Album Review – Goatchrist / Discipline and Terror (The Timeless Praxes of the Drakon Covenant) EP (2016)

Offering an exciting amalgamation of styles and elements, one of the most gripping Blackened Death Metal projects from the UK is back with the next step in its prosperous career.

Rating5

goatchrist-discipline-and-terror-the-timeless-praxes-of-the-drakon-covenant-coverIt’s becoming a delightful routine at The Headbanging Moose to publish a detailed review of the idiosyncratic and whimsical creations by British Blackened Death Metal project Goatchrist at least once a year. With that said, as 2016 draws to its dramatic close, there’s nothing better than carrying on with this special tradition with another top-tier EP by this West Yorkshire-based act led by the young and restless Dominator Xul’Ahabra, this time vampirically entitled Discipline and Terror (The Timeless Praxes of the Drakon Covenant).

Featuring American musician Invoker (Defecrator, Gloriam Draconis) on vocal duties instead of Dominator himself, Discipline and Terror (The Timeless Praxes of the Drakon Covenant) is a robust continuation to the prosperous career of the talented Dominator, being different in many aspects from his previous releases, the 2014 full-length She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror and the 2015 EP The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil, by offering the listener new vibrant elements of extreme music spiced up with nuances of other non-metal genres. And despite all advancements and variations in the music found in the EP, it still has that Goatchrist trademark sounding that makes this project stand out in the independent scene.

Bursting violence and anger, Enter Morain presents elements from Black, Death and Thrash Metal united in an aggressive way, with Invoker firing some Hardcore rasp vocals while Dominator delivers his usual darkened riffs and beats, never slowing down and always sounding electrified. The sensational The Burning of Jerusalem follows a pattern closer to Goatchrist’s previous releases, with its guitar riffs and solos, as well as its rhythmic blast beats, bringing a lot progressiveness and epicness to the musicality, making Invoker’s work on vocals easier and more dynamic when growling the song’s insurgent lyrics (“Now burn, Jerusalem. / For your reign has been broken, / By the sword of Western might / Know that we, your enemy, / Gift this blaze to thee, / So ye may bathe beneath its radiant light.”). Moreover, the compelling experimentations of Dominator with all his eccentric sounds and instruments are always a breath of fresh air to his compositions, sounding as if there were three or four songs in one like what we can witness in this excellent tune.

goatchrist-discipline-and-terror-the-timeless-praxes-of-the-drakon-covenant-newlogoThen out of nowhere, Dominator simply surprises us with a gentle atmospheric (and almost symphonic) ballad named A Meditation in Dead Stillness, very introspective and melancholic from start to finish, not to mention its beautiful name, working as a cinematic intermission to all madness flowing from the following song, the elaborate The Shadow of Malintent. Invoker darkly declaims the song’s elegiac lyrics (“The darkness is coming / And I too there dwell: / Older than day or night, / With fury that none may quell. / Sever your causal ties. / And lift your head to meet / with my gaze; then in a daze / See your ego’s defeat.”) while the music brings forward a Blues-ish vibe with elements from classic Western scores, Doom Metal and Blackened Doom, never getting full Black Metal but still feeling as Stygian as the other songs. In addition, the precise sync between Dominator’s guitar solos and bass lines with Invoker’s growls help the duo tell the story proposed magnificently.

Dominator Xul’Ahabra and his Goatchrist, an amazing project that has been on an upward spiral in the Extreme Metal independent scene in the UK since its inception, can be contacted through their official Facebook page, and their brand new opus Discipline and Terror (The Timeless Praxes of the Drakon Covenant) is available at their BandCamp page, where you can also take a very good listen at and even buy all Goatchrist’s previous albums. In summary, Discipline and Terror (The Timeless Praxes of the Drakon Covenant) is another solid step in Dominator’s career, offering fans of extreme music an exciting amalgamation of styles and elements and, consequently, fortifying the name of Goatchrist and helping the project achieve new heights and spread darkness all over the world.

Best moments of the album: The Burning of Jerusalem.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Independent

Track listing
1. Enter Morain 4:27
2. The Burning of Jerusalem 7:31
3. A Meditation in Dead Stillness 2:08
4. The Shadow of Malintent 8:43

Band members
Invoker – vocals
Dominator Xul’Ahabra – all instruments

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Interview – Dominator Xul’Ahabra (Goatchrist)

Do you want to know what goes on inside the mind of a young and talented black metaller? Check out this great interview with the architect behind British Blackened Death Metal band Goatchrist, Dominator Xul’Ahabra, and you will find the answers to most of your questions.

goatchrist-logoThe Headbanging Moose: Let’s start with some basic information about you and Goatchrist, for the readers who are not totally aware of your work as a musician: could you please tell us who Dominator Xul’Ahabra is, as well as how and when the band was originated? What’s the main concept or idea behind Goatchrist?

