Sacred Goat are a metal band from Bogota, Colombia, who’ve been at it since 2010; their debut album, Sinful Self, was released earlier this month. (Buy it from CDBaby.)

Their music is a fast, ferocious blend of punk, thrash, and death metal. Interestingly, they’re willing to sacrifice heaviness for speed and aggression—they have two guitarists (Sergio Avila on leads, and Roger Florez on rhythm), but no bassist. Songs like “Brutal Violencia” and “Teeth Removed” recall Cannibal Corpse in their ability to create a groove out of churning mayhem, though it’s difficult to tell if the lyrics are quite as gore-soaked as that band’s. Other tracks like “Paraphilia” and “Sacred Goat” have a thrashy, hardcore/grindcore/shred feel that’s strongly reminiscent of Max Cavalera‘s underrated project with his brother Igor, Cavalera Conspiracy (a band that’s much bigger in South America than here in the States). Avila’s playing seems indebted to CC and Soulfly lead guitarist Marc Rizzo‘s wild eruptions, though he’s also capable of sheets of searing noise and squealing pinch harmonics, as needed.

Drummer Cristian Martínez does a good job of pumping energy into the music, without going too wild. He shifts back and forth between death metal blasts, straight D-beat machine-gun rhythms, and the occasional fill, but most of the songs are under three minutes (Sinful Self features 11 tracks in less than 28 minutes), so it’s not until the final track, “Dominico,” that he really gets to show off his command of the kit, sending martial barrages at the guitarists in a manner that almost recalls the “trading fours” of hard bop. He’s got a sharp snare sound with a little bit of ring to it, though it never becomes a trash-can crash. Unfortunately, his kick drums are as typewriter-ish as every other death metal drummer’s—sonically, that’s the genre’s biggest problem, one that’s never been satisfactorily solved.

Vocalist Karina Ortega isn’t the focal point the way she’d be in a more traditional/power metal band, but her technique and phrasing are still compelling. She mostly barks the lyrics in a declamatory, Max Cavalera-esque style, shifting back and forth between English and Spanish. On “Brutal Violencia” she shows off everything she’s got, chanting the lyrics at high speed, then emitting a fierce yet still raw scream reminiscent of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, then emitting a high-pitched “pig squeal” sound that renders the words totally unintelligible. Despite being on more or less the same level as the guitarists in the mix, she manages to break through and make herself the focal point when necessary, then disappear without it feeling like there’s suddenly a void in the middle of the music. She’s a team player.

It’s highly unlikely that Sacred Goat will be touring outside South America anytime soon, but that doesn’t make Sinful Self unworthy of death metal fans’ attention. This is a concentrated dose of the good stuff.

Phil Freeman

Watch the video for “Hierophany Torture”:

Watch the video for “Mr. Bastard”:

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