Hessian Firm announces November 20th as the international release date for a a special 2CD compilation from Texas’ singular Goatcraft, titled Mephistophelian Exordium.
Mike Browning, Nocturnus AD:“I met Jason ‘Lonegoat’ here in Tampa because we had a mutual friend, Alan Moses, who worked with Morbid Angel for several years, mostly running their fan club. I had a band called After Death, and we were looking for a keyboard player at the time, and he told me that he played keyboards. Although he was younger than most of us, his style and level of playing was even more than we needed compared to previous keyboard players that I had worked with in Nocturnus and After Death. His style brought a much more classical piano sound to the band rather than someone playing chords and some strange sounds here and there. Since I wanted After Death to be different from Nocturnus, there were no limits as to what the keyboards could be doing in the music. Jason brought in a high level of musicianship based on classical-sounding piano instead of just synth sounds, and it made all of us in the band have to step up our level of playing to a more classical orchestral sound, and it was greatly shown in the four songs we wrote and recorded when he was in the band.
“Unfortunately, when the economy tanked and many people lost their jobs, Jason decided to join the Air Force, and that meant that he had to move out of Florida and could not continue playing in After Death. We stayed in touch, and a couple years later, we were talking about music and I mentioned to him that, because of his high level and ability to play classical piano, that he should showcase his talent by going solo with it, and I said how cool it would be for him to just be up there by himself with a grand piano onstage just going off and playing it like a madman, because every other classical piano player just sits up there very calm and played their songs. He really liked the idea and took it to the next level, and here we are today and he has made a name for himself as the Lonegoat and has played many shows up there by himself, which is something that not many musicians could successfully accomplish as a solo act onstage.
“His style of classical piano is instantly recognizable and very original and crosses over several genres of music and, of course, not something you want to miss live, either!”
“Rather than starting at the beginning of Goatcraft itself, it is important to mention some vital developments which led to the creation of the project. When I was 12 and attended a private school in Tampa, Florida, I met a maintenance man there named Alan Moses. Alan saw that I liked Metallica and Slayer, and he took it upon himself to introduce me to extreme metal. He had moved from Australia to the US to work for Morbid Angel, and he ran their Covenant of Death fanclub. Years later, Alan released a book called Glorious Times, which featured many of his pictures and band stories from the early days of death metal.
“Under the guidance of Alan Moses, my love for extreme metal began to flourish. I would finish school assignments the first hour of the day, so I could spend time listening to death metal. He brought CDs to the school for me to listen to, many of which were signed by the bands. Shortly thereafter, I moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. Alan wrote a two-page list of albums for me to check out since I would be left to my own devices. That list was my only resource for music before I had the internet, and I slowly amassed a collection of classic death metal albums.
“When I was 20, I decided to move back to Tampa. I quickly ended up playing with Mike Browning (Morbid Angel, Nocturnus) in a project called After Death. We had about eight songs. However, my employment came to a halt, and I was faced with a dilemma of either staying in Florida without income until I found a new job or trying to find something else altogether. Ultimately, this led me to join the US military (Air Force). I had always felt a need to join the Air Force because my father and both grandfathers were in that military branch. While I was in military training, the record label Iron Pegasus released four of the demo tracks on the Retronomicon album that I helped write.
“After I received an honorable discharge from the Air Force, I was trapped in Tokyo, Japan for a while due to some bureaucratic nonsense. When I was finally allowed back into the US, it was time for me to return to music. I moved back to Tampa, where my good friend Belial Koblak (Nocturnus AD, Incantation, Lethal Prayer,etc.) allowed me to crash at his house. I met people like Ralph Santolla, who wanted to work with me, but nothing seemed to solidify. Thus, I moved back to Texas, where the economy was better, and I ended up working with musicians from San Antonio bands Plutonian Shore and Emperial Massacre. 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.
“In 2010, there was a rush of immediate inspiration to formulate my music into something that would satiate the urge that I had. I would try different approaches, such as playing as abrasive as possible and doing long-winded improvisation pieces. As the number of recordings increased, so, too, did the level of growth within the project. When it became time to share the music with others, I made CDRs of the recordings and handed them to friends and people I had met at concerts. The general feedback was positive. In 2011, Pale Horse Recordings enjoyed the music to such an extent that they released some of the tracks on limited cassette.
“Now, for the first time since the nascent days of the project, all the tracks from the original demo CDR are presented here on this official release (disc 2). Although there’s an overabundance of technique exercised in these recordings, the music unravels in many of the tracks in such a way that there is a kind of narrative characteristic to them. From the fast piano parts to the slower gloomy melodies, most of what I had wanted to communicate in metal was achieved in an entirely different medium. As such, this demo is an important glimpse into where Goatcraft came from before the project matured into a more refined state on subsequent releases. Everything must start somewhere, and Goatcraft started here with these primordial demo recordings.
“Also included is a 2015 radio performance (disc 1), which was achieved live on-air at KSYM in San Antonio, Texas. Goatcraft live sets are a combination of improvisation and melodies from albums in a kind of ‘flowing’ framework, which allows creativity to flourish beyond playing the material as a robot would. In addition to the live radio performance is the song ‘Mephistophelian Exordium,’ which was written and recorded in 2015 while I worked on my third album, Yersinia Pestis. I don’t remember why I didn’t include it on that album, but I am pleased to now share it with listeners of the project.”
In the meantime, hear the aforementioned title track “Mephistophelian Exordium” both HERE at Goatcraft‘s Bandcamp and also HERE. Preorder info can be found HERE. Cover and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Goatcraft (Texas)’ Mephistophelian Exordium
1. Live at KSYM in San Antonio, Texas (2015) [21:15]
2. Mephistophelian Exordium [2:59]
1. Untitled [5:50]
2. Untitled [3:21]
3. Untitled [3:01]
4. Untitled [2:46]
5. Untitled [4:41]
6. Untitled [4:19]
7. Untitled [1:13]
8. Untitled [2:49]
9. Untitled [3:12]
10. Untitled [2:13]
11. Untitled [8:38]
12. Untitled [1:22]
13. Untitled [2:02]
14. Untitled [1:13]
15. Untitled [1:29]
16. Untitled [1:42]
17. Untitled [1:37]
18. Untitled [3:20]
19. Untitled [1:11]
20. Untitled [13:13]
21. Untitled [0:50]
22. Untitled [6:16]