshness of the vocalist can provide the song with just enough dosage of perfectly placed lyrical morsels with enough space between verses for the band to add their rhythmic punch.

All of the songs are about the right length, spaced between four and seven minutes. Each song packs all that anyone would desire in cold Nordic Black Metal. There are the dense and frostbitten walls of guitar sound, the strong bass guitar to boost the brutality, and drums that are present enough to leave their own mark. None of the riffs or drum lines are groundbreaking, but there are moments of sheer brutality in speed, groove that can make one bang their head for hours, and those bloodied, grind it out moments where the pace slows to a crawl and the band seem to harness dark energies. Despite the true Norwegian sound to the album and the sometimes less than unique riffs, there are no tracks that blend in, with each leaving their own mark as a standout song. Yet even with some songs being more formulaic, there are certain portions such as the latter half of Gathered Under the Horns or the rhythms at speed in Risus Sardonius that are as unique as they come on the drums. Another terrific aspect of Goatcraft Torment is how each song emerges in chambers, as there is no clear cut start, middle, and end of each track, and there are parts of each song that sound entirely different than the beginning but somehow fit beautifully within another.

Overall, Goatcraft Torment presents one of the heaviest Black Metal albums I’ve heard in a while. There are scorching solos, punishing grooves, and a production quality that displays the strength of each musician. This album is one of the best for lifting weights. It is one of the most exciting straightforward Nordic releases I have heard. While the melody and ethereal moments that make some bands memorable are not present whatsoever, but Urgehal are not looking to win anyone with bells and whistles. They are here to rip your head off, and their mission is one of resounding success.

Killing Songs :
All of them slay
Tony quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Urgehal that we have reviewed:
Urgehal - Aeons in Sodom reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Urgehal - Ikonoklast reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
Urgehal - Through Thick Fog till Death reviewed by Alex and quoted 71 / 100
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