The Top Twenty Metal/Rock releases which most excited The RingMaster Review in 2014

In a year of some seriously and gloriously anthemic, not forgetting creatively inspiring releases The RingMaster Review picks out twenty metal and heavy rock releases covered by the site which gave us that extra tingle of excitement in 2014.



01. Empty Yard Experiment – Kallisti

02. Escapethecult – All You want To

03. The House Of Capricorn – Morning Star Rise

04. Hollow – Mordrake

05. Voyager – V

06. Nexilva – Eschatologies

Arcade Messiah Album Cover

07. Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah

08. We All Die (Laughing) – Thoughtscanning

09. Goatcraft – The Blasphemer

10. Destrage – Are You Kidding Me? No


11. Void of Kings – Stand Against The Storm

12. No Sin Evades His Gaze – Age of Sedation

13. Dioramic – Supra

pigeon lake

14. Pigeon Lake – Tales of a Madman

15. Imbroglio – The Struggle in Pursuit

16. ICOSA – The Skies are Ours

17. Mars Red Sky – Stranded In Arcadia

18. Anti Clone – Hands Sewn Together

jwb walkingunderwaterpt2

19. Johnny Wore Black – Walking Under water Parts 1 & 2

20. The Body Politic – Egressor

Goatcraft – The Blasphemer



    Having been impressed initially and even more so since our review of All For Naught the debut album from Goatcraft, it is fair to say there was certain anticipation for its successor The Blasphemer. The new release emerges as again a potent fire of craft and expression which even more so than its predecessor improves and permeates imagination and passions over time as the artist takes the passions through an extraordinary provocative landscape. The fourteen track scenery of self-termed necroclassical sound is an enthralling and absorbing spark for thoughts and emotions, a slab of beauty which is leaps ahead of the rather good first Goatcraft release and an unveiling of maturity and a fully rounded narrative which is quite breath-taking.

     Goatcraft is the one man project of San Antonio based Lonegoat, a composer/musician who created the project in 2010 to answer and use the frustration the artist had with occult and death metal, its commercialism and loss of soul for want of a better word. Piano and keyboard driven, his unique sound and presence was soon sparking intrigue and attention live and most potently with the release of All For Naught. Released via Forbidden Records, the album was an elegant and intensive tempest of passion and creativity within an intrusive and captivating ambience which aligned shadows to emotional investigations. The Blasphemer is bred from the same bed of seeds but with a much more evolved, grown, and complete incitement. Whereas the earlier release was a collection of individual tracks which did lie well together, Lonegoat’s sophomore album plays like one immersive journey with each piece a chapter in the wide narrative of the release. Equally the tracks work as smaller investigations alone too, each experimenting within the cinematic atmospheres emerging from the pieces of music.

   As mentioned there is also a richer beauty to the I, Voidhanger Records released The Blasphemer, something All For goatcraft_front_1500pxNaught was not lacking but like everything, upon the new album it has risen with new resourcefulness to seduce and pull the imagination into dark corners and blackened reflections. A concept album, The Blasphemer is themed around the works of English painter and poet William Blake, each piece taking inspiration and hues from his compositions aligned to theological observations. A quote from Lonegoat describes the release as being “Written and recorded from July to November 2013 under the influence of William Blake’s paintings and, The Blasphemer represents my quest to reconcile the mystical side of GOATCRAFT with its nihilistic side.

    From the invasive and brooding orchestral breath of Intro: Behemoth, the album explores and invites the imagination with every ounce of its creative and intensive expression. Temptation And Fall is the first full encounter on the album, a track which instantly envelops the psyche in its gentle shadows whilst punctuating that slow consumption with a poignant and dramatic piano evocation, its notes and melodic punches almost stalking the senses as it presses thoughts and visions into action. The following House Of Death is borne from a similar dark empathy, an instant indication that you can take songs singularly or as an extended tale to equal but different effect. Though as mentioned William Blake has inspired the release, it is hard not to involve imagery in the mind which is Poe-esque and noir kissed, all embracing melancholic and sinister gothic shadows.

     The excellent intimidating title track, with a slight discord glaze to its evocation, ripples and rifles the imagination next before both Hecate and Nebuchadnezzar challenge and seduce. The first has a cloak of darkness which is almost smoggy from where a Victorian landscape escapes and adds its own disturbed beauty whilst its successor flirts with high drama and stage bred emotiveness whilst again guiding the listener on a classically sculpted venture of shadowed elegance and erosive passion.

