Goatwhore w/ Spiter • November 25, 2023 • The Orpheum — Tampa, FL • Photos by Randy Cook — instagram.com/horns_raised
LIVE REVIEW — Goatwhore
November 25, 2023 | The Orpheum, Tampa, FL
Review by Randy Cook /// @horns_raised
Extreme metal giants Goatwhore thundered into Tampa, Florida’s The Orpheum in support of their latest studio release ‘Angels Hung From the Arches of Heaven’. In support on this tour were two bands I was not familiar with, Spiter, was the opening act and Withered would finish priming the crowd up for Goatwhore to …”obliterate the screams of the weak”. That is and always has been my favorite lyric of Goatwhore, taken from the song ‘Apocalyptic Havoc’, which is absolutely impossible not to headbang to. I usually do not like to look ahead to a band’s setlist from prior shows, but I had to peek this time and was highly pleased to see this tune included.
As soon as I knew I was for sure going to this show I sent out an email to my concert going friends asking who all was interested hoping to get a group of us going. A few replies mentioned being so close to the Thanksgiving holiday several of my friends were out of town, but the best reply came from my friend (one F) Jef. He said he looked up the band (Goatwhore) and he was worried that a portal to Hell would be opened in the mosh pit at the show. He would pass this time but to let him know the next show I was going to. That is priceless. This was for sure going to be a brutally heavy show, yet I assured Jef he would be perfectly safe. My friend The Foz was the only one who would and could commit, so he ended up accompanying me.
The Foz and I arrived at the venue with plenty of time to see the opening act. This was only my second time at this venue in its current location. This would be my second time seeing Goatwhore and I already had an idea in my mind of the crowd demographics to expect; middle aged long haired dudes in black shirts. To my and The Foz’s surprise there was a strong contingent of patrons under 21, as indicated by the big black X on their wrists, and a handful of them were female. Wow, that is great, that the younger generation appreciates the ferocity of some good death metal on a holiday weekend.
The Philadelphia based trio Spiter opened the show and their sound was a blend of raw black metal with a very punk oriented attitude and continuous guttural growls. Out of the three bands on the lineup tonight, theirs was actually the best lighting for photos of the evening. With their latest album being named ‘Bathe The Babe In Bats’ Blood’ I was highly interested to see what their set would bring. The one thing that I took away from their set was how furious and melodic their sound was.
Withered was up next. Based out of Atlanta, this extreme metal band has five studio albums and a strong fan following on hand. I noticed a couple of people in the crowd in Withered shirts, and during their set I noticed a good number of people singing along to every lyric. They seriously pumped up the crowd with some absolutely crushing songs. With dual guitarists trading off a fury of solos and highly aggressive vocals there was no other option but to amp up the energy. Sadly their lighting was an unchanging solid red the whole set, hence my mostly black and white photos. For me this is a band that warrants further investigation as I found it quite interesting to find out after the fact about their lyrical influences. “Withered has cited Friedrich Nietzsche, C.G. Jung, Georges Bataille, The Marquis de Sade, Arthur Machen and Aleister Crowley as influential thinkers on the group, conceptually”. During the show I did not really understand any of the lyrics (I do not think we were supposed to) but stuff like that fascinates me.
I went up and claimed a dead center, front row spot during the drum set changeover from Withered. All three bands this evening played indoors on the smaller stage where there is no photo pit so it was either go up early or contend with heads, hands and phones to try and get some photos. Then the moment we were all there for was upon us. Goatwhore began the melting of our faces and souls opening with ‘The Bestowal of Abomination’ off of their new album and already within the first few minutes I knew I was in for a sore neck the next day. The absolute ferocious and intense precision of this band is on full display from the first few notes and continues throughout. During that first song I had to remember the golden rule of concert photography in that it is impossible to headbang and take good photos at the same time and given my vantage point I clicked away as ferociously as the band was playing because I knew I could not contain myself the entire night.
While Goatwhore songs mostly include Satanic, anti-Christianity, and occult themes, for me it is about the music, especially their fierce guitar work with heavy crunchy, crushing riffs, pummeling drums, and aggressive vocals. I have always been a fan of thrash metal and the crushing heaviness of this band and the way their sound resonates with me. On stage, they have high energy and an aggressive stage presence and the facial expressions of lead vocalist L. Ben Falgoust II are unmatched with his delivery and intensity along with his guttural vocals. I knew going into the show that we were in for a night of raw, unbridled metal and Goatwhore delivered with every note.
A thirteen song set played heavy from the new album and touched upon six of Goatwhore’s eight studio releases. As I expected ‘Apocalyptic Havoc’ had the biggest response and sing along as that song is simply brilliant in my opinion and it was after that point I finally put my camera down and settled in to just watch and enjoy the rest of the show. Given the aggressive nature of Goatwhore’s music, mosh pits are a common occurrence at their concerts, but there really was not one this evening – everyone just seems to be more focused on the music and the interaction the band members were giving us fans. This band has a very passionate fan base and that was quite evident by the amount of Goatwhore shirts I saw in the crowd.
I initially was a bit disappointed that this show was to be inside on the smaller stage but after the fact, I was happy with how my photos turned out. There was solid color lighting for both Withered and Goatwhore, hence mostly black and white photos. It was a fantastic way to close out a holiday weekend with a metal show of the heaviest variety. I got to hang out with one of my decades long friends and the people watching is an absolute goldmine. This was the next to last show on this tour and I will most certainly be on the lookout for future dates near me to see Goatwhore for my third time!
November 25, 2023 at The Orpheum, Tampa, FL
The Bestowal of Abomination
Parasitic Scriptures of the Sacred Word
Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult
Collapse in Eternal Worth
Born of Satan’s Flesh
Angels Hung From the Arches of Heaven
Death From Above
And I Was Delivered From the Wound of Perdition
Baring Teeth for Revolt
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