The Dead Goats - All of them Witches - (7.5/10)
Published on September 21, 2016
Based solely on the cover art and band name, I figured All of them Witches, the second full-length from Poland’s The Dead Goats, would be an occult rock album in the vein of The Devil’s Blood or Year of the Goat. Turns out the band is heavily indebted to Swedish death metal, particularly Entombed.
The Dead Goats’ basic sound can be summarized as follows: take the vitriolic, hardcore-tinged riffs of Entombed’s sound, stretch them to full-length songs, and add in horror-inspired lyrics. While the hardcore aspect is a fundamental component of The Dead Goats’ sound, they’re not quite as crusty as some of the other ‘Entombedcore’ acts like Trap Them, remaining firmly rooted in death metal as well.
All of them Witches is very much an album that lives and dies by its riffs and they’re consistently good for the most part. The album has great energy and has a number of feral, up-tempo cuts. Drummer Radek Royale (ex-Squash Bowels) is also impressive, mixing crusty D-beats with more traditional death metal patterns. All of the members (the band is a three piece) provide vocals, but they’re mostly handled by guitarist Paweł Bartulewicz, who possesses a mid-range raspy scream that the band often backs with death growls. The standout track vocally is “Dwarves in My Coffin,” which sports the album’s catchiest chorus.
Another aspect of the band I enjoyed was the incorporation of horror elements. The intro sounds like a horror theme and the band uses samples from horror films on a couple of tracks. They don’t overuse these samples and they actually add to the atmosphere of the album, especially on the closer (and album highlight) “The Gloom that Came to Salem.”
But All of them Witches has some minor issues as well. The tracks are solidly filthy, but they’re a little too similar to each other. It’s an album that starts and finishes strong with the title track and “The Gloom that Came to Salem,” but some of the middle tracks go by in a blur. Better choruses would help these tracks out as would a little more tempo variation.
At the end of the day Swedish death metal bands are a dime a dozen. But The Dead Goats are a fine representation of the style and their energy and songwriting prevent this album from ever being stale. Sure it’s derivative, but it’s well-executed too. Fans of crunchy, punky death metal should take right to All of them Witches.