Devilishly heavy and explicitly blasphemous, New Orlean’s Goatwhore are a blackened death metal band turning heads with the release of their stunning fourth studio album, “Crarving Out the Eyes Of God”. With an upcoming Australian tour alongside Behemoth and Job For A Cowboy, frontman Ben Falgoust catches up with Killyourstereo to give the lowdown on what to expect when they hit our shores in April.
Firstly, what’s your name and role in the band Goatwhore?
My name is Ben Falgoust and I am the vocalist of Goatwhore
Goatwhore are embarking on an Australian tour in April with Behemoth and Job for a Cowboy. This tour offers a great line-up for the fans so just how did it come about?
We were contacted by the Australian Promoter for the tour. I’m not really sure how our name came up or if someone put in a word for us or the promoter was a fan, but we are very excited about the opportunity.
What are you most looking forward to on this tour and will it be your first time in Australia?
It will be our first time in Australia. It is a whole new territory for us- a new audience and new sights and people- that is exciting on it’s own. We will be able to witness first hand the Australian Metal scene. It is always nice to see how scenes are different and similar around the world. Being a big AC/DC fan, I am interested in visiting Bon Scott’s grave if time permits. The only thing about touring is the restraint of what an area has to offer besides a music venue.
The shows are shaping up to be one hell of a triple threat in terms of performances, so what can Australian fans expect from you guys when you hit the stage?
I don’t like to come off overly confident, because someone may read this and come to the show and be like, "They Are OK, nothing like they said they were". All I can say is to come out and witness it for yourself. We have been told that we are better live than on our records. We have been told that it is high energy when we perform. Everyone will have their own opinion and it should remain that way. Come out and judge for yourself.
Do you think there will be any pressure opening the shows with bands like Behemoth and Job For A Cowboy on the bill?
Both Job For A Cowboy and Behemoth are excellent bands. We will have to be on our toes. However, like you stated in the question, we will be opening. Maybe the pressure will be on the other two bands.
Goatwhore released their fourth studio album last year being the decidedly brutal and provocatively titled “Crarving Out the Eyes Of God”, which has received positive reviews and has been called even more “blasphemous” than your previous albums. Therefore, what influenced the strong sacrilegious theme on this album?
Well, to start, I have a problem with organised religion, go figure, who doesn’t? The basic idea of people still following these old ideals to this day annoys the hell out of me. You would think in all this time humanity would have evolved but it seems at times man has stepped backwards. I understand people need a crutch in life at times and this gives them that, but to solely base your entire life on it is absurd. Then we go deeper. We mix that annoying feeling from the disgust of humanity and mix in ideas that are either from literature or ideas brewed up in our heads. We add a dash of Satanism, ideas in it we relate to, and mix in some other personal beliefs and “BAM!” we have the beginning stage of the lyrics and song titles. From that point it only gets better, because once you feed the brain with knowledge and fresh ideas it basically works its own magic. Our influences stretch to keep the content open and not lock us into a grid with the same repetitive theme.
Bands like Deicide and many black metal bands are open about their opposition to organised religion, so is the subject something you are passionate about or is it just something that interests you?
It is one aspect that interests me. I don’t sink into that idea too much though, because we don’t want to paint ourselves into a corner. We want to be a bit smarter about the angle we approach things in our writing. In some songs, the lyrical content is simpler and in other songs, the lyrical content is more complex. We try to be diverse in our blasphemies. Make them more broadened so we aren’t just an A-typical evil band.
“Carving Out the Eyes of God” debuted at no. 16 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart of the American Billboard 200, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists who have never made it into the top 100 before. Given the nature of your music, were you at all surprised by this success?
It was a surprise. Also, an unexpected achievement in what we are doing. Sometimes doing music, things like this pop up and are totally unexpected. We were all excited about it, but at the same time knew we still had a lot of work to do on our end.
Do you think this chart success will influence how you write any follow up material?
I don’t think so. I guess we really never took it too much to heart. It was an accomplishment but at the same time we don’t like to lose focus on our music or what we enjoy to do.
There have been a few changes to your line-up over the years, including your previous bassist Nathan Bergeron departing only last year and being replaced by James Harvey. So how is everyone in the band getting along and do things feel stable at the moment?
Everyone is getting along great. We are very stable at the moment and have a very busy schedule ahead of us. I think this is the most solid the band has been eternally in a very long time.
You have acknowledged that your musical influences include many classic metal bands including Motorhead, Venom and Celtic Frost. Therefore, what do you think of the state of heavy music today and what contemporary heavy/black/death metal bands impress you?
The extreme music scene is doing rather nicely. It has it’s lulls. It has always happened. Go back to the conception of extreme music. You have bands that create a new idea and then a flood of cookie cutter bands swarming in right after they get popular. By the end of it, the original band is the last left standing. I do think now a days the cookie cutter process is so much more and labels are at major fault in getting these bands more recognised. If one band has captured a new style and they are doing it well, the labels should look for a new band with an upcoming new style. No one wants to take risks. They want an easier approach. We still have bands doing new inventive things but the labels are falling short at taking risks with these bands. Every style within extreme music has a purveyor, and as time progresses a newer band evolves and changes that style. Let’s take Black metal. We go all the way back to Venom, then to Emperor, then into the present with a band like Watain. You can see the evolution and the different approaches that have been taken to make Black Metal shift and change. Some people stick to traditional and some people add new ideas. The only thing is that every idea and change should always credit the origins. Newer upcoming musicians need to see where the roots came from and the process of evolution in the styles they are appealed too.
You probably are asked this all the time, but where does the band get its name from?
Ha! We are asked this quite a bit. Let’s see, where should I start? So, at the time we were reading a lot of like Aleister Crowley, occult literature, for lyrical influence of course…and personal reasons. He had this one woman – I wouldn’t say she was his wife or his girlfriend or a very nice girl anyway. But she would have sex in the rituals that he would have with many men and at the end of the ritual at the climax she would have sex with a goat. So, technically, that is the first goatwhore. That was definitely the influence for the name at first and then from the influence of a very unattractive exotic dancer if you will. That definitely put the final nail in the coffin as far as us using Goatwhore for the name of our band.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
After Australia, we have a Canadian run for three weeks with 3 Inches Of Blood. Not sure what is after that but I am certain something will pop up quick. If not, we will start sorting through ideas for the next record.
Any final words?
See you all soon.
Thanks for the interview Ben.