    Each track presents its own unique canvas but like a triptych squared, all slot into an emotive painting of sound and subsequent visualisation by its recipients mind as potently shown by the engrossing In The Arms Of Pity. The four parts of The Great Red Dragon though is a real version of that three pictured union, a symphony dedicated to Blake’s series of watercolours with the same title. It is a masterpiece all on its own, a haunting enlightenment which traps and embraces the imagination as potently and innovatively as their inspirations, and if you can study the paintings whilst listening to the movements all the better as they definitely inspire further side by side.

     The album closes around the senses and in presence with firstly the almost meditatively suffocating Eternal Prayer Of Urizen followed by the dark tonal exploration and emotions of Satan In His Original Glory, a piece like the rest which breathes torment and despair whilst bewitching ears and emotions. Finally Lonegoat brings the unique experience to closure with the brief Outro: Leviathan, a caress of music which plays like an epilogue to the shadows and dark dramas before.

    The Blasphemer is an exceptional encounter which cannot be assessed or examined in a mere handful of listens. Like a painting, the album offers something new and provocative with every flight through its dark atmospheres and almost erosive deep emotional textures. Majestic and threatening, it is an album of the year contender.


RingMaster 06/03/2014

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Prying open shadows: an interview with Lonegoat of Goatcraft

goatcraft 2

All For Naught, the debut album from Goatcraft is one of this year’s biggest impacting releases so far, a release which ignites and inspires hungry thoughts, imagery, and emotions through the neo-classical bred instrumental shadows and compulsive ambiences it holds within its walls. An intrusive and captivating tempest of passion and creativity reaping the essences of black, death, and occult metal and infusing them into unique and emotive key sculpted tracks which offer a powerful narrative and soundtrack to deep questions and experiences.  Goatcraft is the solo project of San Antonio based Lonegoat, and the innovative musician allowed us the pleasure to find out more about the album, his music, as well as touching on the existence of us all and other thoughts.

Hello and thanks for taking time to talk with us at The RingMaster Review.

Tell us about the spark or inspiration which brought Goatcraft to life.

Hi RingMaster. Thank you for taking the time to write these questions.

During 2010 I woke up one morning and had a cup of coffee; then I decided that it’d be worthwhile to kill some time by recording a seventy-plus minute piece on piano. It was done in one take and sounded decent enough to keep. I burned some discs; inscribed ‘Lonegoat presents Goatcraft’ on them, then I figured it was good enough to mail around to my friends. The responses were positive and the advice from them was to do an actual project.

Shortly after, I recorded the tracks that were on the Goatcraft demo that PaleHorse Recordings released.

The concept that stemmed from the demo has been extended into the album. I believe it’s better executed than the earlier recordings.

Information about yourself has stated you were disillusioned with the state of music in your favoured genres, has your frustration at the Occult and death metal scenes tempered now with the release of your stunning album All For Naught or is it still a fire which drives you on as much as your creative exploration?

I perceive the occult as if I would an esoteric thought process. The esoteric should never be commercialized in bland forms. I’m not keen to how some metal bands use the esoteric for commercial reasons. They usually water it down and make it ‘fun’ and ‘hip’; something that aimless people latch onto for an image.

Honestly I think my viewpoint on reality/existence/consciousness is the driving factor. In the end we’re not even dust. The sun will supernova; the universe will eventually return from whence it came. I think a realization of how minuscule our existence is could provide a better understanding in our lives. What are we to do with this time? I would rather defy the crowdist method and devise something that is my own.

Do you feel the audience has also changed along with the direction of those genres and if so do you feel you have to rebuild an appetite goatcraft 3in people as well as that of the music itself?

Of course the audience has changed since its inception. A lot of extreme metal has been commercialized. It’s a ‘product’ that isn’t very profitable except for a few gimmicks that parade around like carnival acts. There are good bands that have defied the rock music mind-set and stayed true to their concepts. However, I think all of this stems to Metallica. They ushered an influx ‘jocks’ into the scene in the 80‘s.

Further, metal as a whole has become much more accessible. Those who are truly interested in it will unearth the classics, as well as delving into other quality acts.

Tell us about those early times of the project in 2010, did you find a ready to accept audience at live performances from the start or did they need some persuading that your ‘return’ to the original vision of the aforementioned areas of music was a hunger they could also devour?

Much like an author collecting ideas for a story, Goatcraft was in its adolescence stage during 2010-2012. I had grown weary of playing in bands, but I went through many changes for my own personal project.

Mike Browning from Morbid Angel and Nocturnus has been telling me since I was 20 to do this project. I suppose acknowledging my own abilities then fermenting a purpose to it solidified the concept. Now that the project has established itself, I will extend and strive to further Goatcraft.

