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Khand – The Fires of Celestial Ardour released on tape

January 31, 2014 –

khand-the-fires-of-celestial-ardour

The crossover between metal and keyboard music is vast and well-documented to the point that the well-dressed death metal site simply ignores instrumentation and picks the keyboard bands that sound as evil and nihilistic as death metal. Whether that’s works by Neptune Towers, Beherit, Jaaportit, Goatcraft, Burzum or Danzig, evil metal has crossed over to occult keyboards.

Another entry into this world is Khand, made by lifelong metalhead and now synthesizer jockey Arillius. Describing his music as “cosmic ambient,” which overlaps with black ambient and dark ambient and neoclassical, Arillius started Khand back in 1998. Influenced by medieval, space and fantasy themes, Khand’s demo “Interstellar Dominions” was released in 2006 and immediately attracted an unusual but dedicated audience. Seven years later, Khand released The Fires of Celestial Ardour which is now available on tape for those who wish to order it.

The Fires of Celestial Ardour shows Khand having refined its style and narrowed its focus, which enables the band to train its resources on a certain type of deep space exploration sound. For those who want to experiment, the album is available as a free download from hi.arc.tow records.

Goatcraft to play Housecore Horror Film Festival on October 24, 2013

September 28, 2013 –

housecore_horror_film_festivalRenowned underground neoclassical dark ambient band Goatcraft will take to the stage during the Housecore Horror Film Festival on October 24, 2013 in Austin, Texas. The one-man sonic assault features morbid horror movie soundtracks played as if they were death metal played on piano.

Goatcraft singular musician Lonegoat released his first full-length, All For Naught earlier this year to confusion and bafflement by most metal fans but critical acclaim. Since that time, Goatcraft has been making more fans as people come to understand the approach and value of this bizarre and violent but soothing music.

Performing covered head-to-toe in blood, Lonegoat improvises based on themes from the album and produces lengthy compositions that are conceptually linked in motif and rhythm. At the Housecore Horror Film Festival, the latest venture by ex-Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo, Goatcraft will be on the morbid side of a mostly more radio-friendly lineup.

Goatcraft is gearing up for the 2014 release of The Blasphemer, a full-length album due for release on I, Voidhanger Records based on the concepts and graphic imagery of 18th century poet William Blake. See also our review of the Goatcraft demo and a Goatcraft interview.

Sponsored by Scion A/V, who are the people who make urban combat vehicles, the festival promises to be a whirlwind of mayhem with bands like Gwar and Goatwhore leading the lineup. For more information on the Goatcraft performance, visit the Goatcraft live page.

Goatcraft Interview

What’s GOATCRAFT aiming for by playing the Housecore Horror Film Festival?

Goatcraft was offered to play this festival after one of the organizers, Corey Mitchell, saw one of my shows. Horror movies and soundtracks are very metal and have been a source of inspiration for countless metal bands. I think that Goatcraft will both shock and please the festival goers, as well as showcase how dark and violent piano music breaches all realms.

Can you tell us a bit about the Housecore Horror Film Festival?

Housecore Horror Film Festival is a three day festival consisting of enough horror films to desensitize even the most moral of people. Its goal is to merge horror flicks and metal under one exposition. I hope that they turn it into an annual festival after this one proves to be successful. Austin needs more blood and guts to ward off the hipsters.

How do you feel about being sponsored by Scion?

I’m personally not sponsored by Scion, but they were recently announced by the festival to be one of the main sponsors. This is my assumption, being that I am not involved in the organization of the fest at all other than being informed about the music portion and my role in it. To each their own. I’m sure that having a big company sponsor something is important for commercial success, which they want this festival to be very large.

What’s next for GOATCRAFT?

I’m in talks with others about more shows, as well as another performance on-air at a radio station. In between shows there has been effort in finishing the next album that will be out on I, Voidhanger Records in Italy. Luciano, the label owner, has a very strong grasp on art and dark music, which we’re both on the same page about the release.

Do you think neoclassical/necroclassical is expanding?

