Interview — 24 January 2012
Fans of black metal have a special reason to celebrate this Valentine’s Day as Goatwhore returns with Blood For The Master, their fifth studio album and third offering on Metal Blade Records.
Formed in 1997 in New Orleans, the band is made up of singer Louis B. Falgoust II, guitarist Sammy Duet, drummer Zack Simmons and bassist James Harvey in his first Goatwhore recording since joining the band in 2009 after their previous effort, Carving Out The Eyes Of God. Although Falgoust and Duet are the only remaining founding members, the changes in lineup over the years have served to develop and round the band’s sound as surely as their equipment tweaks over the years.
Blood For The Master is also the band’s third time working with Hate Eternal frontman Erik Rutan in the role of Producer, a relationship Duet spoke of fondly.
"He’s an old friend of the band, which makes things a lot easier," Duet explained. "Working with him is hard, though; you have to be extremely well–prepared to work with Erik, otherwise he’ll tell you to go home and practice and come back when you’re better."
According to Duet, their relationship with Rutan has developed over their last three albums to that akin to family — their comfort and trust in his studio process has left them free to explore their music sonically and grow together as a unit.
"A lot of bands these days can get to sounding sterile and robotic," he continued. "Whereas Erik likes to keep it more organic — instead of copying and pasting a riff or stuff, he’ll make a band sound like they’re playing on a really, really good day."
Blood For The Master is also a triumph in recording for Duet, whose guitar tone is much talked about in guitar circles worldwide; although in interviews past he’s been somewhat secretive of his recipe, he broke down his surprisingly simple rig a little further.
"I like to keep it simple," he said, describing his setup as a combination of Randall VMax amplifier heads through Randall cabinets — equipped with Celestion Vintage 30 tubes — and ESP guitars equipped with Seymour Duncan Blackout Metal pickups.
"I like a guitar sound to be really warm-sounding and round; I’ve never really liked a treble–y guitar tone," he said. "I always play with a lot of mid–range to produce a dark yet articulate guitar sound."
Blood For The Master is widely released on February 14. Fans can get the album through traditional digital and physical copies, including three special-coloured vinyl editions. For more on Goatwhore or to order the record, visit them online at goatwhore.net or at metalblade.com.