Sep 252010

We are so very fucking grateful to Goat the Head. Before we discovered these Norwegian troglodytes in mid-July, we had an aching void in our lives, an unfilled longing for contemporary primal caveman death metal. More than that, we wanted primal caveman death metal played in a contemporary way by cavemen who would be equally comfortable wearing either spacesuits or animal pelts.

And then we found Goat the Head, and it was as if all our feverish prayers had been answered. Suddenly, that void in our lives was filled, and we became complete, at least briefly.

But we owe Goat the Head our gratitude for more than their primal caveman (but contemporary) music. For so many years, we had wondered about the fundamental mysteries of the universe: Where did television come from?  What enabled our primitive ancestors to play the electric guitar?  What causes trailer homes to spontaneously explode?  Goat the Head answered those questions, too.

Thanks to a short but eye-opening documentary film by the band, we now know the answers — and in fact, it turns out that all those questions (and many more) have the same answer: The fucking cube. It all makes so much sense now.

There was only one problem: Back in mid-July, we only had access to two of the songs from a new Goat the Head album (called Doppelgängers) that was then scheduled for release on September 13. It would have to do, but we knew then that only a full album’s worth of material would fully eradicate our painful longing, and hopefully stop our bed-wetting at the same time.

And September 13 came, and as promised, so did Doppelgängers. We have heard it, and it is all we hoped for, and so much more. (our review continues after the jump . . . )

Do you want the kind of adrenaline jolt you can usually get only from having live electrodes shoved up your ass, but without the rectal bleeding? Doppelgängers delivers.

Do you want to have all your nagging anxieties and petty annoyances eradicated with the head-clearing force of a club to the back of your head, but without the usual risk of having your eyeballs ejected from your cranium? Doppelgängers delivers.

Have you been waiting for a death-metal band that would use song titles such as “Neolithic Rocket Science”, “This Tube Is the Gospel”, “Bestial Domestication”, and “The Ubiquitous Cube”? Look no further than Doppelgängers.

Have you ever embarrassed yourself by asking complete strangers in a bar, or on a bus, “Why can’t death metal be clever and fun?”  Well, it can be, and on Doppelgängers it is.

The music on the album is mostly fast and taut, a mix of thrash and death and Lamb of God-style groove. It’s toe-tapping and head-snapping, with big infectious riffs and a sprinkling of screaming, sulphurous guitar solos and tremolo-picked leads. The songs are loaded with barbed hooks that catch in the meaty part of your brain; they pound and shudder and won’t let go.

Not all is speed and thrash: “Uncanny Valley Clan” launches with mid-paced, old-school death-metal riffs in a thundering stomp, and “This Tube Is Gospel” features the powerful, soulful voice of Norwegian clean-singer Kirsti Huke, in addition to a rapid spoken-word passage that verges on rap.

But in the main, Doppelgängers delivers propulsion, the kind of metal you need when you wanna get your groove on and bang your fucking head. All the instrumentalists are capable players, and Tue Madsen‘s mixing and mastering has produced a sharp, powerful, contemporary sound.

Per Spjøtvold‘s vocals are an interesting change of pace. They’re deep and guttural, but largely without the jagged, gravelly quality of most death-metal vocals, and from time to time he elevates his range into near-clean-singing territory. The dude has got a good voice that grew on us the more we listened.

And then there are the lyrics, some of which you can hear pretty distinctly in Spjøtvold’s delivery. They’re clever and creative, written with tongue in cheek and an affinity for puns and irony. When they do tackle serious subjects (such as the emptiness of TV-driven consumer culture in “The Tube Is Gospel”), they do so satirically and without heavy-handed bludgeoning. Maybe Goat the Head will do you a favor someday and post all the lyrics on the netz someplace, but for now, you’ve got to get the CD to read them all.

Some people who haven’t heard the music may be tempted to write off Goat the Head as a bunch of goofs who’ve organized themselves around a clever schtick. But that would be their loss, because the cathartic music is quite good – in addition to being an ass-kicking good time.

Here’s an example. We think the lyrics from this song have two meanings — one dealing with the grotesqueries of mass-produced meat and one, perhaps, that uses the controlling of the herd as a metaphor for human society:

Goat the Head: Bestial Domestication

Doppelgängers is available in the U.S. as a CD from The Omega Order and as a digital download from Amazon MP3 and iTunes. For those outside the U.S., the CD can also be acquired from Aftermath Music. And the band is still making “This Tube Is Gospel” available for free download at this location.

And now, about that carefully researched documentary film, which the band slyly passed off as a teaser for their debut album, Simian Supremacy:

There’s not much music in it — what there is erupts at the end. But it explains so very much. Just wait and see.

We embedded this piece of creative genius in our post about Goat the Head back in July, but we can’t resist featuring it again. It may be our most favorite metal video ever, and if you’ve ever wondered what inspired that phrase “the fucking cube”, which you’ll occasionally see sprinkled in the comments section on this site as an explanation for anything that goes wrong, you’re about to find out.

As the Goats would say, “Please gird brain for explosion!”