There have been countless people that have confronted me about Goatcraft here in Texas. I think that metalheads tend to be open-minded about dark music as long as it shares the same spirit as metal. I showed Vader and Vital Remains some of my new material a couple of days ago after they played San Antonio. There was nothing negative said and they seemed to like it.

Thanks Brett for taking the time to inquire about Goatcraft. All the best.


Housecore Horror Film Festival
gc live 2

  • Gwar
  • Repulsion
  • Down
  • Goblin
  • Crowbar
  • Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals
  • Eyehategod
  • Pig Destroyer
  • Hate Eternal
  • Goatwhore
  • Whitechapel
  • Pallbearer
  • Warbeast (ex-Rigor Mortis)
  • Skrew
  • Iron Reagan
  • Ancient Vvisdom
  • Bloody Hammers
  • Primitive Weapons
  • Star & Dagger
  • First Jason
  • Chris Vrenna
  • A Band of Orcs
  • Lord Dying
  • Hymns
  • White Widows Pact
  • Child Bite
  • Blackqueen
  • Goatcraft
  • Honky
  • The Black Moriah (ex-Absu)
  • Cavalcade
  • Death Will Tremble
  • Headcrusher
  • Dead Earth Politics

Emo’s/Antone’s/Dirty Dog
2015 E Riverside Dr. / 505 East 6th St.
Austin, TX
October 24-27, 2013

Goatcraft launches new video for “Infinite Death” from All For Naught

May 22, 2013 –

goatcraft-all_for_naughtTexas-based neofolk phenomenon Goatcraft, who use piano sounds to reproduce the hammering chromatic attack of death metal, have released a new video for the song “Infinite Death” from this year’s album All For Naught. Coming from musicians who worked with post-Nocturnus project After Death as well as other Tampa-style death metal, Goatcraft is a new approach to a familiar goal.

Using only a single digital piano, Goatcraft soundscribe Lonegoat creates impromptus from simple themes to which he adds layers of complexity, producing miniature operatic soundtracks that allude to the chromatic phrasal riffing and explosive hammering of early death metal. All For Naught, the project’s first album, resounds with a resistance to the standard “keyboard music” tropes that make otherwise independent projects into clones.

All For Naught was released this year on Forbidden Records and contains a full album worth of distinctive material including reworkings of past Goatcraft songs. So far, it has made entrance into metal, industrial, neofolk and horror movie soundtrack-loving communities, and hopes to expand that reach with this more professional video that reveals some of its inner concept.

The relationship between black metal, ambient and neoclassical music

April 7, 2013 –

nordic_dark_ambient_neoclassical_black_metalIn the mainstream press, black metal has a reputation for being solely misanthropic, heavily distorted anthems of aggression and despair that are defined by their primitive minimalism.

While this may hold true for the majority of contemporary bands, this view overlooks the foundational bands of the genre, who possessed a deft sense of melody and the focus to create longer compositions that allowed for more introspection.

Just as black metal musicians created a more minimalistic form of death metal, some were able to apply the same approach to the ambient and neoclassical genres, crafting tracks that through the use of repetition, stirring melodies, and tonal variation reveal the genre’s primal elegance without need of layers of distortion.

Given the news that Neptune Towers is being released on vinyl and Burzum is releasing an album comprised entirely of electronic music, now seems a fitting time to investigate this interesting subgenre and how it arose from black metal in several instances.

Burzum

Favoring simple but expansive compositions, contemplative melodies soar over mild arpeggios; in addition to a few tracks of industrial nihilistic deconstruction. Through the utilization of modern technology, Burzum makes narrative and meditative music that like its inspiration Tolkien, takes the participant on an internal journey to another realm.

Neptune Towers

A side project of Darkthrone‘s Fenriz, in Neptune Towers haunting melodies glide over dark drones while otherworldly noises color the backdrop. Evocative tracks signal the coming to Earth of a yet-unknown alien species or perhaps the future evolution of humanity, the soundtrack to the future.

