Norway is best known for its raw Black Metal scene and has given birth to a lot of classic acts throughout the years. But you wouldn’t necessarily associate the country with primitive War Metal in the vein of old SARCÓFAGO, BLASPHEMY, BEHERIT and the likes, would you? Enter GOATKRAFT from Bergen! These guys are active since 2017 and have released all possible formats ever since, all of them with very impressive, bestial material. We hooked up with vocalist / guitarist G to find out a bit more about them…
GOATKRAFT has been around since 2017 and always featured A, O and yourself since the band’s origin, if I’m not mistaken, so I suppose you get along well, don’t you? What have you all done prior to forming GOATKRAFT? Have you been active in other bands or projects before?
“We have been playing here and there but since it is GOATKRAFT interview, let’s focus on GOATKRAFT.”
You’ve also worked with T as a session drummer all the time… Why isn’t he a fulltime member? Will he remain part of your recordings in the future?
“T doesn’t have time to play regularly that’s why he is only a session member. Hopefully he will be still supporting us during the future recordings.”
You’re all just using letters as your names, so do you want to keep your real identities a secret or what is the reason for that? Were stage names like “Nocturnal Grave Desecrator And Black Winds” no option for you?
“It’s a part of the GOATKRAFT concept. The letters form the acronym G O A T – which is rather obvious. When it comes to keeping real identities a secret, I think that exposing everything kills the atmosphere around the band. If you will look at old bands, there was always an aura of mysticism. Black Metal should be mysterious. Today bands share what they ate for breakfast on social media, so the aura is gone. We hail the old traditions in Metal, so we want to keep it the old school way. Besides we don’t have that “Rock Star attitude“ and we don’t feel any need to be recognizable. We are actually considering skipping pictures, line-ups, lyrics and all this distracting shit on the next GOATKRAFT album. It’s about the music… Names without music means nothing, doesn’t matter how long they are.”
Your choice of music is pretty unusual for the Norwegian underground scene, especially in Bergen, where you are located… It is still very much dominated by Black Metal, so how do you get along with other bands? Are there any bands that play a similar style of music as you do in Bergen? And is it difficult for you in general to find bands that you can share the stage with or haven’t you played live at all yet?
“We are the only Bestial Black Metal band from Norway. We don’t know anyone from Bergen who would be into this kind of music. I guess it makes us special in a way, hehe. No, we don’t get along with other bands from here. We are outsiders. To be honest, we don’t have much in common with most of them, haha. Bergen maybe once was dominated by Black Metal, but it isn’t any longer. To be honest it is hard to meet a Metalhead on the street… We don’t play live. We don’t feel any excitement about doing that. Everyone does that nowadays. Bands play every weekend and it is just a normal practice now. Some even pay to play which is a complete joke. Back in the days a Black Metal gig was something special. An event that people were awaiting for. Mostly devoted maniacs attended the shows and it wasn’t as common as today. Shows were smaller and most importantly there was an atmosphere. However, we will maybe do some shows in the future, but only on special occasions and only for devoted maniacs. Don’t expect to see GOATKRAFT on huge festivals where Soft Metal bands are usually playing.”
What made you choose the moniker GOATKRAFT and what does it stand for from your own point of view?
“I have already partly explained that earlier. It is also an expression of hatred and negativity.”
The word “Kraft” exists in Norwegian as well as in German, but with a totally different meaning. Which one did you choose?
“Norwegian of course.”
You released your music on all kinds of formats already: demo, EP, split, full length album and a compilation… which format do you like most and why? Are you already working on new material?
“I don’t think it is about which format we like best. I would say that the format has to fit the purpose. You are not going to release a full length with four songs that lasts twelve minutes right? Additionally to that, you have to dose your releases so to speak. Sometimes less is better. Yes, the new album is finished in 75%. It will be called ‘Prophet Of Eternal Damnation’ and it will be heavier, more brutal and bestial than the previous releases. Hopefully it will be released by the end of 2023.”
Your choice of cover songs is pretty cool since all bands are unique cult acts in their own rights, so is it difficult for you to decide which particular song you’re going to cover or do you all have the same favorites?
“No, it wasn’t difficult to make a choice. We covered songs we like best. That’s true, most of the covers we did are cult classics. In this hipster world, doing this kind of thing is rather a commercial suicide, but we show our middle finger to modern Metal and modern ways. We pray the old Metal and the old bands with pride.”
Two of the cover songs on your latest compilation “Barbaric Hatred And Doom” have previously already been part of other GOATKRAFT releases. The BLASPHEMY cover on your debut demo and the BLACK WITCHERY cover on your 12″ EP, but what about the BATHORY, SARCÓFAGO, BEHERIT, BESTIAL WARLUST and GOATPENIS covers? Did you record them all in the same session? What were they supposed to be used for?
