Goatwhore Frontman Shares Views on New Album, Near-Death Experience + More
During the last stop of Goatwhore's tour with Lock Up, we got the chance to speak to one of the most intimidating voices in extreme metal. Goatwhore frontman Ben Falgoust gave Loudwire an introspective view into the band's music as well as his personal beliefs on various dark topics.
Falgoust opened up about his near-death experience in 2001, when the band's van crashed, leaving him bound to a wheelchair and how he found the strength to get back on his feet. The guttural vocalist also discussed his fascination with death, his take on organized religion and his determination to achieve his highest aspirations.
Please enjoy Loudwire's exclusive interview with Ben Falgoust of Goatwhore:
Today is your last date on tour with Lock Up, how has it been touring with a bunch of guys who are already legends from their other bands?
I'm sure you answer that yourself in a sense. It's awesome. All of them are big influences with everything they've done individually (Napalm Death, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, At the Gates) much less what they're doing in Lock Up as well. It's a really cool thing to do playing with guys who you grew up being influenced by. Not to mention that they're all really cool, so that benefits it even more, tenfold.
Speaking of legendary bands, you guys are about to tour with Hate Eternal.
Yeah, right after this we meet up with them. We've got one show in Virginia tomorrow and then we have a day off to get to Houston to meet up with Hate Eternal.
That's definitely worth the drive.
We've had some crazy drives, but overall everything works out pretty good.
Even though Lock Up is the headliner of this tour, have there been just as many Goatwhore fans coming out to the shows as Lock Up fans?
We both share a lot of the same fans. We both do pretty extreme things. This is the first time Lock Up has been in the U.S. so it's been an awesome thing. To me it's more of an extremist underground type of package rather than some of the things we've done in the past like the DevilDriver tour.
Do you feel more in your element when you play to a crowd that is a little more underground?
I know that the people who come out and are based in the underground really have their hearts in it. They rough it out. I won't say that some fans are better than others, but when you have people are into that extreme structure, it's a little bit more intense.
Your new album is 'Blood for the Master,' which is really awesome. Do you feel like this is your most aggressive CD to date?
I wouldn't necessarily say that. We all have different opinions about how everything is. I've done numerous interviews so far, as have other guys in the band, and its kind of unique to see the different ideas from everybody. Everyone has their own take from different angles and even internally with us there are different takes. The song 'In Deathless Tradition,' which is on the record, me and Sammy [guitar] were talking about it and I was telling him that there were elements in it that reminds me of early Paradise Lost. Then he was like, "That's weird, because I hear it to be more like Bethlehem." So its cool because everybody has their different take on it. Its all rooted and grown in the evolution of the band. I know on a personal level, some may not agree, but I feel like some of our older stuff was a little more chaotic and extremist in certain sorts of ways. I think there are different variations you can approach it with.
Compared to your last album 'Carving Out the Eyes of God,' it sounds like you've brought a little more of your black metal influence back in 'Blood for the Master.'
I think they're pretty close, but I also think with 'Blood for the Master' it's a little more solid. We seemed way more focused with 'Blood for the Master.' I'm not going to say that this is our best record yet. I just think that at the point now with how things are internally with the band, that's it's just more solid and focused. I think that plays a big role with how everything comes across as well.
One of the themes throughout the album is to shed your own blood in sacrifice for Satan. What made you choose that theme?
A lot of the lyrics are based on my beliefs and by my ideas behind things. I'm in no was a Satanist, that's for sure, but I do delve into a lot of dark literature and a lot of dark ideas. I wouldn't say infatuated, but I'm interested in those ideas. So ever since the van accident I was in back in 2001, I've always had this infatuation with death. That caused me to delve into researching death. There are actually cults that worship death, being that death is a higher power mightier than any sort of symbol of God, because death is absolute. It's the only real thing we know that happens instead of all these ideas of the afterlife, so that flows into the album. The whole 'Blood for the Master' idea boils down not just to the basis of what people may see - giving up your blood for "Lord Satan." We've given our lives and our blood to music all of this time, so there are so many different variations of the meaning behind it.
It's interesting that you brought up the van accident that put you in a wheelchair, because when some people debate atheists, they say that there are "no atheists in foxholes." You were the atheist in the foxhole.
I pretty much was. They have the religious guy who goes around the hospital and comes in to offer any assistance and I was just like, that's not really needed. At this point I have this idea that people have friends or family or some kind of crutch that you utilize to get yourself to a point, but it's basically all up to you to get over that hurtle and move onward. It has nothing to do with some kind of higher power or anything like that. It's something you have to do - to work hard getting towards your goals.
The thing I want people to realize is that I don't care about what you believe in. I just don't like when people force it and try to make this big tirade over anything like that. I want people to understand that a human being, his or herself, is more powerful than any kind of thought of a higher power. People don't realize how much power they have mentally and physically to overcome things. I'm not going to say its easy, because it isn't, but it's there and people need to stop putting everything on this crutch and making an excuse for everything when they know they can all do it themselves. That's what's going to lead us into the proper direction where we need to be as the human race.
To me it just seems like people are so much smarter. What do you go to church for and what do you give money for? If God is almighty then what does he need money for? Is he going to shop at Best Buy next week for a new TV? To me it's just a little absurd. I grew up in a Protestant household, but my parents let me take my own path.
In the February 2012 edition of 'Decibel,' Goatwhore guitarist Sammy said that he believes in God and believes in Hell - and that he know's he's going to Hell and is fine with it. What is your idea of the afterlife?
I don't really have a set thing like that. To me there is just so much going on now and while I'm alive. I don't bother myself with something that I have no control over. Basically when I get to that bridge and cross it is when I'll take it on. I still think here and now there is always something to learn and to move forward with, so why trouble myself with something I don't know is going on? All these people have their ideas and everything, but that's where I think people get lost with the now.
When I came close to death, I embraced it. I think at one point you realize that its inevitable. The thing with religion is that it gives people the security about death, when you should just accept that it's a natural thing, whether it be in a bad accident or of natural causes. There are none of us that are living forever, that's for damn sure.
Goatwhore are currently on tour with Dying Fetus and the Faceless and the band's acclaimed record 'Blood for the Master' is now available.