AN NCS PREMIERE: GOATCRAFT’S “PHOBOS” (AND A REVIEW OF THE GOATCRAFT-PLUTONIAN SHORE SPLIT)
On September 4th Hessian Firm will release a split record that includes the music of two San Antonio-based projects, Goatcraft and Plutonian Shore, both of whom have created outstanding releases that we’ve paid attention to before at this site. For this new split, each project has recorded three tracks, and today we’re presenting one by Goatcraft — along with a review of the split as a whole.
As the solo vehicle of musician Lonegoat, Goatcraft has specialized in the creation of dark neoclassical and ambient music that he has named “Necroclassical”. For this new split he created three pieces devoted to the depiction of Mars, drawing inspiration in part from Beherit’s electronic era (in particular Electric Doom Synthesis), and it’s the third of those in the running order — “Phobos” — that we’re premiering today.
Before you reach “Phobos” on the album you’ll experience “Deimos” first and “Mars” second.
“Deimos“, the shortest piece of the conceptually linked trio, pulses with a persistent beat, and around that thumping heart Goatcraft layers a cornucopia of harrowing sounds — deep droning waves, eerie astral vibrations, gunshot blasts, and a repeating, blaring mantra. As the seconds pass, the music shines with increasing brilliance and panoramic sweep, creating a sensation of unearthly splendor — but there’s something unsettling about the music as well, a sense of derangement lurking within it.
“Mars” (a stream of which you’ll also find below) channels feelings of derangement as well. Performed on the piano, albeit with the instrument’s reverberating tones contorted through distorting effects, it entwines ringing minor-keys in the treble range and crashing bass chords against a backing layer of pealing, glimmering sonic radiations. The music becomes increasingly fascinating as the arpeggios grow increasingly elaborate and energized. The mood of the music is elaborate as well, occupying a crossroads where fear, wonder, and a splintering of sanity seem to intersect.
And then comes “Phobos“, which returns to the electronic instrumentation of “Deimos”. The pulse in this piece is dichotomous, a combination of long, slow, ominous, leviathan breaths and a more animated punch. Around those sounds there soars a panorama of shimmering celestial cascades, gradually cresting and falling with orchestral magnificence, along with gleaming, skittering tones. The majesty of the music is unmistakable, but so is the deep feeling of sorrow that it carries.
Collectively, Goatcraft’s trio of tracks creates an immersive atmosphere, yet the differences among them make that experience even more engrossing.
Plutonian Shore‘s three tracks make for a gripping complement to what Goatcraft has achieved. While the music is black metal, it’s animated by a kindred spirit. Their three tracks are also capable of creating feelings of frightening grandeur and berserker insanity, and they too prove to be powerfully immersive — as well as breathtakingly intense and explosively tumultuous. The low-end eruptions seem capable of shaking your home into splinters, while the intricate interplay of the guitars is somehow both entrancing and unnerving. The dynamic vocals are bestially wild, and their intensity may make you blanch.
The music has the kind of surround-sound power that a symphony orchestra generates, and like a symphony it’s richly textured. It’s the kind of music that swallows a listener whole, and it’s relentlessly electrifying. But make no mistake, it’s scary stuff, reaching crescendos of terrifying ecstasy and spinning the listener through whirlpools of unreasoning savagery as well as propelling you to plateaus of awe-inspiring infernal grandeur.
This really is a tremendous release, and Hessian Firm will provide it on CD come September 4th.