I read that there were times where more people came to shows to focus on your work than other bands on the bill, even the headlining artists, how many artists did this piss off? Ha-ha

There were only a couple of shows when this happened, but no one was upset. They were rather small events; most of the time I’ll play first to set the mood for a death or black metal show. I’ve received the ire from numerous bands that have toured through. Negura Bunget, Eclipse Eternal, and many others have confronted me after playing.

What came before Goatcraft for you and your creativity?

I’ve spent most of my life wandering, as if trying to find some sort of meaning or purpose. The ultimate conclusion that I’ve came to is that there’s only nothing. We’re the result of cosmic randomness. I recently turned 28 and I’ve lived all over the United States and Japan. I figure it’s time to imprint myself on this world. However small or large; there will be something of me left behind for others to unravel. We create our own purpose and shouldn’t falter from indirection.

How have your sound and your approach to it changed from those opening steps of Goatcraft to the emotive and striking sounds on the album?

The result of the newer compositions is of a better understanding of what I’m executing. Some of it is off-the-cuff, but my abilities are strong enough to not warrant dwelling on certain compositions to death.

735203_417690538308337_726228950_nI am right in believing from reading the promo sheet for the release that the rich ambience aspect which powerfully evokes the senses and emotions on All For Naught were not yet explored in the initial invention of the band?

The effects of ‘wind’ or ‘wisps‘, have always been an underpinning to heighten the sound of the piano for Goatcraft. Those sounds can also be heard when I perform live.

What was the trigger to expand your imagination and exploration into those rich and compelling shadows of sound too?

There wasn’t a trigger other than having preferred the settings after years of playing. It’s the most sensible sound for what I want to convey. I don’t foresee this changing in the near future. If there is experimentation, it’ll be warranted and not aimless.

Can you tell us about the period when you refined and honed your sound to what has emerged on the album, and how long did it take to write the impacting All For Naught?

I recorded a few hundred tracks in 2012. I decided to choose the pieces for the album from personally liking them. However, I’m sure that I have some other pieces that people would enjoy.

There is a very cinematic breath to the album, though more in being a soundtrack to personal and social shadows and malevolence than for an actual movie, though they could also frame such a thing perfectly. Was this an aspect you wanted to craft within the music or something which has naturally bred itself?

The cinematic nature of the album emerged naturally from how I conceptualize music. Music to me is storytelling, or letting different melodies and riffs tell a story by how they change over time. Much as in metal, which is usually told from a history or “big picture” viewpoint like religion or biology, my music denies the human individual. Reality is given the foreground, and humans are tiny little yeasts clustered in a corner, forgotten. When you think about it, most music is about an idealized human individual in a situation of high emotion. Yet in life, all of the most important moments aren’t that way. You have to think about something broader than the human individual and its animal emotion. This gives Goatcraft the “epic” feeling that is also found in movie soundtracks.

Some pieces are pure elegance with equally rich dark tendencies whilst others are raw intensity upon the senses coated in sheer ambient beauty, how easy is it to combine both extremes for a mutual impact?

Both elegance and sonic intensity are techniques that are used to tell a story. If you make the whole album one or the other, it will end up either saccharine or redundant. To avoid this, I treat all of my techniques as colors being applied to a painting. You don’t want too much of any color, but you do want a balance. You can mix colors, but if you do it too much, the painting is washed out and looks like an error. The result is that there is a balance between elegance (sacredness) and intensity (the profane). Like life itself, it is the divine nature of consciousness clashing with the crass and “bottom line” reality of survival. Together these two portray life both as it is, and how it can be.

Another aspect which I love about the album is that tracks make their ‘statement’ than leave, meaning pieces can last a brief breath of time or tell a longer aural narrative, no toying with excesses and outstaying the potency of their impact. When does a piece of music tell you that it is at that point?

I am thrilled that you regard to it as a narrative. I believe I’m executing a musical narrative in Necroclassical.

Is there an underlying theme across the album, a thread which links each piece of music to each other rather than an overall umbrella of intent?

Human negation can be frightening for the average ego bound individual, or it can be something of beauty in regards to how powerless we are to Earth’s elements.

Have you read about the Toba catastrophe theory? One volcano bottle-necked human evolution 75,000 years ago. We’re long Goatcraftoverdue for another cleansing. Overpopulation, ecocide, religion, politics, false sense of self, and so forth would be put in their places by a new major catastrophic mishap.

I wonder what the world would be like if everyone turned off their TV’s and looked at how horrible we’ve kept ourselves and surroundings. Perhaps it’d still result in war and commerce. Devolution appears very probable regardless of any societal progressions.