UPDATE: We just got a message from the lovely and talented Kirsti Huke, in response to our July post about the Goats (fortuitous timing). Here’s what she had to say:

You wanted to know how I met the “goats”
I actually had a huge argument with the singer at a party.
One week later, I recorded This Tube is the Gospel with them:-)
I joined them at the release concert they had a couple of weeks ago, What a show!!
…and they are the coolest guys:-)
And finally, we also just can’t resist sharing the following September 20 MySpace blog post from the band, which includes a report about that release party. It’s typically nutty, and in some instances raises more questions than it answers:

Doppelgängers have now been officially available for a week! Reviews have been ticking in and we’re happy to see that most of them land on the 7-8 of 10, with some occasional bad apples here and there for good measure. Distribution is broadening as we speak, both physical and digital. If it’s not in your local store yet, it will hopefully be soon. Either way, you can always order it from Aftermath here. (Our Finnish fans are advised to order from here)

Previous weekend Goat the Head had two release-gigs in support of the new album, and wrapping up how it went is vocalist Per:

With only one proper rehearsal the night before, we’ve come to terms with us being a band living constantly on the edge. A nasty cold had embraced half the band as well, so we were walking on a tightrope over the pit of disaster unto the stage at Blæst in our home town of Trondheim on Friday. We gave it our confident best, and word of mouth seems to have it we delivered the goods! I had obtained some liquid latex from the local sex-shop for my on-stage costume this time. Let me tell you: Never again!

I thought I was relatively short on body hair, but obviously I’m man enough to make the removal of second skin near impossible, and most certainly painful. We had some lovely guests with us in Trondheim as well, Vegard Harkjerr acted as my doppelgänger on the opening song, walking on-stage sporting my nasa suit and monkey mask while singing “Stirring the Enigmatic Appetite”. I joined in halfway through the song, completing the song with Vegard to a confused audience. We finally got the chance to do “This Tube is the Gospel” with Kirsti Huke, who also sings on the song on the album. Pure magic! And really, really fun!

Come Saturday, and we were leaving for Oslo somewhat reduced. Ketil looked like he tried to impersonate the album artwork as his right eye was nice and swollen due to conjunctivitis! The cold had tightened its grip on me, and upped the ante by giving me flaring diarrhoea. Arriving in Oslo, Kenneth learned that he (once again) was the national champion of drum rolls, and had won some heaps of drum gear. Success!

Ten seconds after a ravishing toilet visit at Oslo’s Garage I rushed the stage with the band and quickly found out I couldn’t be too crazy tonight, or it would turn ugly. Or rather, uglier. I’m both really happy and somewhat sorry for not having the ultimate faecal-tinged story for you guys this time, but I can report that the goats played like maniacs and it was a great show after all. We even did a semi-obscure cover of punk-crossover band Broken Bones!


  1. But did it stop the bed-wetting?

  2. That album cover is absolutely brilliant!

    • It is indeed. And here are the opening lyrics to the opening song, “Neolithic Rocket Science”:

      Our missile stand erected
      With massive length and girth
      Red rocket rises, phallic and metallic
      To fly sailors far away from earth

      Dance hall brawl, alright!
      Look at us go, look at us fight!

      The sea men get ejected
      To find themselves marooned
      Confusion spreads across the satellite
      Soon Luna ticks are crawling on the moon

  3. You know, Goat The Head actually reminds me of earlier GWAR before they started running wild with the whole concept after America Must Be Destroyed. While the subject matter may not always be along some of the same lines, some of the song titles do indicate that there are some similarities and based on the partial lyrics you posted, they share a sense for humor, innuendo and double entrendre. Musically, the sound like they’ve progressed in much the same manner, evolving after Simian Supremacy as GWAR did after Hell-O!, although that album’s production itself left a lot to be desired.

    I may have to get this album later. Too bad I missed the full stream the band had earlier this month.

    • Gwar is a band I’ve never listened to. I’ve never even been curious. Odd that I would be intrigued by the Goats but haven’t given Gwar a chance. I can’t tell from your comment what you think of Gwar’s music. Is it worth checking out?

      • Absolutely. You seem to have a self-depreciating sense of humor, which is kind of a must with GWAR. And an open mind. GWAR is not for everyone.

        Some of their stuff is very over the top and I do think they have gone a bit too far in a few cases. When Dave Brockie’s in Oderus mode, he generally stays in character and aims rather low. Just read some of the Ask Oderus postings over at MetalSucks or look for some of his interviews. The scumdog gimmick sometimes gets old, but if it weren’t for the fact that GWAR can actually play some awesome stuff makes it worth it. Granted, it’s not always easy to get past some of the subject matter to find the metal band beneath, but it’s worth the journey.

        I must say I like the older stuff more. Despite the lackluster sound, Hell-O has some decent stuff on it, while Scumdogs Of The Universe and America Must Be Destroyed are where GWAR became entrenched more in metal than punk and started to establish their origins and present day story, along with some of the stuff that’s happened to them.

        How many bands can say they’ve been banned from their own hometown?

        How many bands have had a penis confiscated by the police?

        Wait, what? I bet you didn’t see that one coming.

