Contemptuously channelling to devastating effect the infernal majesty and Satanic might of unrestrained Bestial Black Metal misanthropy, Goatkraft’s hideously-blasphemous, death-worshipping, filth-eradicating second full-length ‘Prophet of Eternal Damnation’ is one of the most destructive, barbaric and relentless recordings to emerge from Norway since … ever. Uncompromising desecrator-in-chief G. gives an insight into this gloriously genocidal auditory onslaught; ignoring trends and choosing the road less-travelled by crafting Black Metal the way it was originally intended to be; cover art misconstrusion; and immortalising in music the hooded skeleton guarding the path to the nine circles of hell.
As Norway’s original and only Bestial Black Metal horde, Goatkraft commands a special place within the storied history of Norwegian Black Metal. Ignited in a nation that is widely regarded as the natural birthplace and spiritual home of Black Metal but which is synonymous with more traditional fare, what inspires and motivates you to deviate from expected norms and, rather than following the flock, create these uncustomary and nonindigenous sonic onslaughts?
“Everyone around us is playing Norwegian Black Metal, so we were not interested in doing that. I believe that NBM has nothing more to offer. Of course, there will always be some exceptions, like Vulture Lord, Terrestrial Hospice and maybe a few others but, generally speaking, when it comes to music, there’s not much interesting happening in Norway nowadays. Another thing is that most of the bands are now so polite and politically correct with a nice sterile and compressed sound … that’s simply not who we are. We still dig this aggression in Black Metal, the old school approach, and all that shit. That’s the reason. I guess.”
This absurd political correctness you mention is a plague that has rather embarrassingly infected Black Metal all around the modern world. Instead of embracing the woke mentality, counting their social media followers and worrying about being cancelled, surely Black Metal musicians – if they are sincere about their art – should be going out of their way to be as offensive, antisocial and uncompromising as possible, both musically and ideologically?
“That only shows the condition of BM today. Buying likes on social media. Giving statements when gigs are cancelled. Explaining themselves to some losers who have zero knowledge about the genre. Arguing with internet trolls or, what’s even more funny, paying to play. Everyone wants to be a fucking rockstar nowadays. It has nothing to do with BM and we despise those kinds of people. Black Metal should be misanthropic, dangerous and mysterious. Just like in the old days. People were shocked when churches burned; fans were making legends about the bands. It wasn’t for everybody… And today? Some of them will share with the whole world what they ate for breakfast. They will make fun of everything that’s ‘cult’ just to show how much they don’t give a shit. Hypocrites and posers who treat BM as an opportunity to meet up with friends on the weekend and get wasted.”
In contrast, Goatkraft is the embodiment of pure, undiluted Black Metal perversion. It is probably impossible not to have been influenced to some extent by the legion of genre-defining bands that indelibly stamped Norway onto the Black Metal map. Although your music is more Blasphemy than Burzum, more Morbosidad than Mayhem and more Black Witchery than A Blaze in the Northern Sky, how much affinity do you feel towards the progenitors of True Norwegian Black Metal and would you concede that your belligerent and overtly antichristian lyrical and ideological approach aligns with the murderous church-burning fervour of the infamous early-‘90s lords of chaos?
“Yes, it does. We have grown up with Norwegian Black Metal. Back in the early ‘90s, it was the most developing and innovative genre in metal, so it would be strange if it didn’t have any impact on us. But … it is rather obvious that we were not only into the Norwegian scene, but into other scenes also. Probably like everyone else, we liked bands from Greece, Brazil, Canada or Australia, just to name a few. Even though some of those bands at that time were trying to sound ‘Norwegian’, they have developed their own sound with time, and all had a huge impact on us.”
