Goatcraft – Yersinia Pestis (2016)

goatcraft - yersinia pestis

Article by Lance Viggiano.

Arpeggiated minor chord melancholy culled from or composed during belligerent improvisational tirades given body by a sluggish left hand approximating power chords to provide the work a lattice to the traditions of metal. Yersinia Pestis abstains from its predecessor’s thematic coherence – an accident of writing what were essentially cover songs of a famous painter – to make marked but mishandled improvements in its individual presentations through tuneful reprisals of established Goatcraft trademarks. The dependence upon staccato and arpeggio retain the artist’s characteristic stiffness in execution which blemishes through its brutishness.

There is little sense that any moment within a song’s phrases have any more significance than those which come before and those which shrug thereafter. The lack of internal drama betrays any development of dynamics which faintly arise out of understated synth melodies and washes of ambience. As a consequence, the work as a whole comes across as little more than a compilation of introductory or intermittent vignettes for proper metal albums. What is needed is a sense of vulnerability, to allow the momentum and motive of a motif to fail; collapsing before the thrust of another internal turn of phrase which reconstitutes what has broken arises out of the pit and into the sun. Instead, undifferentiated and timid events transpire within suffocating corridors wherein musical contents are castrated to build an atmosphere of stagnant air.

What most damns Yersinia Pestis, like all preceding Goatcraft efforts, is the dearth of legendary and eternal melodies. While it is this area in particular that appears to have been the developmental focus; immaturity prevails. Had it not been so deficient thusly its structural misgivings would not be so apparent. On the contrary, irrationality could have been a boon because the deconstruction of life as quintessential absurdity appears to be the aim of this work. What has been recorded however, merely emphasizes the desecration of illusions and does not seek to find for itself a ground upon which a qualitative vision of life itself is established as a counterpoise to its inherent fatalism. The obscure and distant aesthetic experience whimpers forth incomplete and nearly unwilling; it as if the Muses themselves remain disinterested in the lone goat.

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25 thoughts on “Goatcraft – Yersinia Pestis (2016)”

  1. oyveryorigen says:

    Goatcraft has always been much worse than pre-prosthethis Mortiis. Never understood the hype that this site gave it.

    1. C.M. says:

      I dunno about the hype, but even if the previous Goatcraft albums have not affected you I recommend giving this one a shot. It is very consistently structured and has many moments of what Lance should consider vulnerability, that is, moments that the internal consistency of a song could break down but is harnessed and maintained by a grim determination of the artist. The cycles of suffering and triumph are tangible throughout. And, if nothing else, it just sounds cool as hell.

    2. Mortiis is boring says:

      Nigromante > Goatcraft >>>>> Mortiis

      Mortiis is the kind of project with a lot of hype because it appears to have more bells and whistles.
      People think ambient is about weird sounds and undefinable feelings.

      When you get down to it, projects like Mortiis are mostly fog and a little content.

      1. oyveyorigen says:

        At the very least, Mortiis was a clear unobstructed vision. There’s no such trait in Goatcrap.

        1. Network Addicts says:

          This crap has a valuable part actually, e.g. ‘The Great Red Dragon Part I’

  2. Necronomeconomist says:

    Lance Viggie! Another awesome review (see his one for the Intolitarian). You stay ruthless yet never vicious; fair and balanced.
    At any rate, whatever did you mean by, “its predecessor’s thematic coherence – an accident of writing what were essentially cover songs of a famous painter”?!?! Which painter? What? That’s cray!

    1. David Rosales says:

      The previous album was inspired on paintings by William Blake.

    2. Viggie on tha Lance says:

      The previous album was a concept based upon a Christian who believed in gay rights and so forth. Goatrap wrote some lit remixes of his work which sought to express the man’s metaphysical desire for equality. Appropriately titled the blasphemer the highest transgression against God is homosexuality…enter the ANUS.

  3. thewaters says:

    Do Mr. Goatcraft, and Mr. Stevens know that this review was done? I thought there was a no Goatcraft rule on this site…..

    1. I believe that the drama has died down.

      1. v0ddy with the body says:

        But there’s no theatre in that hunny

        1. Also, I need a really big dick in my ass and mouth. Pronto!!

    2. oyveyorigen says:

      Bring back the no-Goatcrap rule!

      1. supfgt says:

        If a stand is not taken against audio smut it will become taboo and thus alluring. Expose the fraud, nail him.

        1. Necronomeconomist says:

          “Tabu Allure”

    3. Yes, they’re aware. The above review accurately details the shortcomings of the project.

      Garbage should be treated like garbage.