Dominator Xul’Ahabra: Dominator Xul’Ahabra is the character I view as being the manifestation of all of my ‘left hand path’ aspects (Xul being Arabic for evil). The band began as a vessel to release music I’d written whilst auditioning for Sathamel, but thereafter I realised it could be directed and used as an application of chaos magick and the Order of Nine Angles (hence the constant theme rotation). My core vision for Goatchrist is to ascend the band to a level where I can accurately teach others about what I see as being the most advanced philosophical view that man has conjured.

THM: I really enjoyed your brand new EP, The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil. This is the type of music I believe all metalheads in the world want to hear, something that is at the same time electrifying and substantial. How were the writing and production processes for this EP? What worked really well and what were the areas where you think you could have done better than the final result?

Dominator: My gratitude to you for your compliments. ‘Enlil’ was an EP that essentially was a directed and remoulded series of songs I’d written over a large period (January 2013 to December 2014) that I saw potential in. The writing process usually consisted of myself, my laptop, obscure locations and drugs. The entire thing wasn’t written together so there was no distinct writing process. The recording occurred at my home studio, except drums which I recorded on an electronic kit at my friend’s house (who then quantised them, as my drumming proficiency leaves much to be desired).

THM: How do you sense the evolution of your music based on your previous releases, such as She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror? Do you feel there are any limits to where you can get with the type of music played by Goatchrist?

goatchrist_fb_imgDominator: I see Goatchrist as a limitless band. I think specific musical styles fit certain themes so the musical direction will always change. There must be a natural progression from release to release, otherwise peoples’ interest stagnates.

THM: One thing that really draw my attention while listening to songs like Inferno, The Triumvirate’s Flight to Nippur, Plaguewood and She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror is the exceptional harmony found in each one of them amidst all the necessary violence and negativity found in Black Metal, in other words, they’re not just disgruntled noise, and that’s corroborated by the fact the song Inferno has already been selected twice to be played on The Metal Moose Radio together with lots of non-extreme bands. How do you manage to keep your music so extreme but at the same time relatively easy to listen to? Which special techniques do you apply to the recording or editing of your songs to make them so cohesive and melodic?

Dominator: Thank you very much. Haha, I don’t know the answer to that one. I just write what I think sounds good and then play it. My recording technique is so basic, everything goes through a UX1 through Pod Farm and into Audacity. That’s pretty much all I can offer in the way of ‘how I do what I do’.

THM: Moving on to your personal life, when and why did you choose to follow the path of Black Metal? What does extreme music mean in your life and how do you see the impact it has on your interaction with the society you live in?

Dominator: Extreme music doesn’t always appeal. There’s only a few bands that actually do it well. Sure, those bands (Absu, Nachtmystium, Summoning, for example) are amongst my favourites, but as regards their influence on the society I live in, I don’t see it much. Society is only influenced by one thing, and that’s philosophy. We’re mostly all bound to a stupidly mundane way of thinking and analysing things, and it dulls our creativity and doesn’t let specific, niche art forms overly influence society in a great way anymore.

Goatchrist-EpicTragedy

Album Review – Goatchrist / The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil EP (2015)

THM: It’s a known fact that you’re a very young guy with a huge passion for extreme music and that’s very inspiring, but what do your parents, friends and teachers think about it? Do they understand at all what you’re doing or is there a lot of misconception on their side due to the nature of the music you’re creating?

Dominator: They don’t really pay much attention to it. My mum shows a moderate interest, but it’s not her cup of tea. Some of my metalhead friends listen to my stuff but that’s about it; to most of my friends I’m just Jacob, not Dominator.

THM: Talking about your creative process, it’s remarkable that such a young person can go from traditional Sumerian folklore, like what we can see in The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil, to 17th century French occultism and Luciferianism as the concept for your next release, which you’re already working on. What are your sources of inspiration that help you maintain your music at such interesting level? Do you read a lot of books, focus on detailed researches on the Internet, watch a lot of documentaries or have any other hobbies that foment your creativity? And how do you know a specific theme or concept is the one you will transform into music?

Dominator: Thank you. My album concepts are based upon my own logical layout and general flow, over which researched ideas are placed. All the above aforementioned research methods are used, as well as a lot of meditation.