Humanity will recoil.

Can you tell us about your personal presence within the music, how much is bred from your own beliefs and personal experiences and how much is just creative imagination as the seed?

Do you like Salvador Dali? If I’m not feeling any motivation for challenging myself, I’ll immerse myself in some of his paintings to clear my mind. Beksinski used to be a good inspirational source as well. I also wrote one piece after reading HP Lovecraft’s Ex Oblivione.

What is next for yourself and Goatcraft?

I’m writing more music for a split with the Neoclassical Dark Ambient project Khand. We’re talking to labels, but I have a feeling that Forbidden Records will be involved.

After that, I suppose it’s time for the second album.

Again many thanks for talking with us.

Thank you for taking the time to inquire about my exploits. It means a lot.

582397_407624472648277_817307193_nAny last thoughts you would like to share?

Only a few resources that I’d like to direct people to if they’re interested in checking out Goatcraft.

Stream the entire ‘All For Naught’ album:

The Official Goatcraft Website for happenings:

Forbidden Records for the physical copy of the album, as well as $5 CDs in the distro:

Goatcraft on Faceplant:

Thanks again!

Read the All For Naught review @

The RingMaster Review 11/04/2013

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Goatcraft: All for Naught

CD Tray

    All For Naught, the debut album from Goatcraft certainly caught us by surprise, the release an introduction to a band which from name alone we had made inaccurate assumptions about. The name, song titles, and to some extent the cover art brewed thoughts of a band unleashing either or a mix of black, death, and occult metal with a serpentine breath as toxic as its sound. What strikingly emerged was an instrumental album which certainly moved through the insidious breath of those genres but is a neo-classical bred feast of key sculpted tracks soaked in and breeding the most compulsive shadowed ambiences.

The album does not take long to make those preconceptions a distant thought as track by track it ignites and inspires thoughts, imagery, and emotions which relish and feed upon its inciting sounds. Elegant and intensive, the release is an intrusive and captivating tempest of passion and creativity from a project borne from the frustration of its creator in regard to the state of occult and other extreme and imposing genres at the time. Formed in 2010, the solo project of San Antonio based Lonegoat was soon creating strong impressions as it began playing numerous shows opening for underground metal bands across Texas. From initially a sonic keyboard attack the sound evolved and was refined into an enveloping encounter of neoclassical piano layers wrapped within atmospheric cinematic ambiences and noir whispers. Released via Forbidden Records, All For Naught is a truly unique encounter, the result of Lonegoat creating music in isolation overlooking the dark suggestive waters of Texas which leaves the listener bristling with vivid colourful questions and scenarios which can only be resolved and explored through further involvement with the album.

Opening track Call Me Judas slowly immerses the senses in a brooding velvety ambience which offers rich menace and satanic Cover Artseduction. Immediately one is thrust into thoughts of seventies/eighties Italian horrors films, the piece a dark hearted dramatic wash which would have perfectly suited and driven on a Tenebrae or Suspiria. The resonating voice of the off kilter piano is sensational and with the throaty lure combines for an enthralling and emotion igniting fire. The track is the perfect example of each individual and distinct track and their ability to provoke feelings and mental situations, its personal journey sparking images of encroaching shadowed corners and beckoning dark temptation reaped from a malevolent yet tempting insistence.

The intense and emotionally pressuring enticements continue with compelling and skilled imagination through the likes of Infinite Death, the intricate weaves of synths and keys which deliciously haunt Journey to the Depths, and Isolation Ripens, a track which embraces the first cinematic efforts in tone and innocence yet driven by a blackened melancholic passion which opens up a multitude of emotive investigations.

Across its whole expanse, the album ensures every note and breath of the release is impacting, emotively and mentally incendiary, the composing and playing of Lonegoat stunningly innovative and impressive. Its classical seeds ripple and engross not only musically but also with the literary and cinematic essences which pervades each piece of passion enslaving music. For music which is devoid of everything but keys of numerous descriptions and a production which allows them to breathe and tell their narrative with an honest and raw yet refined craft, the intensity it bears upon the senses is immense and again startling, a presence which numerous full on black metal albums would fail to blossom within the listener.

Some tracks are mere whispers in time and others with a prominent stance, all of which holding the deepest attention. Further exceptional highlights come with Laconism of the Cosmos and Consciousness is a Disease, but to be fair every piece of music is sensational and richly inspiring to thoughts and emotions. All for Naught is an album which will surprise, maybe even shock and wrong foot, but it will also bring rewards unlikely to be found or felt elsewhere, rewards which incite the fullest fires.


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