Goat Semen - Ego Svm Satana - (7.5/10)
Published on February 4, 2015
Peruvian horde Goat Semen have been unleashing their satanic fueled black metal since 2000, and after a couple of demos and various splits, this four piece group is finally ready to unveil their debut record, Ego Svm Satana via Hells Headbangers Records. The album itself features some various reworked tracks from their earlier days, and it is clear the tracks have been fine tuned, and the wait for an official full-length has been quite worth the wait. With nine punishing tracks in a little less than 40 minutes, Goat Semen are ready to break out of just being an underground act with a great reputation, and show a wider audience what they are really all about.
Ego Svm Satan wastes no time kicking you in the face. After a brief, noisy intro the album hits 60 mph and the bursts of aggression don’t stop. The blast beat drumming, screamed, gnarled vocals courtesy of Neyra, and the sharp guitars are up there with some of the best in the genre. The guitars are fast, and can be thrashy at times, while the drums and vocals are very black metal. We are even treated to the occasional high falsetto wail from Neyra which wouldn’t seem out of place on some 80s metal a la King Diamond. The only issue I have here is the bass seems to be very low in the mix, or seemingly non-existent. While the songs themselves are well constructed, they do feel thin throughout the album, and the lack of a real bass presence is seriously missed. The songs feel as if they are on the verge of something better, but that missing element does keep them from reaching the next level.
The album itself is a pretty quick listen, with one track reaching over ten minutes, but most others being around the four minute or less mark. The band actually excels more in the short tracks here, as they are full of aggression, and are a non-stop punch in the gut. The longer tracks do tend to drag a little bit, and the ideas seem as if they were not quite as fleshed out, or the overall impact of the tracks gets lost. The second track “Holocausto” is barely over one minute and it is probably the most intense song on the record. From beginning to end the track has the listener hooked and doesn’t let go. It really would be the band at their best. However, The tracks do feature enough good material that the loss of impact or some dragging moments help make the other tracks and sections stand out more. It is a fairly small gripe that seems to work for the better in this case. For instance, the longest track “Hambre, Peste, Guerra y Muerte” does start a bit slower but near the halfway mark the track picks up and has one of the better riffs on the album and is fully enjoyable.
This debut record is very impressive, and Goat Semen have cealrly spent the last 15 years honing their craft to create the most complete example of their sound on Ego Svm Satana. Despite an issue with the bass, the production is raw and fits the style well. It is still clear enough to not just be a jumbled mess, and the other instruments are audible and enjoyable. Even with a few dragging moments here and there in the longer tracks, the album as a whole was well done, and the songs are well written. The impact from the shorter tracks really stands out, and the straightforward approach of the band is nice to hear given the influx of “progressive” or “experimental” bands under the black metal banner. With this debut, Goat Semen should be able to reach a wider audience, and it is very well deserved.