Goatcraft Yersinia Pestis Cover 2016One of the best aspects of writing for Angry Metal Guy Inc. Ltd. Turbo Hyper-Fighting Edition, besides the scenic view of the cemetery right outside the window of my broom closet/office, is the chance to review something challenging and different. Texas one-man black metal act Goatcraft definitely fits the bill as both. Yes, we review a crap-ton of one-man (or woman) black metal here, but I don’t recall us ever reviewing an album that’s strictly piano. There truly is a first time for everything, and with that, I’ve been given Yersinia Pestis1, the moody third full-length by pianist and sole-proprietor, Lonegoat.

Baptized by Lonegoat himself as “necroclassical music” in the band’s lofty biography page, Goatcraft take the dark aura and atmospheric heart of black metal, and strip them down to just the bones, retaining the diseased spirit while eschewing trappings such as raspy vocals, blast beats, and guitars. The effect is actually impressive, as lead-off track “Beyond Nothingness,” exemplifies. Even without lyrics or tremolo guitars, the song does a damn good job of evoking an ambiance of dread and terror, all while showcasing Lonegoat as a phenomenal pianist and songwriter, utilizing full chords and melodic trills when the song commands them. It’s a very dramatic, tense piece, and at only three-and-a-half minutes, it sets up the rest of the album perfectly.

Another moldy feather in Yersinia Pestis‘s diseased chapeau is just how rich and full it sounds. Lonegoat’s heavy plunking and baroque fills, especially on the amazing title track, adds to the atmosphere. No nuance is overlooked, and when there’s added instrumentation, such as the simulated flute on “Bodies Piled,” it adds instead of detracts. But it’s when Lonegoat concentrates on using just his playing skills to incite drama, such as the pleasant-yet-dreary “Weeping Buboes,” where Yersinia Pestis truly shines like a rancid beacon in the fog.

Goatcraft Band 2016
For as impressed as I am with Yersinia Pestis, it’s not without some issues. As you can probably guess, it’s not easy to craft a dark atmosphere using only piano and keyboards, and maintaining that aura over the course of a 38-minute album can be downright difficult. Sadly, Yersinia Pestis proves that theory correct, as there’s very little variance in terms of tempo or breathing space within songs, causing the album to feel longer than the actual run-time. Also, this album is the epitome of the term “mood music,” as your mileage will vary greatly depending on what mood you’re in as you’re listening. One minute, you’re entrenched in the mire, walking among the diseased dead, and another minute, you could picture this music as the soundtrack of a character select screen of a Gothic-themed video game.

But all-in-all, I found Yersinia Pestis to be an interesting and oftentimes enjoyable listen. With some variation, I can see Goatcraft toppling Xytras‘s re-imagining of Samael‘s Passage as my go-to for neo-classical music. As it is, I’m impressed that someone is pushing the envelope of what’s considered metal, and doing so on their terms. That gets my respect, and I’ll keep an eye out on further releases, as well as Goatcraft‘s prior albums.

DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: v4 mp3
Label: I, Voidhanger Records
Websites: goatcraft.net | facebook.com/goatcraft.texas
Releases Worldwide: July 15th, 2016

Show 1 footnote

  1. The album, not the bacterium itself. Good god, that would suck.
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  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    Great review, Grymm. You hit the nail on the head here:
    “One minute, you’re entrenched in the mire, walking among the diseased dead, and another minute, you could picture this music as the soundtrack of a character select screen of a Gothic-themed video game.”

    The same applies with sad music too. Some of MDB’s “Evinta”, overlong and bloated as it was, was some legitimately gut-wrenching stuff. Then there were parts that sounded like someone’s pet bird got hit by a bus in a low budget Hallmark movie. Or Kvarforth’s more unhinged moments on Halmstad. If you’re feeling Shining, it’s fitting. If not, it sounds like Kermit the Frog with a really bad hernia. Glad this guy put forth what seems like a non-ironic and sincere effort though, even if it doesn’t always work.

    • Blueberry Balls

      Dude, you are the first person I have ever come across that can top me in descriptions. Kermit the Frog with a really bad hernia? Awesome.

    • Grymm

      I still love the review Dan Obstkrieg gave of MDB’s Evinta over at Last Rites, which was not only humorous and well-written, but also succeeded in saving me $50 plus shipping.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        The double CD cost me twelve bucks way back when. I ended up selling it for a bit less. Good thing you didn’t spend 50 on that, that would’ve been terrible!

  • Diego Molero

    This is actually very interesting, I like it.
    As always, great review, Grymm.

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    I love that album artwork

  • Great music to lick your balls to. – Bounders, my chocolate lab.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      My goats keeping “bahhhhing” to it, so that’s fucking unsettling…

  • Tom Hardy

    Exquisite. Thanks for the review Grymmy.

  • jetblindracos

    This is awesome.Would like to hear some of those cathedral organs as backdrop to this.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Bizarre… But mostly interesting stuff. Thanks for the review Grymm.

  • Innit Bartender

    And so another goat comes to the saddle…

    • [not a Dr]

      Goats are like double-unicorns.

  • Col_Dax

    I’m wondering, what a genius like Alfred Brendel could pull out of such compositions (of course without the keyboard parts, which are pretty generic)?

    But I think, he doesn’t care…

  • OzanCan

    I am liking this