"People like to put things in categories," says Ben Falgoust. "We call it extreme metal, but there are so many different variations. We're taking a lot of different elements and blending them together."
Falgoust makes up one-fourth of Goatwhore along with Zack Simmons, James Harvey and Sammy Duet. Coming out of New Orleans, Goatwhore has been through hell and high water over its 18 years, all the while touring and recording tirelessly. This weekend Goatwhore will be hitting Michael's with friends 3 Inches of Blood in what is sure to be a ferocious good time.
With a sound that they describe as featuring "Celtic Frostian rhythms" with a side of "blackened bayou swagger," and with a tight discography featuring album titles like Carving out the Eyes of God, Funeral Dirge for the Rotting Sun and most recently, last year's Blood for the Master, Goatwhore is not your mother's metal band.
"What exactly is extreme metal?" you death dilettantes may ask. "I usually just call it metal because it sums up the whole thing, but we take all the extremes of it---we have some black metal, some death metal, thrash, even some old punk-style stuff," says Falgoust. "People have different ideas about what black metal is too, so I'm okay with being kind of vague."
In 18 years of aggressive touring and music-making, though, Falgoust insists that he's always been proud of the sound they've produced. "Some people look back at their old records and they shudder, seeing them as immature or adolescent," he says. "But I like looking back and seeing the evolution lyrically and vocally. Some bands never evolve, which isn't always a good thing."
Even metal as a genre has changed a lot since 1995 when Goatwhore was just starting out.
"It has evolved over the years into being more acceptable, but in its own right, it's still very different," says Falgoust. "When I was growing up without the internet, you'd wait weeks to get a tape in the mail, but now kids can try out all kinds of bands faster--- everything comes much faster."
With six studio albums under its belt and doing "roughly 320 shows a year," Goatwhore has had ample opportunity to refine their sound. "We've been through the whole process of gaining knowledge in the studio, re-learning how we write and approach new material, band member changes. It's cool to see how we've gotten better as songwriters and musicians," says Falgoust.
Goatwhore is currently on tour with Vancouver-based band 3 Inches of Blood, the third time thebands have toured together. "We're both metal bands, but we both have our own approaches," he says. "We make the package more solid because of that variation---not to mention, they're an amazing band and really cool guys to hang out with.
"Yeah, we do a lot of fuckin' touring," says Falgoust. But there are still milestones to hit, and Goatwhore doesn't plan on missing any of them.
"We've accomplished a lot of things as a band but as you go along you come across new things that you didn't really have on the list," says Falgoust.
Like, say, doing a show on a boat.
"We did a show on a river boat in Austin, Texas for South By Southwest this year," he says. "We never had it stored away as a goal of ours or anything, but it's something you do and just add it to the list."
Goatwhore and 3 Inches of Blood, w/Orchid’s Curse, Hellacaust, Saturday, April 27, 10pm, Michael’s Bar and Grill, 6100 Young Street, $17, Available at Ticketpro outlets, www.ticketpro.ca, 1-888-311-9090
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