The 3 years that have passed since Archgoat’s last outing "The Apocalyptic Triumphator", seems to have been particularly revolutionary for them, "Luciferian Crown" is by the far the most complex and well planned the band’s album I think I’ve ever heard.
"The Luciferian Crown" displays a maturity and evolution in the group’s sound, don’t be fooled though it still sounds like Archgoat, the riffs and heaviness are still there, everything has just got tighter and more refined. The first impression fans of the band will notice is the jump in production quality, so many of their previous works have had a strong lo-fi old school feel to them, which is by no means a bad thing however the intensity of the music presented within this record sounds so much larger and imposing, particularly the drum sound which is fat and driving; in the past the drums have sounded very cavernous which can detract from some of the impact of the drums.
Aside from the cleaner production there is just more attention to detail, whether it be the lead guitar work, small details such a vocal embellishments and textures or just the fact that Diabolus Sylvarum actually has the opportunity to infuse the songs with some simple yet effective synth parts (such as "Star of Darkness and Abyss"), something that wasn’t really felt on their last release.
Musically this is potentially Archgoat’s most accessible to date, there is a strong punk/thrash influence with some truly catch riffs popping out from amongst the standard repetitive yet punishing riffs that so many have come to expect from the demonic Finnish twins. There is also a good balance of songs, it’s not an all-out bestial blast-fest that I’ve come to expect of Archgoat, there are some great mid-paced moments like "The Obsidian Flame (From My Depths)" which brings to mind Ofermod with its lead guitar riff and almost groove-alden pace.
Somewhat ironically in a sub-genre that is known for being as unrestrained and ferocious as possible Archgoat have hit one of their best if not the best highs of their career by exercising restraint, instruments are allowed to breath and occupy their own space when necessary, lending a sense of dynamics that I haven’t heard them do as well before. It’s bound to please war metal freaks but I wouldn’t be surprised if they manage to lure in some of the fans from the larger black metal scene.
Archgoat's "The Luciferian Crown" came out on September 14, 2018, via Debemur Morti Productions. Order it here.
Reviewed by Dan Thaumitan