As far as knowing which one I’ll use, I have no set way of deciding. It just all comes together, haha.

THM: Although your young age is good on one side in terms of energy and creativity, on the other side it can also bring some unwanted consequences such as not being able to perform live at a specific venue, just like what has recently happened to you and your band. Could you tell us more about that incident and how that impacted you as a musician and Goatchrist as a band? And what are your plans for future tours with Goatchrist?

Dominator: We weren’t allowed by law to play the show, after which I made some rude comments about the venue which I sincerely apologised for. I don’t particularly want to talk about this event, but Goatchrist did suffer because of it. I have no plan to play live in the near future (not with Goatchrist, anyway).

THM: What’s your opinion on the current state of Black Metal and extreme music in general in the UK and all over the world? Do you see yourself not doing extreme music in the future or maybe not even working as a musician? Do you already feel ready to face the heavy burden that comes with a career in music, especially in Black Metal?

Dominator: Generally the same as it’s always been: shit. The UK scene is an exception, where this form of music is flourishing at the minute, though black metal is only a perfected art form in the hands of a few individuals. I’d say America has the best black metal in the world at the minute. I’ll never not play music, whether it stays extreme is simply a question of time.

I’m not sure what burden you refer to. Goatchrist is essentially my glorified hobby, the moment it burdened me is the moment I’d drop it forever.

THM: In the demo She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror you recorded an interesting cover version for Fatal Equinox (Perpetual Resplendence), by Brazilian Black/Death Metal band Goatpenis. Do you have any plans for future cover versions, or was that a once-off recorded as a tribute to one of your favorite bands? And regarding your personal preferences, who are your biggest idols and influences in music and life in general?

Dominator: Goatpenis are a band I relate to because they’re Brazilian, and I’m Portuguese. I’d been wanting to cover Fatal Equinox for a few years before I actually did it too. There might be a cover coming soon, I’m unsure as of yet. I can confirm that it won’t feature my vocals, anyway.

My personal heroes are varied in character; people from Varg Vikernes to Brian Molko. I look up to artists that push to create a certain image and sound against the trend.

goatchrist-cover

Album Review – Goatchrist / She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror (2014)

THM: What do you do in your free time (if you have any), and what bands are part of your current playlist? Are there any new or underground bands that you could recommend to people who appreciate Goatchrist and to all fans of heavy music?

Dominator: In my free time I’m usually out and about with friends, or practising guitar. I don’t have time for much else. My current playlist is an incredibly varied mix, and the top ten most featured artists would be Nachtmystium, Absu, Placebo, Scars on Broadway, Deafheaven, Darkspace, Melechesh, Slowdance, Rob Zombie and Naked City (the latter there being a truly amazing band on another level, with their album “Torture Garden” being my favourite album of all time).

As far as recommending bands to fans, there’s a fair few I could name. My vocal style is inspired by Nyogthaeblisz, who are a truly amazing outfit and well worth a listen. Conqueror and Revenge are both bands I tried to draw parallels with in the first demo, and there’s certainly similarities to Absu with ‘The Epic Tragedy…” There’s some other local bands that have a loosely similar (though incredibly powerful) sound, these being Slaughter Throne and Sathamel, who both serve as inspiration to Goatchrist. Other bands I’d recommend checking out are Grimsvotn, Written in Torment and Moloch, whose respective sole members have all contributed to my musical outlook.

THM: Thanks a lot for your time, and keep up the excellent work you’re doing in Black Metal. Last but not least, please feel free to send one final message to your fans and to anyone who’s just getting to know Goatchrist here in Canada, in the UK and anywhere else in the world.

Dominator: You’re very welcome. Thank you to everyone who’s supporting Goatchrist, I’m truly appreciative of everyone who’s given positive feedback as regards the EP. Prepare yourself for the upcoming split we have due out with Angmaer sometime in the future too. Agios o Noctulis!

The new EP is available from HERE.

Links
Goatchrist BandCamp | Facebook
SixSixSix Music Big Cartel | Facebook

Album Review – Goatchrist / The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil EP (2015)

One of the most promising Black Metal bands in the world steps their game up with a unique concept and more of their thought-provoking music.

Rating3

Goatchrist-EpicTragedyWhen the demo She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror by British Blackened Death Metal band Goatchrist was reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose last year, I said the band was surely going to leave their mark in the world of extreme music in the years to come so electrifying the album was. In less than one year, this Wakefield/Halifax-based group has substantially improved in terms of songwriting and quality of their music, leading up to their superb new EP entitled The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil and solidifying their place atop the list of most promising Black Metal bands in the world. And if you don’t believe me when I say they’re the future of Extreme Metal, please read this review and listen to their thunderous music, and you’ll promptly understand why.