  4. Wimpy keyboards have no place in metal.

    1. It’s a good thing that Goatcraft isn’t metal.

  5. Rainer Weikusat says:

    Why does this all have to be so beatuful, Mr Gourdcraft?


  6. trystero says:

    Quite fair points with regards to coherence and development, but they become tainted by the reviewers insistence that there is no significant melodic power here. There very much is. Drama is also present in copious quantities at the microlevel and occasionally even as elements of a greater structure (Flagellation for Atonement, Rape of Europe II e.g.). The tracks may not be structurally progressive per a consistent vision, but that is a feeble qualm in the face of its basic appeal.

    Comparisons to Mortiis are laughable. Mortiis may have had a (feeble) vision of some sort, but it is almost completely empty music in comparison to Yersinia Pestis. Not only is this album not garbage, it is enormously significant. Painfully raw and sincere melodicism of a kind you just dont see anymore, or if you do it is a mere glimpse in a larger set of details. Contextually, such glimpses may gain significant power, but ultimately we should not become focused on just that context as the desired and evocative thing. The addition of such elements to this music would make it shine like a finely-cut diamond, but it remains a pretty hefty and attractive piece of diamond nevertheless.

    By the standards expressed implicitly in this review, a lot of great metal would also be excluded. The awkwardness of Cartilage or the singleminded but evocative atavism of Von would not withstand such scrutiny, for instance. I invite everyone to give this album a good listen because there is a lot of good stuff here in a way you simply cannot say about the bulk of music reviewed on this website. Sammath, Infamous and Condor (Nadia only) alone would beat it out and the last one is a close contest.

    The core complaint above is why I think actual pieces of trash like Kaeck get even fleeting notice here, much less praise. A focus on form over content.

    1. Viggie on tha Lance says:

      Von is a fairly good example of music which is grossly appealing on the level I requested while being structurally, well, there isn’t really engaging structure to it.

    2. Rainer Weikusat says:

      This is a guy playing piano who’s also (on some tracks, eg, Flagellation for Atonement) making heavy use of ‘atmoshperic’ synthesizer sounds to create an aura of beautiful mysticism. The better parts could be described as “heavily tranquilized Nicky Hopkins”, the worse ones as “onslaught Vangelis revenants wielding cupcakes”. Overall, this is ideally suited for everybody who likes sweet piano music and – minus some of the song titles – would fit wonderfully into the easy listening section of every record store of this planet. Maybe it’s also compositionally ambitious.

      1. C.M. says:

        Easy listening section?! Dude, clean your ears out with hot lead and listen again! Einaudi this ain’t.

        Compositionally ambitious; not sure about that either. It’s composed very naturally, obviously guided by intuition rather than any rigid conformity to traditional structure, which suits the music’s delivery and the concept behind the music perfectly. This is not flashy or showy piano shred.

        Don’t worry so much about those details, though, or how to categorize the music. Just let it absorb you and reflect on your reactions after the fact.

        1. Rainer Weikusat says:

          Piano is an interesting instrument because it conveys a sense of sounds as movements in a multidimensional space when played by capable player. And Herr Ziegenwerker is doubtlessly a capable craftsman who accomplishes that. I’m unsure if he realizes this, though, as I can’t imagine someone voluntarily clubbing that to death with a soft cushion (Flagellation for Atonement) in this way. But he usually gets stuck in single movement he then repeats somewhat varied in different places of this space and the tracks (all of them I listened to) always end up in pleasant nothingness. Eg, Yersinia Pestis has a promising start with two things moving towards each other in an indicated spiral clashing in mild dissonance but – invariably – one of them dies down and the other bounces back and peters out. And it doesn’t have to be mild: ‘Improper’ harmonies (the Vincent Crane track has quite a bit of them) are just as good, only more likely to be gut-rejected by someone autoconditioned for ‘common practice era’ stuff by ad nauseam repetition.

          I don’t have to absorb this to reflect on reactions: This is supposed to make people feel sad. And it accomplishes this by employing the usual means for this in the usual way. Compared to

          [Freezing Moon, 1990]

          this is trite. This also makes me sad. And angry. I’d like to punch some of the people responsible for this trainwreck. Or at least the Metalinjection glass wool dummy to whom this is a pleasantly blood-curdling circus sensation. And I very much regret that I wasn’t at this concert because these are only the surface effects.

        2. Vigilance says:

          Don’t worry so much about your internal disgust, let another man embrace you and fill you with warmth. Reflect upon what you have absorbed later as it drips down your thighs.

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