        This Toilet Earth came at the height of GWAR’s ‘popularity’ and was also censored because of B.D.F. (a lousy song though, IMO, so no huge loss). Not quite as good as the previous two albums, but still good. RagNaRok was the most varied album vocally and also has some of the best stuff they’ve put in music (“Surf Of Syn”, “None But the Brave”), while the band was a bit more experimental with Carnival Of Chaos, “Sex Cow” and “Don’t Need A Man” being the most unlike anything else the band had done. But in a good, GWAR way.

        The band isn’t terribly fond of We Kill Everything, where they seemed at a bit of a dead end. Still, they managed to show their musical chops with “A Short History of the End of the World (Part VII (The Final Chapter (abbr.)))”. While they didn’t leave the schlock completely behind with Violence Has Arrived, GWAR did emerge as a somewhat better band and has been going strong since then. War Party continued along this path. Beyond Hell (which featured their cover of “School’s Out”, which is NOT the first cover the band’s recorded, though most probably don’t know about “Zombie”) was another concept album, followed by a greater return to GWAR storylines with Lust In Space.

        The insane, elaborate stage shows are a part of the past, but they still go above and beyond what most bands do on stage – a GWAR concert is more than just a concert. Pick up any of the older concert videos for quite a treat. It’s wonderfully cheesy, with foam rubber and latex costumes/props (something that playing with Green Jellö taught them to use instead of using papier-mâché) and lots of tubes carrying various liquids around. It’s like a mad soap opera with aliens, sex, blood, violence and fire. Ah yes, the fire dance of Slymenstra Hymen during “Horror Of Yig” or “Sammy”.

        The only real issue that GWAR’s had with the concerts and tours is the revolving door lineup and characters that aren’t with/around the band anymore and that the continuing story has rendered older songs ‘unplayable’ because of continuity. Maybe someday they’ll bring back some of the older songs and not give a shit about anything that came after. Live From Mt. Fuji was a bit of a disappointment, probably because the sound guy’s overuse of sound effects – and using the same ones over and over and over and…

        So yes, I like GWAR. I can look past some of the subject matter and there’s some awesome material to be found, and some crap. I’d say start with Scumdogs (which is often regarded as their masterpiece) and move forward from there.

        But back to Goat The Head.

        Hopefully they keep evolving and can keep their gimmick fresh and not have to resort to selling insurance on TV (or no-selling it, as the case may be) or having a short lived TV series because of it. I haven’t heard the albums in their entirety, but from what I have heard, they’ve made progress.

        Cube willing, these guys will have long careers ahead of them.

        • Thanks for the detailed history and comments on the discography! I wouldn’t have predicted you had this kind of in-depth interest in GWAR. The key point for me is that the music includes awesome material. So, “Scumdogs,” here I come!

          • Well, I’m guessing you have the patience and ability to look beyond the costumes, b-movie horror gimmick and over the top content. Of course, GWAR is a band that hasn’t forgotten how to have fun with its music, which is a nice bonus. Not enough bands have the fun factor, and fewer still can rival GWAR in this department. Actually, I don’t think any can at this level. Except maybe Dethklok.

            • As you know, I like bands with a fun factor, as long as the music stands up to scrutiny. Happen to be a big Dethklok fan, too. Speaking of GWAR and their competitors, what do you think of Lordi? That’s another band I’ve consciously avoided hearing.

              • Hmmm…

                Well, I got into them well before they went into Eurovision as underdogs and came out as winners with record breaking amounts of votes.

                They’re more of a horror-themed rock and roll band with some heavier stuff. Aside from the costumes and keeping in character as much as possible, Lordi is more like KISS meets Alice Cooper. Of course, comparisons to GWAR are unavoidable, but the two shouldn’t really have to be mentioned together.

                As for the music, it’s not bad. I don’t have everything they’ve put out, but I like what I’ve heard and they do have the mysterious Finnish musical gene in them. It’s catchy and also fun. Lordi got lucky and were in the right place at the right time. Or maybe the wrong place at the right time.

                But GWAR has no competitors. I can tell you that right now. No one is quite like them and it’s unlikely that there ever will be – and certainly not a band that manages to keep it going like that for over 25 years. Alice Cooper is probably the closest there is, without having gone to the extremes GWAR has.

  4. Brilliance. Sheer fucking beautiful brilliance. Added to the list of must have’s.

    On an unrelated note. Does the cube grant refunds….or do-overs?

    • You can’t negotiate or reason with the cube. Which might be just as well, because a do-over might involve destroying all human beings on earth and starting from scratch.

      • You never know, destroying humanity and starting over might be a good thing.

        • Many people would agree with you, possibly including me, as long as the do-over begins after I’m already dead.

          • How do you know that a cubic do-over would provide better results?

            How you do know that it hasn’t already happened?

            • Very serious questions you’ve asked there ESJFK. When it comes to the fucking cube, there is in fact no way to know the answers. My own personal feeling on the second one is yes, it has happened already, and the cube wasn’t happy with its original choice to make the slow loris the dominant species on earth. Second choice was homo sapiens, narrowly edging out the cockroach.

  5. This might give some more hints towards THE CUBE. Its a short film directed by the same crew that did the DArwinian Minions video.

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