We first began writing about Goatcraft at our site nearly seven years ago, and have continued following the progress of the music ever since. But the story of Goatcraft’s musical evolution began long before that. The project’s sole creator, who goes by the name Lonegoat, was trained as a classical pianist. As a young teenager he was guided into extreme metal by an older friend, taking the first steps on a long journey that eventually led to his creation of the “necroclassical” sounds of Goatcraft.
Along the way, at the age of 20, while living in Tampa, he played with Mike Browning (Morbid Angel, Nocturnus) in a project called After Death. Due to changed circumstances, he decided to join the U.S. Air Force. After his honorable discharge (and a time being stuck in Japan due to bureaucratic snafus), he returned to Tampa and delved deeper into the metal scene. After moving to Texas, where he had spent time in his earlier years, he began working with musicians from the San Antonio bands Plutonian Shore and Emperial Massacre. As he has explained:
“It was here that I realized that my idiosyncratic style had advanced into something entirely different than what most band formats would permit. Mike Browning had advised me to create an all-keyboard project, and this advice is what ultimately birthed the idea of Goatcraft. I came to terms with the fact that in order to reach my vision of piano- and keyboard-driven of music, I would need work by myself to turn that vision into a reality.”
That process began in 2010 during a rush of immediate inspiration. It led to a number of recordings that Lonegoat shared through CDRs with friends and people he had met at concerts. As more time passed, Goatcraft eventually came to release an album named All For Naught (2013) through Forbidden Records, two full-lengths through I, Voidhanger Records — The Blasphemer (2014) and Yersinia Pestis (2016), and an album last year named Submersion via Manticore Press. And now another album is on the way.
This next release, entitled Mephistophelian Exordium, is a double-album. One of the discs collects for the first time since the early days of the project all the tracks from that original demo CDR that Lonegoat passed among friends roughly 10 years ago. The second disc is a 2015 radio performance that was broadcast live on-air by KSYM in San Antonio. And that second disc also includes the song “Mephistophelian Exordium,” which was written and recorded in 2015 while Lonegoat worked on Goatcraft’s third album, Yersinia Pestis.
Today we’re premiering one of the tracks from the first disc of this new compilation. Of that disc as a whole, Lonegoat tells us:
“Although there’s an overabundance of technique exercised in these recordings, the music unravels in many of the tracks in such a way that there is a kind of narrative characteristic to them. From the fast piano parts to the slower gloomy melodies, most of what I had wanted to communicate in metal was achieved in an entirely different medium. As such, this demo is an important glimpse into where Goatcraft came from before the project matured into a more refined state on subsequent releases. Everything must start somewhere, and Goatcraft started here with these primordial demo recordings.“
The track we’re presenting is dense, abrasive, and layered. Although the sound of the instruments is distorted and reverberating, it seems at times like the piano is being accompanied by organ or harpsichord. It begins with vibrating bass chord set against a mist-like backdrop, and the music almost immediately becomes eerie and ominous, but it grows more intense and unnerving. It rumbles and shines, rippling and roiling, building in intensity, becoming fiery, frenetic, and mesmerizing.
A ringing melodic motif pulsates through the growing storm, and itself becomes more febrile, like the sound of mounting fear which becomes more frantic and flailing. And the pounding in the bass end of the range seems to manifest the very threat and peril from which that transfixing motif flees in its madness.
Mephistophelian Exordium will be released by Hessian Firm on November 20th, and features cover art by film organizer and concept artist Paul Gerrard. Pre-order info can be found below, along with a stream of the new album’s title track, which is available HERE as a digital single.