GOATWHORE “Where Angels Die”

By Dr. Abner Mality

In the dark recesses of every cathedral, lurking near every sacred crypt, there is a specter...a horned shadow that haunts the servants of God. It may vanish for a time but it always returns. It is the multi-headed demon known as GOATWHORE!

These denizens of the Louisiana swamps have been an active force in the metal underground for 25 years now. Seems almost impossible, doesn’t it? The years race by and yet “The Eclipse of Ages Into Black”, the first GOATWHORE album seems just as fresh as it did in 2000. 2022 brings us the latest blasphemy from these swamp scum, entitled “Angels Hung From The Arches of Heaven”, and it shows both continuity and growth for the band. It’s been a few years since the Good Doctor has hobnobbed with the furry prostitutes, so I hooked up with drummer Zack Simmons to commune and commemorate a quarter century of GOATWHORE…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Greetings and hails, Zack! 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of GOATWHORE, a great achievement in anyone’s book. Does it seem like it has actually been that long or have the years kind of flown by?

ZACK SIMMONS: It’s definitely wild that it’s been that long. In some ways it feels like an eternity but in others it seems to have flown by. We’re just happy to still be creating music together and the fact that people enjoy it is a definite plus.

WC: Do the same ideas and forces influence the band in 2022 that they did in 1997? The output has been very consistent, but have there been changes in philosophy and approach that maybe listeners aren’t aware of?

ZS: The core philosophy and attitude has remained intact for the most part. There’s a natural evolution as musicians and creative/artistic ideas that is apparent, though. The desire to move forward instead of backward and also improve on our strengths is what keeps us going. You learn a lot over time and through trial and error we’ve tried to forge our own path.

WC: The band has been through a ton of adversity...hurricanes, accidents, health scares, etc., etc. Was there ever a time when you thought about packing it in or has the adversity actually been beneficial?

ZS: There have been a lot of unfortunate incidents but the idea of “packing it in” never seemed like an option. Everyone has their doubts from time to time but this band has mostly been a positive thing for each one of us and has helped through the dark times.

WC: GOATWHORE’s last album “Vengeful Ascension” came out in 2017. The world seems way different even in that period of time. Did any of the recent events like Covid and political instability find any reflection in the newer songs?

ZS: No, not really. Aside from the obvious logistical headaches and frustration of the pandemic it didn’t really affect the subject matter. We used the extra time to our advantage to make this collection of songs the best they could be.

WC: Are the tunes on “Angels Hanging...” relatively new or do they date back to “Vengeful Ascension” or even earlier?

ZS: They’re all relatively fresh. There may have been a couple repurposed unused riffs from the past but all the arrangements and most of the material were constructed in the same timeframe.

WC: “Born of Satan’s Flesh” sounds on the surface like the typical devil-worshiping black metal tune but I’m sure there’s more to it than that. What’s the song really trying to say?

ZS: I kind of see it as a short horror story where demons possess earthly bodies to conjure Satan in human form. Fun for the whole family.

WC: Is it safe to say that all the band’s tracks, at least on the new album, have hidden meanings buried in the religious imagery?

ZS: Most of it is open to interpretation but there’s a lot of symbolism that make sense in different ways depending on the level of understanding and outlook possessed by the listener.

WC: GOATWHORE has always been a great mixture of metal styles. The imagery is very black metal, but there’s thrash, death metal, even straight up heavy metal in the music. How important is it to kind of maintain that balance

ZS: It’s never been something we’ve been too conscious of because it happens so naturally for us. Our influences have a pretty wide range within heavy metal and we just write and play what feels right to us. At the end of the day it’s all just “heavy metal”.

WC: Do you have a particular track on the new album that’s a favorite for you?

ZS: For me, each song has it’s own special place as we spent a lot of time working on them. The closing track stands out for me though. It’s a pretty unique song for us and each member’s contributions to the final product really blew me away.

WC: The band has a new bassist, Robert Coleman. How has it been integrating him into such a long running band and what does he bring to the table that maybe wasn’t there before?

ZS: It was long overdue to have him play on a GOATWHORE record since he’s been in the band playing live with us for eight years already. He’s on the same page with us musically and also attitude-wise and I’m very happy with his sound and performance on this album.

WC: I understand the artistic aspect of “Angels Hanging...” was more involved and thought out than before, especially when it came to the use of sigils. Can you tell us a little bit more about this?

ZS: Sigils have been utilized on past albums but even more so on this album. Basically, each letter in a word is combined into a cohesive symbol. There are many books and information out there on sigil magick if anyone’s interested in learning.

WC: Are there any books or movies that have influenced GOATWHORE recently?

ZS: I really don’t watch much TV or movies these days and I’m not sure about the other guys’ viewing habits. I’ve got a collection of Robert E Howard’s Conan stories that I’ve been reading. Also the Tibetan Book of the Dead has been interesting.

WC: You guys have always been known as real road dogs. What touring plans are there behind the new album?

ZS- We’ve just burned the US pretty hard the past few months. We did something like 76 shows since May in the US alone. Next on the agenda is Europe starting in January.

WC: If you could have dinner with any 3 people from history, who would they be?

ZS: Timothy Leary, Michael Aquino, Bon Scott.

WC: I imagine there are a ton of these, but is there any “Spinal Tap” moment from the history of GOATWHORE where things went haywire that you could share with us?

ZS: Too many to count! One funny story is from years ago in Portland. We’re onstage, line checked and ready to start our set but Ben is nowhere to be found. I run out to the loading dock where our van was parked to find him passed out in the van. He was sick and in pretty bad shape but I woke him up and we played the gig.

WC: Any last messages for the Goat-fiends?

ZS: Pick up “Angels From the Arches of Heaven” and we’ll see you out on the road!