Aug 012023

(Today we present the following guest review by Lonegoat [from the Necroclassical project Goatcraft] of the forthcoming debut album by Pittsburgh-based Shadow Legion.)

The enigmatic genesis of “Dark Metal” traces back to the murky depths of the underground past, entered into lexicon by Bethlehem‘s daring 1994 opus, fittingly titled Dark Metal. Closer inspection of the “Dark Metal” categorization reveals a bewitching amalgam; an alchemical union merging the raw essences of heavy metal, death metal, and black metal, seasoned with an infusion of epic and pagan elements.

While Aeternus remains cryptic on the matter, they undoubtedly embody this heterogeneous blending, as do other bands such as Mefitis, who enthusiastically embrace the appellation to chart their own perplexing course within this realm. Pendath, a luminary of Mefitis, also corroborates this perspective, adding that “Dark Metal” defies codified classification while displaying an ineffable melancholy that transcends the rational mind, arousing an intuitive sensibility positioned beneath the surface. In addition, Serpent Ascending‘s acclaimed 2022 opus, Hyperborean Folklore, dutifully explores this synthesis as well.

Shadow Legion‘s lengthy debut album, which comes out on August 9th, firmly embeds itself in the domain of “Dark Metal.” At its molten core, a blistering display of guitar virtuosity rivals the legendary mastery of Trey Azagthoth, setting the band apart from their peers and charging the music with electrifying transcendence. The dance of visceral, melodic, and warlike percussive riffs, often extant for prolonged periods, casts a dark martial atmosphere. As is the trait of “Dark Metal,” the influences of epic heavy metal, death metal, and black metal coalesce seamlessly in an intuitive framework, and palatial acoustic sections offer moments of majestic respite. Continue reading »

Nov 212021


This morning I read an article concerning some recent books about H.G. Wells, and the article used the word “vertiginous”. It’s a word that refers to something that causes vertigo — the sensation that you or the environment around you is moving or spinning. Another word for vertiginous might be “dizzying”.

I searched all of our posts at this site and was surprised to find that I had used the word a few times before, but not in a long time. Because I think it’s a great word, and it was in my head, it pulled me in the direction of briefly reviewing and streaming music from the following two albums, which are both vertiginous, albeit in very different ways.

KAECK (Netherlands)

Kaeck’s new album, Het Zwarte Dictaat (released near the end of October by Folter Records), is war music — not because its lyrical themes are devoted to historical conflict but because the music is so often violently tumultuous. The low-end is thunderous and granite-heavy, and when the music mounts a mid-paced charge it sounds like the assault of a tank battalion. At higher speed, the drums pump like heavy-caliber weaponry and the bass vibrates in the marrow. Continue reading »

Jul 142021


(Today we have a guest review by Lonegoat from the Necroclassical project Goatcraft and the host of the podcast Necropolis, and he’s spreading the word about the debut album by the Ukrainian band LAVA.)

Cut from a similar cloth as Panzerfaust, Sacrificial Ritual of Primordial Fire, the debut album from the Ukrainian band LAVA, centers upon its design a powerful exterior. A blend of modern death metal and black metal susceptibilities, namely the worship of intense chord tension, LAVA presents itself as a formidable new project worth paying attention to.

Although this kind of black/death hybrid music generally focuses on its textural components, LAVA allow the chord tension to wane enough so that fierce riffs have room to emerge, at times with flashes of high melodicism. Songs have distinctive flow, permitting bleak themes to materialize and develop in relentless fashion. Venerableness is on display with the addition of angular bass tintinnabulations, which in turn grant the music surprising depth. Continue reading »

Jan 272021


(On January 30th Hessian Firm will release a new album by the California band Mefitis, and here we present a guest review by Lonegoat, the man behind the “necroclassical” project Goatcraft.)

An exhibition of metal understanding and dexterity, Offscourings presents some things to consider regarding the current state of metal and its possibilities. The first thing which is immediately apparent is that Mefitis will not traverse a solely death metal path. Their debut Emberdawn showed that they are capable of creating narrative songs within the death metal lexicon; riffs that are seamlessly glued together to present to the listener an experience of perpetual development during the songs’ duration. Offscourings takes a detour from standard death metal by assimilating avant-garde tendencies that have become more accepted in metal. This is not to say that they are playing it safe. The music is unmistakably their own and not something derived from appropriation. Continue reading »

Nov 162020


Almost two weeks ago we premiered a track from Mephistophelian Exordium, the forthcoming double-album by the “necroclassical” project Goatcraft which will be released by Hessian Firm on November 20th, and today we present a second one.