Beherit

This band fuses its earlier black metal style with the industrial, pop, and ambient genres, featuring melodies that would not be out of place on a metal album, but pairs them with repetitive trance-like drums, synths, and found sounds that coalesce into epic moments before fading away like the rays of a burned out sun. Fans of multiple genres should appreciate this one.

Ildjarn

Elegant and skillfully composed tracks celebrating the beauty of nature in their simplicity reveal a greater depth of expression than would be possible with over-produced tracks. Just as he did with black metal, Ildjarn with compatriot Nidhogg reduces neoclassical music to its most basic form and builds from it an enchanting structure.

Lord Wind

A side project of Graveland, with Lord Wind martial drumming and heroic melodies bring to mind the battles of old, while synths and choruses expand the project’s horizons, providing reach to contrast with the grounded and earthy rhythms. Well-crafted neoclassic folk music, this is the further continuation of Graveland‘s second stage.

Interview: Goatcraft

April 5, 2013 –

goatcraft-all_for_naughtThose of you who’ve watched Prince of Darkness or other John Carpenter films may be aware how powerful the sound of a keyboard, hammering two notes in an ominous cadence, can be to the telling of a story.

Goatcraft takes this intensity to metal music, inspired by the manic early days of chaotic solos and twisted song structures, but played on a piano.

A piano?

Like guitar, the piano is a highly versatile instrument. It can serve in a pure rhythm role, or apply melody, and can easily chord and shape an atmosphere out of harmony. However, it can do one thing the guitar cannot: stand on its own while amplified and be a credible one-person band.

Solitary musician Lonegoat, who has recorded intros for Druid Lord and Demonic Christ, mounts the stage in isolation to create singular pieces of piano music that reflect the infinite loneliness and emptiness of existence. From this nihilistic background, the music branches to a dark storming Nietzschean vibe balanced by a sense of demonic playfulness.

Although not the usual fare for a death metal show,
Goatcraft delights many with its ability to manipulate mood subtly while maintaining a hammering, surging rhythm that evokes the most violent days of death metal. The best name we can come up with for this style is “neoclassical dark ambient.”

We are fortunate to have a chance to interview the reclusive and cynical Lonegoat.

Why did you create music in the style of Goatcraft, and not start a conventional metal band?

When I first started the project it was in an experimental phase. I had tried my time with other bands and I came to the conclusion that I had to do it by myself.

In 2010, I envisioned a fast ‘blasting’ and ‘dark’ piano project. I enlisted a drummer that I played two shows with, then he relocated to Washington.

Since then the response has been better doing the project by myself. I have grown keen to working alone as my abilities and compositions have evolved. I don’t foresee anyone else contributing to the music in the future. This will be a personal journey in developing the sound as time progresses. When I look back at certain times in my life, there will be a distinct sound that went with it.

Why do you use only one piano voice and no percussion? Why are there no vocals?

In this style of music, the piano is the percussion. Being there are no outside influences to keep time, there might be a slight tempo increase or decrease here and there; however the way I approach the instrument there is no need for a drummer. For vocals, I think the music would be hindered by screams and growls. I also don’t think clean vocals would be a benefit. There is enough going on in
Goatcraft to not have these other elements.

On what prior music, genres, etc. do you base your work? Is there a form to it?

When the project first started, the piano phrasing was executed by ‘riffs’, however the debut album All For Naught goes past riff structure to a nearly classical sense of structure. It’s not really classical, nor metal — that’s why I call it “Necroclassical.” There are only slight comparisons to other established mediums. Some people can draw a death metal correlation, while others pull classical themes.
Goatcraft is really no-man’s-land. It’s some strain of neoclassical that has just been tapped. It’s difficult to base my work to already established mediums.

What do you hope to communicate with your music? If you don’t hope to communicate, why make music — and why sell it? If you do hope to communicate, how do you want the world to change after receiving the message?