Is Goatkraft a reaction to (or the antidote to) a Black Metal ‘scene’ that has become disappointingly safe, tame, camp and inoffensive – not just ideologically but also musically and often aesthetically? While many so-called BM bands these days have embraced snowflake culture and make mediocre music that is nauseatingly accessible and easy-listening, then market it as progressive, avant-garde, post- or experimental, Goatkraft’s approach seethes with aggression and violence, resulting in a more challenging listening experience: abrasive and unpalatable sounds that will only appeal to a limited audience…
“Yes and no. No, ‘cause we said in the beginning that we play music we like and we don’t care what anybody thinks about that. Our music is not original. To be honest, I haven’t heard any original bands in this genre. But that’s not the point. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. If we would like to implement new ‘original’ elements into our music, change the sound to be more friendly, we would become like most of those modern safe bands, so…
“Yes, ‘cause watching how BM looks today, sometimes I am just wondering what the fuck am I still doing here.”
Authentic Black Metal artists regularly express their exasperation at how Black Metal has been hijacked by embarrassing, deluded outsiders with no clue as to what it should mean to be performing this music. In keeping with the feelings you just expressed, many who subscribe to the traditional values and ideals of BM are so pissed off by what’s happening they don’t want to be associated with any of it anymore. But instead of giving up, is it better to stand and fight and keep releasing music that will piss these fuckers off?
“Some give up or choose to change into f.eksp Harsh/Ambient or Noizz projects. Some, like us, keep on going the same road. The funny thing about this is that most of those ‘wanna be rockstar’ bands disappear very quickly, while bands with a stable foundation like ours are still here.”
You wear your primary influences on your (spiked and barbed) sleeve and follow faithfully in their filthy footsteps. However, even within the strictly limited confines of Bestial Black Metal, Goatkraft does not seem content to just celebrate, imitate and pay homage to these trailblazers. It may be subtle but, within the murderous maelstrom, do you strive to add some trademark flourishes of your own? (‘Thermonuclear Genocide’, for example, the final flattening offensive on your new LP, is not a typical bestial barrage – when listening on headphones, there is a lot going on…)
“Some claim that we have our own trademarks in our music. Others claim that we are just a bad copy of others. They are often those who have heard one or two of our songs, seen our picture or, like recently, the album cover of our new record, and judge us upon that, very often not noticing obvious differences … rather typical human behaviour. It will always be like that. Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t know any original band in the Bestial Black Metal genre. Everyone of us is inspired more or less by Sarcófago, Blasphemy, Beherit, etc. You will always find common elements, riffs and so on and anyone who claims that I am wrong has to be either deaf or have zero knowledge of the genre.
“I would say that ‘Thermonuclear Genocide’ is a rather typical Bestial banger. I agree, there is quite a lot going on, but it doesn’t stand out from the other tracks, I think. It is a matter of perspective, I guess. As for our own ideas in this track: we have for example added tapping solos and samples, which are not so often used in this genre, but still I wouldn’t call it original…”
The most celebrated Bestial Black Metal hordes have each been tirelessly summoning Satan, invoking evil and delivering desecration for at least two or three decades. Newcomers seem to be few and far between. Considering that Bestial Black Metal is the ultimate expression of Black Metal brutality and barbarism, why do you think it is that so few contemporary bands choose this primitive, unpalatable and apparently unpopular path?
“I like the fact that BBM is ‘too much’ for most of the fans nowadays. That’s the way it should be. It is not normal music – that’s why normal people should never reach for it. Let them stick to their Batushka, Watain, Uada or any other safe band… The millennial generation is weak. Of course there are always some exceptions, but generally speaking they are not having it as difficult as we did, so that’s the result… Getting everything for free. Without any work, any sweat. Never get punished for anything, because as their parents always claim ‘they are special’ so they can’t be treated the same as everyone else.
“It sounds like a bad joke because most of the time, they can’t do anything productive and are completely useless but their parents act like they could fly or at least be able to disappear. This generation never had to fight for anything like we did, that’s why they give up at the first sign of trouble. We are living in an influencers’ era, so being extreme, it’s not too profitable if you know what I mean.”
Sadly, the good old days of wandering into a physical record store and picking up or perusing a previously-unknown album seem to be gone. I’m old enough to remember browsing through mysterious records with no reference of what the music was going to sound like other than where in the store the record was located, the album and song titles, and of course the cover artwork. It could lead to some nasty surprises… However, if I time-travelled and chanced upon the new Goatkraft LP in one such time and place, I’d immediately think Proclamation. I’d have bought or stolen the record and definitely wouldn’t have been surprised or disappointed when I got home. Was the Proclamation reference intentional? Are all their records prominent in your collection? What other considerations went into the cover artwork?
