Christening your band “Goatwhore” is definitely not the path of least resistance to widespread social acceptance. This is unfortunate, because to hear lead singer Ben Falgoust explain it, Goatwhore are actually the black metal band that just want to be liked.
“Come hang with us at the bar before or after a show. Especially if you’re seeing us for the first time and you’re intimidated, like ‘Wow, those guys look pretty pissed off.’” he says, “It’s not like that. You’ll see that we’re just like anybody else, we’re just chasing after something that we’re really into.”
And what exactly is Goatwhore into? A survey of the band’s lyrics reveals a near-inexhaustible fascination with, and vocabulary for, all manners of blasphemy. Indeed, Goatwhore is so committed to debasing God that one suspects any invitation to “hang at the bar” might actually mean a moonlit congregation in which cursed wine and blackened host are taken derisively from a chalice stamped with the he-goat, over the most abject of altars — a human on all fours, rump soiled repeatedly. Again, not so, Falgoust says.
“You know, everyone thinks we eat, sleep, and drink evil. It’s not like we’re completely stern, serious, people.” he said, “We want people to come to our shows and like it. You know, have a good time, have fun, then go home and be like ‘Wow, that was really great time.’”
Goatwhore will have another chance to win over Winnipeg audiences on Sept. 20, when the New Orleans-based group hits town for the fourth time in two years.
“We try to get through western Canada as much as possible,” he explains. “A lot of bands have border restrictions, certain records and things that make it hard to get across. Luckily, we’re not actually criminals, so we like to take advantage of that while we can.”
The band is promoting their fourth album Carving Out the Eyes of God, a black metal-inflected blast of old school Satanism, reminiscent of what Falgoust calls “the traditional ways” of genre touchstones like Venom. He credits this direction to co-lyricist Sammy Duet, a man who, like everything else about Goatwhore, is a compelling paradox — his personal Myspace.com page finds pictures of pentagrams co-existing alongside pictures of his cats.
“(Duet) is definitely the more Satanic edge in the band. I’m more, I guess you could say, atheist. I don’t believe in any sort of higher power or anything like that,” Falgoust asserts. Accordingly, most of his creative energy is expended ripping on religion in songs with titles like “Baptized in a Storm of Swords.”
“I’ve tried to learn about the history of religions.” he says, “There comes a point in your life where you read beyond what you were taught and your eyes are opened up. You become more intelligent by understanding history and what man has done.”
That said, the ever-accessible Falgoust is quick to dispel any possible concerns that Goatwhore might actually be some kind of academic discourse in disguise.
“It’s not like we do NASA-level research for our lyrics. We’re not astronauts,” he assures. “I’m just somebody who knows a lot about the trouble religion has caused. It’s like a person that’s into the green movement, and pushes recycling and all that. I’m not a negative person at all, this is my passion.”
All in all, it seems Goatwhore are actually just bunch of chill bros. Only one nagging presumption remains: just how weirded out are people by that name anyway?
“Not at all.” Falgoust says, verbally reaching into his big bag of surprises one last time, “I think there’s people who look at us and go like ‘Ah ha, ‘Goatwhore’! Look at that name, it’s funny, let’s go see this band, it’s something crazy.’ It actually kind of draws people.”
Goatwhore opens for Obituary at The Garrick Centre on Sept. 20.. Look at that name. It’s funny. Let’s go see this band. It’s something crazy.