The almighty Goatwhore will be unleashing Vengeful Ascension on June 23rd via Metal Blade Records, and as the press release correctly states, this record is “a sonic manifestation of war, chaos, desolation, and emotional conflict, seamlessly bridging twenty years of the band’s signature brand of audio venom.”
I recently got to speak with vocalist Ben Falgoust in detail about the new record, the band’s history, future plans, and much more. Read the entire chat below!
Metal Mark: Ben, I think you’ve heard me say this before, but seriously, I think the new record is officially my favorite Goatwhore album now.
Ben Falgoust: Dude, you always say that (laughs). I appreciated it though for real. I guess that’s a good thing you say that, because bands are supposed to get better. Like I’ve told other people, I think we are still evolving as a band, and the best is yet to come. Some bands hit their peaks early, but I think we are getting better with age.
MM: So Goatwhore is like a fine wine?
BF: Sure (laughs), or like a nice aged whiskey in your world.
MM: Well played (laughs). Let’s dive into this new record now, because you guys definitely took some chances on this one. Most notably, instead of working with Erik Rutan, like you have on the past four records, you guys decided to work with Jarrett Pritchard.
BF: Yea man, we really wanted to take risks on this one. Jarrett as producer was new, but we also had different guys mix and master the stuff as well. We wanted to get out of our comfort zone, and see where it took us. I think it, not only opened our eyes to different things, but it made us focus a little more. You can definitely hear it.
MM: Jarrett has been your sound man for a while, and I know how much you’ve always wanted to recreate your live energy on a record, so was that a big part in choosing him?
BF: It definitely had a part in the decision for sure. He’s not just a sound guy though. He’s worked on 1349 and Gruesome records in the past, so he knows what he’s doing. When the idea first came into our heads, we thought it’d be a perfect fit. He knows, more than anyone, what we sound like live, and what we want, so it just made sense. Honestly, we are never going to recreate our live show on an album. I’m come to terms with that. You just can’t do it, but this record gets pretty damn close.
MM: I agree man. It has that raw feel like the last record, but it definitely seems more lively. I think, like the last record, recording reel-to-reel has really taken your sound to a new level that makes it more authentic.
BF: Some people would argue that, but I think it does as well. I don’t think the digital way of things will ever duplicate what analog is able to capture. Obviously analog is on its way out, but when you work with it, see the detail that goes into it, and hear the end result, it’s magic man. It’s the real deal. Some people may not be able to hear it, but I can tell right away. I mean, listen to the old Judas Priest albums on speakers at home man. They still sound as good as ever in 2017, and if your shit sounds good on your home speakers at volume eleven, it’ll sound good on your little white headphones too.
MM: I agree man. I always listen to records on my home speakers first, and Vengeful Ascension sounds absolutely huge on them.
BF: I’m telling ya man. That’s the way music is supposed to be heard. Hell, we even went to Best Buy while on tour, and tested out this new album on their speakers to see if it was what we wanted.
BF: That’s the truth man. We used to do it all the time back in the day too. With this record, we had it done, but we also had tours lined up, so that’s how we had to approve of the final mixes. When we had a day off, we would take the tracks to a Best Buy or whatever, go to the audio section, and blast the stuff in the store. We may have scared the hell out of some customers, but it got the job done (laughs).
MM: That is amazing. I can only imagine a small kid looking for his favorite video game, and the title track comes on behind him loud as fuck (laughs).
BF: Hey, whatever it takes man. It’s not the first time we’ve had to do it, and it probably won’t be the last. So be on the lookout at your nearest Best Buy in a few years (laughs).
MM: Hell yea dude. Not only is the sound impressive on the record on speakers at home or at Best Buy, but the thing that stands out to me is the diversity on the record. It has a little bit of everything you guys have done in the past, with some nuances, but it still captures what we know as Goatwhore perfectly.
BF: I’ve had a few people tell me that, and I think it’s because we know who we are, and what we like, so we aren’t going to drastically change anything. As for some of the material that may remind you of the past material, it’s because we don’t really throw away stuff that we write. We save the best parts, and find places for them when we can. We still have riffs hanging around from The Eclipse of Ages Into Black days man. It’s just a matter of if they fit or not with the progression of what the band is now. Every one in the band has grown immensely over the years, so you’re going to get the nuances that you talked about, but if an old riff fits, we are going to throw it in there. It’s nice to have that freedom to use whatever we want, and still be able to capture that Goatwhore sound. It shows how we’ve grown as songwriters, and I’m very proud of that.
MM: Plus that diversity makes for a better listen for the fan.
BF: Exactly. You and I have talked about this numerous times in the past, but it’s important for a record to be listened to from start to finish. We are old school. That’s how you listen to a record in our minds. If you like a single, that’s cool, but we like to keep people guessing on our albums so they keep listening. We have crazy transitions. We go from black metal to death metal to heavy metal, and it works. Somehow it works (laughs). That’s why when you see us live, you get every type of metal thrown at you. I have a ton of people that want to lock us in a genre, but you really can’t in my opinion.
MM: You are Goatwhore. There is only one.
BF: I’d like to think so. That’s the goal.
MM: Speaking of live shows, you guys have dates with Anciients and Venom Inc coming up, but what else do you have locked down for the future?
BF: We don’t have much locked down other than those two tours, but the main goal for us on this album cycle is to tour Europe more. No offense to the States, but we’ve toured the shit out of the States over the past few years. I mean, how many times have you seen us over the past decade?
MM: I would say around twenty times.
BF: See. I want some Europeans to say that (laughs). I feel like we do have an audience there, but we have a lot more work to do. We know how crazy and loyal those fans can be from talking to other bands, and we want that as well. We’ve made our name here, and now we want to grow it more across the pond. Of course, if someone like Judas Priest asks us to tour the States, we will, but I think our focus on this cycle is Europe and everywhere else. So if you wanna see us in the States, don’t miss us with Anciients and Venom Inc.
MM: I will definitely see you guys at the Venom Inc show here in New York City. Ben, thanks for taking the time out to talk today, and I’ll leave the last part open to you. Do you have anything else you’d like to say?
BF: As always, thanks to anyone and everyone who has supported this band throughout the years. We love what we do, and thanks to you, we get to do it. Vengeful Ascension is coming out at the end of June, and we hope you dig it as much as we do. See you on the road!