“I am really glad that you are asking about that. I was wondering which Proclamation album cover art reminds everybody of our cover art, ‘cause I am a bit confused. As far as I know, Proclamation used drawings on their records. We used a picture of a skull with horns. Picture not drawing. Maybe the combination of a red logo on black background is so confusing? We did that before, as well as hundreds of other bands, and no one ever said a word about Proclamation. Not even gonna talk about music ‘cause if anyone thinks that we sound like the trio from Spain, then again they have to be deaf.
“Don’t get me wrong. Proclamation is a CULT band for me and I am not gonna lie and pretend that they are not an inspiration for us … but I could say that about dozens of other bands. Besides, there would be no Proclamation without Blasphemy.
“Yes I have ‘A.M.E.N.’ on vinyl. I like the last two best.
“Funny fact about that cover art is that in the beginning, we were using it only as a trial cover, without any intentions of using it on the official release. We were planning to have a drawing as always but, since Patrick [at Iron Bonehead Productions] was happy with the trial one, we decided to skip the drawing and use the picture. Now we are a Proclamation clone hahahaha.”
Definitely not! And no offence was intended or intentionally inferred in the question. The perceived similarity in the covers, which is obviously just a happy coincidence, could be explained by the fact that all four Proclamation covers are themselves inspired by ‘Fallen Angel of Doom….’. The template is there from 1990: black background, white image in the middle, red band logo to the top, red album title below. Guess it all begins and ends with Blasphemy, the original bestial innovators and trailblazers…
“Exactly. It was Blasphemy who started it and almost every bestial band has copied it in one way or another. It’s really simple. If you like this kind of music, you will probably enjoy it. If you are looking for something new and original, you have to look somewhere else. Anyway, thanks to all the buzz about that cover art, I came up with a cover art idea for the next Goatkraft album.”
Great to hear that more music is planned. Assuming we aren’t all nuked out of our misery before then, what else can we expect from the blasphemous, bestial Black Metal horde of Goatkraft going forward?
“At the moment, we are working on the second part of the “Barbaric Hatred and Doom” compilation. It’s practically finished. We need one more track to close this compilation. After that, we will probably start to write some new stuff. It is hard to say anything about it now.”
While there has never been a bad time for blasting some bestial or war Black / Death Metal, the timing of ‘Prophet of Eternal Damnation’ is eerily uncanny as it arrives as the ideal soundtrack to these insane, divisive, war-torn times we are living in. Bearing in mind the extraordinary (but unsurprising) events taking place globally in recent years, do you find yourself more motivated than ever to create blasphemous sonic desecrations? There’s no getting away from the deduction that mankind is a stain on the planet…
“Humanity is the worst thing that could happen to this planet. Stupidity, ignorance have reached the highest level and I don’t want to have anything in common with that. I try to stay away from people, their politics and the rest of that crap. Misanthropy is the only way.”
Who or what is the Prophet of Eternal Damnation? Satan? Death? Satan interpreted as the harbinger of Death? The irresistible force that holds dominion over all living things?
“The Prophet of Eternal Damnation is the spirit of hatred and destruction. A Herald of upcoming war and depopulation. A cumulation of negative feelings toward humanity and the Hooded Skeleton who guards the path to the 9 circles of hell.”
The barbaric, bloodthirsty, bludgeoning barrage never relents for one second across the nine foul and furious detonations. The indiscriminate, vengeful nature of this attack is confirmed by a succession of hate-filled titles – ‘Filth Eradication’, ‘Barbaric Hatred and Doom’, the aforementioned ‘Thermonuclear Genocide’, ‘Death Psalm’, ‘Herald of Death’, ‘Portal to Annihilation’ – it’s essentially an unapologetic orgy of death worship, isn’t it?
“This is Black Metal.”