“You are wrong. We haven’t used the same covers of BLASPHEMY and BLACK WITCHERY twice. We did ‘Demoniac’ and ‘Unholy Vengeance Of War’ on demo and EP. For “Barbaric Hatred And Doom” we have chosen ‘Ritual’ and ‘Darkness Attack’ (Damn! It seems I wasn’t 100% awake yet, when I prepared the questions for the interview – Frank). We were recording some covers on every session. In the beginning we didn’t had any plans for a compilation. After a while we had a couple of them recorded, so we decided to release some of them. We are considering doing “Barbaric Hatred And Doom II” with covers of “newer” bands like REVENGE, SVINE PROCLAMATION, DEATH WORSHIP one day… Time will tell…”
Chris Moyen often created artwork for those kind of bands… do you like his artwork as well and have you already thought about working with him sometime maybe?
“Moyen is one of the best graphics in Black / Death underground. Maybe one day…”
Tell us a bit more about the other songs on that compilation… were they leftovers from some recordings? Why did you come up with a different mix for ‘Burial Prophet’? What’s wrong with the version on your split with GOATHAMMER?
“‘Deathstorms’ was the only leftover from the “Sulphurous…” session. ‘Burial Prophet’ features only my vocals and it has a different mix. Some screams are different etc. There’s nothing wrong with the previous version, this one is is just different. That’s all. As for ‘Bestial Desecration’ and ‘The Temple Of Infernal Fire’, we came up with a new sound and just wanted to check if it will work for us. We were satisfied with the results, so we decided to release them as well.”
Talking about that split release, was it pure coincidence that you share it with another band that has “Goat” in the bandname or was it a must for you in order to do it?
“Yes, it was a coincidence.”
On the split Patrick from Iron Bonehead also contributed guest vocals to ‘Burial Prophet’… How did this come about?
“I have asked him if he would be willing to do that. He agreed. I think it turned out really well.”
All of your stuff had been released via Iron Bonehead, except for the split with GOATHAMMER and the compilation… does that mean your co-operation with the label has ended by now? By the way, how did you hook up with them in the first place?
“We will see. We were satisfied with Iron Bonehead Productions and we still think, that this is one of the best underground labels in Europe. When we recorded the “War Metal Promo 2017″ we have contacted five labels. We got positive response from three of them and since Patrick was the fastest and most concrete, we chose him.”
Is it difficult for you to write songs in this particular style? I mean, musical progression is certainly not an option, modern production won’t work and to remain as primitive as possible won’t help either to come up with songs that don’t sound alike all the time. So, do you think GOATKRAFT’s career is limited to a certain amount of years because of that?
“No, it is not hard at all. I would say it is rather natural. I don’t think our music is primitive. You will hear it yourself, when our new album will be out. Career is not a good word. We are underground, we don’t think about career. We will be doing GOATKRAFT as long as we will have new ideas. Nothing else really matters.”
The style that you play mainly gets labeled as Black / Death Metal… do you think that really describes the primitive bestial sound that you come up with in the best possible way? I personally think that your album title “Sulphurous Northern Bestiality” describes the material you come up with a lot better…
“We are a Bestial Black Metal or War Metal band, if someone prefer that other name. We have chosen the “Sulphurous Northern Bestiality” title cause it fits the music and describe in a way, where are we from. Music, cover art and title create a concept. Everything has to fit together.”
Metal Archives mentions “Death, Hatred and Destruction” as your lyrical themes… do you agree with that? Would you like to tell us a bit about some lyrical topics of songs that you consider really important for GOATKRAFT?
“Metal Archives is not a reliable source of information, but I guess in this case it seems to be right. Our lyrics, just like our music, are old school, so I guess the three topics mentioned above are our „main“ lyrical themes.”
Except for Bandcamp and Instagram you don’t seem to use any social media for GOATKRAFT. Any particular reasons for that or is it just that you don’t like and don’t care about Twitter, Facebook etc.?
“We also have YouTube channel, but like I said earlier, we don’t have a Rock Star attitude. We don’t need to have profiles on every platform available today. Those who are into this kind of music can find us very easily. We use Bandcamp cause it’s focused on music and helps us to sell our records. Instagram gives us the opportunity to inform a larger group of people about our upcoming releases. Since we don’t play live, we have to have a tool to communicate with our fans. Sometimes we share also unused photos from different photosessions and pictures of our releases. In the beginning it wasn’t even us who were running it. Anyway, we don’t pay much attention to Instagram. It’s just a tool. More or less useful… Back in the day we used to have an official webpage, but since everyone nowadays is on social media, we decided to close it. It’s kinda funny cause years ago it was the total opposite. No one treated you seriously if you had for example MySpace and didn’t have any official webpage.”
Before we end, I’d like to hear which are your five most important releases in this style of music.
“There are many, but if I had to name five most important ones, I guess it would be: “INRI”, “Fallen Angel Of Doom”, “Drawing Dawn The Moon”, “Vengeance War Til Death” and “Hellstorm Of Evil Vengeance”.”
Ok G, that’s about it. Thanks for taking the time and all the best. The last words are yours!
“Thanks for interview. Support the underground!”