Having released their first demo away back in 2002, this debut album by Peruvian devils Goat Semen has been more than a decade in the making. In the intervening years, the band have released a few split EPs, deliberately designed to tantalize their fans – among whom they have reached almost mythic status befitting Incan gods – and not one but two live albums.
‘Ego Svm Satana’ is a more than decent slice of black/death metal crossover of the style which will not be unfamiliar to those, erm, familiar with the South American interpretation of the sub-genre. Very much redolent of the nascent Scandinavian sound – and especially the likes of Bathory – but benefitting from the advances of modern technology, it is an unrelenting and unremitting assault of complete and total evil intent which summons forth all the true black metal gods and pays due cognisance and obeisance thereto.
Following the demon summoning chant of the opening intro, ‘Holocausto’ is brutalizing and brief in its punky brevity, before ‘Genocidio’ unleashes a positively behemothic blitzkrieg of blastbeats which characterizes the rest of the album in its furious intensity. ‘Warfare Noise’ evokes Venom in their mid-Eighties heyday, with Wa Han Beleth’s wall of distorted, fedback guitars overtopped by Erick Neyra’s dark and menacing, almost chanted growl: for the first time, the singer also produces a range of King Diamond-esque album which then punctuate the album to bloodcurdling effect.
‘Revelaciones’ and ‘Altares De Pandemonium’ are pretty standard but extremely well delivered fast end DM-meets-BM fare, with the latter characterized by another truly spine-tingling vocal performance from Neyra. ‘Madre Muerte’ positively exudes pure unbridled evil, and would more than aptly work as the soundtrack for any Day Of The Dead celebration, especially with its rapid bell-tolling bridge and thumping, down-tuned bass groove, while the epic feel of ‘Hambre, Peste, Guerra y Muerte’ would do likewise for the apocalypse itself: in itself, it’s a song which switches easily from dank doominess through to fast ‘n’ furious thrash with a graceful ease, its rumbling, almost Maiden-esque bass riff underpinning an absolutely huge guitar workout that has a strangely bluesy feel to it in a lot of places. The closing title track could not be more appropriate, bringing the album full circle in its full-pelt aural intensity and pure neck-snapping fury, while at the same time retaining the divinely evil intent of the opus as a whole.
If patience is indeed a virtue, then the nigh on decade-and-a-half wait for this world class debut has more than amply been worth the wait.
Letanias de Satan – Intro / Holocausto / Genocidio / Warfare Noise / Revelaciones / Altares De Pandemonium / Madre Muerte / Hambre, Peste, Guerra y Muerte / Ego Svm Satana
‘Ego Svm Satana’ is released via KVLT Records in the UK and Europe, and Hells Headbangers in North and South America, on February 24.