There’s some stuff to unpack here, so I’ll get the particulars out of the way first. This was my first exposure to Archgoat, and it was somewhat accidental: Debemur Morti Productions was running an inventory sale where for something like $25 you would get five random CDs. The Heavenly Vulva EP was one fo them, and I’ll admit that one look at the cover key me at arm’s length from wanting to check it out. I maybe gave it one listen, didn’t have a real opinion on it one way or another so left it to sit on a shelf in my closet in a stack to gather dust.
Musically, not much has changed. From a purely sonic perspective I can dig it; there’s a gnarly, blackened death crunch to the guitars, deep and dark and suitably filthy. The vocals are indecipherable garbage, but it fits the vibe and so despite not understanding a thing bassist/vocalist Angelslayer is saying I can get down with it to a certain extent. Some props need to be given to main songwriter Ritual Butcherer: dude know what makes a song work, even when that song is called “Penetrator of the Second Temple.” And despite my selfishly clinging to my own hybrid form of Christianity I typically chalk this over-the-top Satanism to masquerade and pomp. In other words, despite some questionable (to me) content, I’m not gonna raise a huge fuss. May not support the music moving forward but I won’t condemn and spit vitriol at the folks who dig it.
But then I (maybe foolishly) checked out the liner notes from Metal Archive and found that there’s a guest spot from Werewolf, the guy who runs vaguely NSBM-friendly Werewolf records (I say vaguely because I haven’t gone through and checked out every single band on the roster) and the guy behind Satanic Warmaster, who apparently has some views I’m NOT down with. OK, well…that could be a one time thing. After all, the band themselves aren’t on the label and I think their bag is more “Hail Satan” than “Heil Hitler” so maybe it’s okay…and then I read this interview with Indy Metal Vault from September with Ritual Butcherer and, uh…dude REALLY seems to just chalk up NSBM as “not real black metal” and Antifa as a real and present danger:
But I look around and see every metal site lapping up the riffs and over-the-top lyrical imagery for the band’s last album The Luciferian Crown. I have no idea what made this band acceptable where another band gets labeled “problematic.” I’m not trying to call out sites as hypocritical, but I am flummoxed at how the social media and metal community machines seem to be more than a bit arbitrary in their choosing who gets roasted and who doesn’t. Ultimately it’s my belief that we draw our own lines as to what we’ll listen to, support, and not; just as it’s ultimately ourselves we’ll have to live with regarding our decisions. For me, there’s nothing remarkable about Heavenly Vulva or Archgoat that would override the problems I see inherent in their choices, so count this entry as the only time I’ll be mentioning them.
But good news for those of you who feel differently: I have it on good authority that “Do what Thou Wilt” shall be the whole of the law.