Goatcraft - Yersinia Pestis
I, Voidhanger Records
Dark Neoclassical
10 songs (37' 53")
Release year: 2016
I, Voidhanger Records
Reviewed by Andy

After his debut with The Blasphemer two years ago, which I gave high marks, Texan black ambient pianist Lonegoat returns with a new concept album, Yersinia Pestis, named after the baccilus that killed off a third of Europe. Goatcraft has not made a lot of changes to his sound since the last album; the creepy piano fugues remain, with more intricacy than the previous album (though I liked the atmosphere better in The Blasphemer).

The new concept album, which on the surface is about the Black Death, is also, according to its author, about the transitory misery of human life, locked in a hopeless battle with nature. The demented arpeggios and jangling chords continue to have an oppressive sense to them, and though Lonegoat is far from merely imitating black metal riffing in his instrument, which I'm sure would sound absurd, he provides a similar feel with minor keys and a dark, powerful low end contrasted with a high, nervous upper range -- the piano equivalent of tremolo-picked solos and blasting chords. The title track, Kingdoms in Decay, and one of my favorites on the album, The Great Mortality, use this technique a lot more than some of the others.

With each track, a bit more synthesizer gets added. Most of the time it doesn't do much except provide high-pitched electronic flutes or background oohs and ahhs to provide a foil for the piano. That's still a good thing, though, because some of that piano is a little more overpowering and monotonous than in The Blasphemer. When it's left all to itself, some odd production choices are made; a few times, the music fades out as if the piece is stopping, and then fades back in like it's on a new track. Bodies Piled not only includes a more varied synth, but contains sharp, high little numbers from the piano that sparkle with a dark glitter all their own, and by the time we get to Denouement, there is no more piano and we're left with 100% synth.

This one was billed as a deeper foray into Goatcraft's darkwave influences (I suppose because of the extra synths), but the album is still all about neoclassical piano playing, just with some synth bolted on top. Yersinia Pestis comes off as an evolutionary, not revolutionary new album, but Lonegoat's piano skills, and his ability to adapt the feel of black metal to a dark piano recital, continue to be excellent; if you liked The Blasphemer, you'll probably like Yersinia Pestis.

Bandcamp: https://i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/yersinia-pestis

Killing Songs :
The Great Mortality, Bodies Piled
Andy quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Goatcraft that we have reviewed:
Goatcraft - The Blasphemer reviewed by Andy and quoted 91 / 100
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