Unfortunately, no pianist in the world can change the way the world is run. However, they could write music that would appeal to a certain demographic. There is some slight communication in the CD inlay, as well as song titles. It’s up to the listener to come to their own conclusion Most of the titles and themes are based on Nihilism in the album. If there was a message, it’d be for the listeners to embark on self-realization if they haven’t.

Where do you think your music stands relative to these: Phillip Glass, Autechre, Lord Wind, Kraftwerk, Dead Can Dance, Arcana, and Winglord?

When I first delved into classical music, it was through the rear end (i.e. Phillip Glass and Arvo Part) in which I did like a few pieces, but their styling got old pretty fast. I think having influences of Baroque/Romantic/Good Modern (Wagner, Bruckner, ect) would be more beneficial than more of the pop compositions of Glass and Arvo Part. The project has grown with my musical taste. I’ve been into extreme metal since I was 12. Unfortunately I hadn’t accepted classical until these last few years. It’s been as rewarding as listening to early Morbid Angel, Deicide, Acheron, Emperor, ect when I was a kid. Classical is the closest thing to metal that I’ve been able to find. I do enjoy a great deal of Kraftwerk, but in small doses. The main project you listed that I’ve been listening to over a decade is Lord Wind. I’m glad Rob Darken has taken the project further and molded a great album with Ales Stenar. Hopefully Graveland gets going again.

You know Alan Moses and Brian Pattison of Glorious Times fame. How’d you come to know these gents? You must have seen some crazy death metal history — can you tell us some war stories?

Alan Moses used to work with Morbid Angel and he introduced me to extreme metal when I was a kid. It was more of a learning experience listening to the CDs that he offered, as well as reading the lyrics. I read the lyrics to Morbid Ange’s Blessed Are the Sick when I was 12 in a private Christian school in Tampa. That pretty much changed everything. Brian Pattison invited me to New York to play the death metal festival ‘A Day of Death’, which was a really great time. I had downed enough booze on the flight to kill an elephant, and the end result was waking up the next morning while hungover, taking a shower, then walking out and talking to Kam Lee about old school metal while I was still naked. He didn’t make any moves on me, so I’m pretty sure he’s straight (the smear campaign and rumors his former band mates in Massacre spread around are rubbish). There were some quite attractive women in New York. I wanted to take a few of them back to Texas with me.

If metal music were to take a new form tomorrow, what would you want it to be? Does it need a new form?

I think Goatcraft might be good for others to be inspired. I think going back to the roots of extreme metal, as to why it was started, perfected and displayed in such a manner is essential to understanding it. The kids that started death metal came from the Cold War era in which the world could have been blown to bits by nuclear war at a moments notice. I think the realization of our mortality being exaggerated by throwaway pop medias and other mediums is important. As well as understand our mortal presence in existence — why others are drawn away from the mainstream rubbish. People need to go back and see why the music was formed instead of creating xerox copies of the past.

What do you think of metal out there now?

I think most of the old greats have lost touch with what made their music special and are cashing in on their former successes. The last couple of newly formed bands that captured my attention for an extended period: Grave Miasma and Cruciamentum.

You improvise, correct? How do you decide what you’re going to play? Can you sense your mind thinking about what it’s going to do, or is it all subconscious?

I look at my music as more of off-the-cuff… I have a set idea, then the ‘record’ button is pushed and I play. Sometimes the result is a few minutes, other times it’s 80+ minutes depending on my coffee intake. On the album there are a few composed pieces note-for-note, but there are a lot of off-the-cuff pieces. I think an understanding of what is presented to you and what you want to express is more important than sitting down and dwelling yourself to death over how they’re molded. I captured the moods that I wanted to convey.

How have people responded to a lone goat dragging a keyboard on stage and playing whilst covered in blood?

It’s varied. I’ve mainly played extreme metal shows. The “Brutal Gore Deathers” tend to hate piano. So, those shows were (all) for naught. The black metal and old school death metal scene has accepted the project well. Further, those that haven’t seen anything like
Goatcraft might be more stunned than anything else. There are people that confront me in appreciation and awkward underhandedness on a regular basis after seeing me perform.