Wednesday, April 13, 2022

an interview with Goat Torment

Evil is afoot in the land of Tintin and waffles: Belgium's Goat Torment play a no-nonsense style of black/death metal with the force of a thousand thundering typhoons. Their third album Forked Tongues was released late last year by Season of Mist; I reached out to vocalist/guitarist Kwel to fill me in on their backstory.

Dreams of Consciousness: Please introduce Goat Torment - who are you, where are you from, and how do you describe the music you make?

Goat Torment is a 2 piece black/death metal band. The band originally started in Belgium and the main base is still Belgium, although since the 2nd album the drummer is German.

photo: Maia Ali

DoC: For those who are not familiar with your band, please give a brief history of Goat Torment - when did you form, and what were your goals at the time?

Goat Torment was formed in 2008. I remember it was at a festival in Germany where we first discussed starting the band. The plan was for me to play bass and KJ would handle the vocals. After not finding a fitting guitar player, I decided to play all the guitar parts myself instead while KJ started to play bass. “Goat Torment” is the name that we ended up choosing because it's most fitting with the vision: The sound of tormentry as a destructive weapon. We then recruited drummer Perversor. We recorded a 4 track demo, and everything evolved from that point on. As we started to write more music, we wanted a faster tempo. This led to us parting ways with Perversor.

S. joined the band and we recorded two 7” EP's with that line up. We split ways with bassist/vocalist KJ because of differences. We decided to just remain as two members and recruit session members for live shows. We recorded Dominande Tenebrae at the beginning of 2013.

In the fall of 2014, S. decided to leave the band because of other personal priorities. The hammers were then taken over by drummer Torturer. We recorded the second album Sermons to Death, and the third album Forked Tongues was released on October 29, 2021 through Season of Mist.

DoC: Your first album, Dominande Tenebrae, came out 9 years ago. What were your intentions for the album? How do you feel about it now?

Dominande Tenebrae was released in February 2013. Until today I still like the album and don't have any regrets, it sounds like I wanted it to sound at that point. The intention for releasing this album was to prove that we are dominated by darkness, the devil can be seen in all dimensions.

DoC: Tell me about your songwriting process - how do songs typically come together for Goat Torment? Do you (Kwel) write all the songs on your own?

Normally I write at home, and once I have something finished I see with our drummer what needs to be changed or added to fit with the drums, and to have his input as well. For this third album we had asked our live member (Vagus Nox, who played both bass and guitar at different points) if he wanted to join and participate in the writing process of the new album. He agreed to this proposal.

So this 3rd album was written with 3 [members]. We did the same procedure: We wrote songs at home, and once we had something finished we showed the others and discussed what had to be changed/could be used or what not. After we had a few song ideas ready we came together to practice this in a real live reheasal to see how it was sounding in a live situation, and there were some more things changed to make it how we wanted it to sound.

DoC: Your third album Forked Tongues was released by Season of Mist in October of 2021. How long had you been working on it prior to its release? What were your intentions for the album? How would you compare this latest release to your previous albums?

We all live in 3 different countries (Belgium, Germany, France) so we were writing a lot of ideas at home. When we had a few songs, we came together to rehearse them and work them out more live. We were not in a rush because you can't force the creative process; so we took our time until we were all satisfied with the end result.

At the end of 2019 we booked a studio to start the recordings of the new album, but then the pandemic started so this delayed everything a bit. On the other hand we had a lot of time to focus on the sound, to make it exactly like what we had in mind. With this new album we went a step forward again. Forward in every way: Musically, visually and soundwise.

My intentions for this album were to make something fierce with a huge sound, and we succeeded in this. If I compare it with our previous albums soundwise and [in terms of] songwriting, it's a real big step forward to what I was working for.

DoC: Tell me about the recording of the album - where were the tracks recorded? How long did it take to record the album?

The drums were recorded at 'AMP studio', a studio in Germany. All guitars and bass were recorded at our home studio and the vocals were recorded in Blackout Studio in Brussels, Belgium. Because of the pandemic, all the recordings took way longer then expected. The recording itself went fast but the time between the different recordings took [a long time] because we were not allowed to travel.

DoC: Your album was mixed and mastered by Jérémie Bézier (Phorgath) of the band Emptiness, who has worked on Goat Torment's albums since Dominande Tenebrae. How was Phorgath chosen to handle the production/engineering duties on your albums? What would you say he brings to your sound?

Jérémie has been a friend of mine before we started the band. We recorded our first EP when he started Blackout Studio (which was called Blackout Multimedia back then) and since then he recorded, mixed, mastered everything of Goat Torment until now (except for this last album he only recorded the vocals). He is also our live soundguy so he knows the band really good and I really trust him in his work. I like working with him, and for me he's also a part of the band. When I told him how the third album should sound, he immediately understood what I wanted.

DoC: Forked Tongues will be your first album for Season of Mist. How did they get involved with this release?

The two previous albums had been released by Amor Fati Productions. Marius did a great job in releasing those albums and we got so much support from him. He did almost everything that was asked when it came to the cd and vinyl formats. There were only two important factors and concerns which led to my decision to change labels for this 3rd album:

1. When we were writing the new album it came to my attention that Amor Fati was releasing more raw/atmospheric black metal bands. Goat Torment isn't either of that so I thought that we don't really fit into the label's roster and audience anymore.

2. We wanted more promotion. We've put a lot of time and work in this new album in every aspect, musically and visually. We wanted to reach a bigger and more proper audience because there are some death metal influences and therefore Season of Mist was the best choice for us because they have a diverse fanbase with a mix of black and death metal fans and their promotion is great.

There was a very great feeling from the very first contact we had with SOM. All communication is going flawlessly and their promo team is doing a perfect job. We are happy that we signed with Season of Mist and are looking forward to the future.

DoC: Belgium has a death/black metal scene that's often overlooked, even though some well-regarded bands have come from there. How would you describe the scene there? Who would you say are the notable acts from Belgium that underground metal fans should know about?

Belgium has a small scene but the scene is good in my opinion. Also a lot of great newer bands are popping out now, for example Heinous that just released their first album. To name a few more bands that deserve some attention: Possession, Alkerdeel, Slaughter Messiah, Paragon Impure, Thronum Vrondor, Schizophrenia, Moenen of Xezbeth, A Thousand Sufferings, ....

photo: Maia Ali

DoC: What's next for Goat Torment?

What's next? Finally shows are happening again so we hope to play more shows again soon. Since March 2019 we have our first concert again:: On the 8th of October we'll play in Elpee Music Club in Deinze, Belgium together with Belgian black/thrash maniacs of Demonizer who make their return after 15 years. There are also already plans for a 4th album. I am building a studio at my home at the moment and as soon as this is finished we'll work on album 4. For now people can support us by buying our album and merch at the Season of Mist store or directly through us at our webstore through our website.

Goat Torment on Facebook

Goat Torment on IG

Goat Torment on Bandcamp

Forked Tongues (through Season of Mist webstore)

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