For those who may have missed the first premiere, which included a lot of background information about Goatcraft and this new release, Mephistophelian Exordium unearths demo recordings that Goatcraft‘s alter ego, the pianist and adventurous keyboardist Lonegoat, made near the beginning of his journey as a solo artist roughly ten years ago. Originally distributed to friends and acquaintances on CDR, those tracks are finally getting an official release on this album. The album also includes a 2015 radio performance that was broadcast live on-air by KSYM in San Antonio, Texas, as well as the song “Mephistophelian Exordium,” which was written and recorded in 2015 while Lonegoat worked on Goatcraft’s third album, Yersinia Pestis.

The track we’re premiering today, which appears on the album as “20 Untitled“, comes from that early demo compilation. It’s a long piece that was all improvisation, and the effect of listening to it as it mounts in intensity is both spellbinding and frightening. Continue reading »

Nov 042020


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.” Continue reading »

Sep 022020


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. Continue reading »

Apr 232018


(Lonegoat, the man behind the necroclassical music of Goatcraft, provides this guest review of the new release by Plutonian Shore from San Antonio, Texas.)


In Alpha et Omega, Plutonian Shore invokes the axiological Logos of black metal and confronts the gentrification and stagnation brought about by indie rockers and scenesters. Their circumspection is fine-tuned and pierces through the music scene’s ruses of an abundance. Never deserted is the energetic imaginativeness which overwhelms the nondescript bottom line of reality via mind and solar plexus, woven in fierce, inexorable abstraction. Weakness is cast aside. The soul is forever athirst for unbridled power. Dalits need not apply; this is music from the dream-mind of a slumbering Brahmin. Continue reading »

Sep 182017


(We welcome Lonegoat, the creator behind the necroclassical project Goatcraft, who is helping spread the word about a forthcoming Texas music and movie event where all of the proceeds will be donated to assist in the relief of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation.)

Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas gulf region which led to at least 71 confirmed deaths, and over 100 billion dollars worth of damage. It’s the first time in twelve years a storm of this magnitude has made landfall in the US. Houston had flooding of biblical proportions which ripped many people away from their lives. Many Texans and companies are donating money to help with the relief efforts, but who knows how long it’ll be until normalcy returns. Some others, like David Vincent, ventured to the affected areas to lend a vital helping hand.

In the wake of Harvey, Austin’s inaugural Death By Festival, which is produced and organized by Nic Brown and Susie Winfield, has decided to donate all of the proceeds from the festival to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. It’s excellent that even the entertainment portion of Texas society comes together for those who stand in need of benefaction. Continue reading »

Mar 302017


(We welcome back guest writer Lonegoat, the Texas-based necroclassical pianist behind Goatcraft, whose latest album Yersinia Pestis was released in 2016 by I, Voidhanger. In this piece, Lonegoat provides a review of the new double-album by the one-man Australian project Midnight Odyssey.)

Atmospheric metal is made difficult as much of it is mere texture. Most of it is deduced to a worship of texture and a hard limit of production. The long chain of simple but meaningful sounds has led listeners to acknowledge its harmonious preservation from one sound to another and the coalescence thereof.

Midnight Odyssey shows that these are necessary textures, how the mind comes to be furnished by a lush experience and leads to a heroic catalyst of reflection. It derives our internal operations of mind by all of its vibrant tones, simplicity, and often an exuberant usage of repetition, most often to the point of repletion.

Atmosphere in music is not an empirical concept which has been derived by ordinary external experience; it is a prime character in and of itself. Midnight Odyssey exemplifies an inner character much like the dusty plains of eastern classical where its focus is that of an internal expression, whereas western art is an external representation and unites its representations in our consciousnesses (albeit consciousness itself is an epiphenomenon). Tonal action and reaction should be equal in atmospheric synthesis. Continue reading »