How many extreme-minded riff lovers do you think headed to the Deciblog today for a treatise on classical piano composition? Not the standard purview of a magazine proclaiming the virtues of black-thrashing terror, I’ll grant you, but this spring Forbidden Records has brought us an album that, by all outward signs, should be a lo-fi Satanic hymnal but turns out to be 45 minutes of haunting, apocalyptic dirges for piano (and very occasional ambient flourishes). The project is called Goatcraft, a disturbing moniker - does it refer to the craft of building goats from other raw materials, or creating new exciting forms out of goats? - which would have trouble getting any more workmanlike in its appreciation of the dark arts. The album is called All For Naught - again, none more nihilistic. The cover art lays Old English font text over a black and white sketch of a lone goat atop craggy nighttime peaks. The promotional materials call the genre "necroclassical". There are songs with titles like "Call Me Judas", "Infinite Death", and "Vestibule to the Abyss" (and, er, "Goats Will Riot"). The pianist making all the ebony (and ivory) racket is called Lonegoat. Lonegoat is from Texas. Okay, that last bit doesn’t quite spell frosty darkness, but Absu hails from the Lone Star abyss and you accept that just fine.
Enough trying to convince you that Goatcraft belong here. All For Naught is simply engaging music, layered with cascading (not Cascadian) melodies, persistent rhythm structures and dark tones. What initially sounds like the overenthusiastic pounding of a keyboardist who just hasn’t gotten around to learning the guitar yet opens up over the course of its dozen tracks to reveal an accomplished musician with a taste for majestic horror. I have a few piano-playing acquaintances with no interest in extreme metal who reluctantly gave All For Naught a shot, and they were very complimentary of what they heard. “I listened to that CD last night,” one such doubter told me in a low voice, all dry and grudging skepticism. “It was actually really good.”
The album is streaming at Bandcamp, and you can hear it right here from the Deciblog. We'd love to hear what other web-connected metal maniacs think of this music. Enjoy your very non-metal day!