To begin with, remember we’re talking about a 17-year old musician, Dominator Xul’Ahabra, who still has a long way to go in his life but who at the same time is already capable of crafting extremely complex and meaningful music at such a young stage of his career. For instance, he even plays some very unusual instruments in this EP such as the mellotron, the theremin, the glockenspiel and the ice bells. In addition to that, there’s an incredible concept behind the whole EP, increasing its depth and level of intricacy compared to the majority of all other recent metal releases. The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil is based upon a story from traditional Sumerian folklore: a brief outline of the story is that it follows a trio of sorcerers in ancient Sumer (where modern-day Iraq exists) who are summoned to the temple of the god Enlil, who informs them that his Tablet of Destinies (the relic that enables him to be universally recognized as the Supreme deity) has been stolen by the Anzû bird. You can read more details about this awesome concept HERE, but either way you have to admit this is not your regular subject matter from such a young musician, right?

However, it’s the music itself in The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil that trespasses all boundaries of darkness and the unknown, providing us headbangers a unique experience in extreme music. The eerie organ and background voices in Intoduction properly set the tone for the tempest that’s about to come in The Triumvirate’s Flight to Nippur, which is almost the same powerful and intense song from their 2014 demo, this time with Dominator’s dark vocals to make it even more diabolical and therefore a billion times better. A Message Blows East on Sumerian Winds is top-notch Black Metal with hints of Middle-Eastern elements, especially in regards to the rhythm, also presenting solid guitar lines and an interesting theremin solo that end up taking the listener through an intense music journey.

goatchrist-logoThe following song, Plaguewood, showcases more atmospheric passages and symphonic elements, without abandoning of course the obscurity of the blackest form of metal music through Dominator’s vocals and riffs. It’s so captivating it doesn’t feel like it goes over six minutes, and I assure you that your head won’t hurt with such brutal musicality either. Then we have the masterpiece The Great Battle at the Ruins of Ninurta’s Temple, a song that perfectly represents its name: a battle amidst ancient ruins to the sound of old school Black Metal with a strong harmonic vein. I’m sure Behemoth’s one and only Nergal would love such darkly engaging composition, just as you will.

In the excellent Enki (The Ascendance of the Three to the Immortal Seats), including: a) Anu and b) Eternal Revitalisation,  Goatchrist get closer to the sonority of their 2014 demo, bitterly devilish and with its last part being a savage denouement to the story told in The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil. Actually, after all that devastation there’s still an outro entitled Epilogue, where the church organ is back to close this incredible concept EP in the most climatic way possible.

As aforementioned, Goatchrist have truly stepped their game up in The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil. What an amazing and original concept put forth by Dominator and his crew enhanced by their unique extreme music, and honestly I can’t see another EP (as well as lots of full-length albums) being better than this one in 2015. Moreover, the next release by Dominator and his horde is already in the planning stage, with a shift in history to traditional 17th century French occultism and Luciferianism, which makes me eager already for more of their dark music. Anyway, The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil is available through the band’s official BandCamp page and through SixSixSix Music’s Big Cartel page, and if I were you I would grab a copy of it without thinking twice. Goatchrist are not only the future of Extreme Metal, but with releases like The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil they’re proving they’re also the present.

Best moments of the album: The Triumvirate’s Flight to Nippur and The Great Battle at the Ruins of Ninurta’s Temple. As a matter of fact, the whole EP is amazing.

Worst moments of the album: None, of course.

Released in 2015 SixSixSix Music

Track listing
1. Introduction 2:50
2. The Triumvirate’s Flight to Nippur 5:18
3. A Message Blows East on Sumerian Winds 2:40
4. Plaguewood 6:27
5. The Great Battle at the Ruins of Ninurta’s Temple 4:05
6. Enki (The Ascendance of the Three to the Immortal Seats), including: a) Anu and b) Eternal Revitalisation 5:10
7. Epilogue 1:57

Band members
Dominator Xul’Ahabra – vocals, electric lead guitar, electric rhythm guitar, electric bass guitar, drums, percussion (including glockenspiel and ice bells), a variety of keyboards, church organ, mellotron, theremin, lyrical sorceries
Conqueror Va’sh – electric rhythm guitar
Blood-Count Aamon Vetis – electric bass guitar, backing vocals