Goatcraft – All for Naught

All For Naught
Mar 2013
Forbidden Records

Reviewed by V. Caine

All For Naught begins with a brooding and intense track – Call me Judas – which is flawlessly structured – some of the piano work is reminiscent of early Elend, and this opening composition establishes the mood and level for the whole album.

This is immediately followed up by Infinite Death which has more of a desolate tone to it, opening with a sound akin to the icy wind across the moors – but out of the Stygian darkness, the higher celestial chords occasionally break free, creating essentially what is a musical contrast between light and shadow in aural form. There are some sound effects which add to the general ambiance and mood for this piece. All in all, it is a skilfully performed and very visual rendition.

After this we are taken on a Journey to the Depths with a short introductory piece that takes us down on a great spiraling descent before we reach the bottom – where the Goats Will Riot. And they do, in a very vibrant and richly structured musical composition which is suggestive of both great blackness and chaos.

Then we are introduced to Gate I – which opens with some eerie sound effects to set the scene. One could easily imagine a moonlight-lit opening ready to transport us to another world, with the eldritch tendrils unfurling forth…ready to ensnare and imprison…

And here, on the other side – Isolation Ripens – this is essentially a track not of melancholy but of solitude, of solace and comfort amidst the shades. Where peace is found best in the company of oneself and one’s own thoughts. The music therefore is suggestive of introversion, but not melancholy or sadness – rather it is the pleasure of isolation and of ultimate freedom in the kingdom of shadow.

This will lead us on to the Vestibule to the Abyss – which is my personal favourite on the album. The chords here are much deeper, darker and plunge the listener down into the Abyss – followed by some extremely quick and complex piano work. Then it slows down again, into steady patterns. It is a very beautiful piece with a haunting, dark melody.

After this Laconism of the Cosmos proceeds with an encapsulating and spiraling tune that does remind one of the rotations of the cosmos, taking us back towards a new portal to Gate II – which is another short intro, composed of spectral sounds.

And then – Everything Will Die. This piece has a much darker and more morbid vibe than the others. The putrescence resounds from the keys of the piano, but not in an ugly fashion – this is both the horror and the beauty of death, combined in acceptance of its ultimate inevitability. La Fleur de la Mort…

The Rape of Europa is next. This is another shorter piece, turbulent, violent in nature and presumably inspired by the myth of the same name.
Consciousness is a Disease follows. This is an interesting piece, which is perhaps more avant-garde than the others and is slightly different in terms of style. It begins with a very experimental sound and ambient effects, and the dark tonal material strikes the untouched corners of the psyche gazing directly at the parts the consciousness mind is too scared to look at. It is an interesting aural rendition of the philosophical concept of emptiness, which it is intriguing and will be of interest to the more cerebrally inclined listeners.

Overall, this album is a beautifully mixed one with high quality sound production. One of the best new dark/doom/death classical pieces I have heard in a long time, and it will be a special treat for those who enjoy the piano work in early Elend such as Les Ténèbres du Dehors.

Goatcraft is the dark piano lover’s dream come true.