Archgoat – The Apocalyptic Triumphator (2015)


Apocalyptic Triumphator is a very good album, a no-frills assault on the senses, but it is not a black metal album.

There is no shame in conceding that the sound created by the old Norwegian bands, following on from Bathory‘s template, as especially heard on the more fleshed-out, agenda-setting Under The Sign Of The Black Mark,  is the quintessential black metal sound. Where bands like Archgoat and Beherit tried reducing black metal to its basics, daubing it with a monochromatic hue while borrowing liberally from the then-new grindcore scene and developments in the Incantation-Paul Ledney camp, classic Norwegian bands like Mayhem, Immortal, and Emperor, inherited directly from Bathory‘s greater melodic awareness and sense of story-telling.

Songs were to be more than mere showcases for extremity and an ugly aesthetic, instead developing a very real ability to displace the listener in time and space. Siphoned into a cold, forlorn, and entirely new kind of metal, divorced from the mostly dystopian, post-industrial trappings of death metal, this music didn’t shirk from showing the mirror to an ugly visage, but it also concealed a perpetual movement towards a greater beauty. The status quo was to be razed to the ground, and in its place would arise a monument to the past and the values, imagined or otherwise, lost in its mists.

Archgoat aim for the nullification part of the equation but steadfastly refuse to concern themselves with the rest. Songs are written with expert attention to ebb and flow, and not without conviction; nothing here panders to modern trends, chiefly because Archgoat have been at this game for a long time, since before a particular approach to extreme metal was converted and came to be adopted as fashion. This form of metal has to be heard within the suffocatingly narrow context that it chooses to operate within, and to that end, its bare-bones approach is fail-safe and guaranteed to satisfy a certain mindset.

Memorable riffs are few and far between, and entirely devoid of originality, strung together as disparate islands in an ocean of hynotic, techno-like battering. A limited musical vocabulary prevents the band from giving voice to anything other than an utterly anarchic ideal; which is fine in its own destructively gratuitous manner, but there is very real poetry at the heart of black metal, without which this music is bound to stay restricted to the temporal plane.

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2 Responses to Archgoat – The Apocalyptic Triumphator (2015)

  1. gk says:

    i have a deep love for this band that i can’t really explain rationally. waiting to get my cd so i haven’t heard this yet but i think the points you mentioned hold true for all their releases. good read.

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