Milking the Goatmachine - _Seven... Dinner for One_
(NoiseArt Records, 2010)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (7.5 out of 10)
It is perhaps unquestionably appropriate this German band chose the name they did. If nothing else, it at least addresses the elephant in in the room. I will answer two questions before we begin: yes, this is a goat themed deathgrind; and no, this is not the first animal-centric metal band. Baltimore based death metal band Hatebeak boasts a parrot as a singer. Conversely, Caninus combines the intensity of grindcore with the power of barking pitbulls. Milking the Goatmachine writes music about goats, with goat song titles, and plays them wearing goat masks.

The symbolism of the goat runs deep in western folklore. Each instance is very different, ranging from Christian traditions to Pagan symbolism. Pan, Baphomet and the practice of scapegoating are entwined around these lovable yet mysterious creatures. The goat is, perhaps, the barnyard animal with the darkest and most complicated backstory -- followed by the pig and the enigmatic sheep. The use of animal themes for Milking the Goatmachine shares none of the deep symbolic text, but appears to be irreverent, silly and slightly stupid. This is, of course, fine with me.

_Seven... Dinner for One_ is Goatmachine's second release, following 2008's _Back From the Goats_; If you enjoyed _Back From the Goats_ but craved a concrete story arc, then _Seven... Dinner for One_ has been tailored to your needs. The first ten songs on _Seven_ re-enact the major plot points of "The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids". This Germanic fairytale involves a devious wolf attempting to trick a family of goats' children while their mother is away. After disguising himself with flour and chalk, the wolf gains access to the house and proceeds to devour all but one goat. The mother and youngest child rescue the rest by cutting open the wolf's stomach, replacing goat children with rocks. The wolf wakes up unknowing that anything has transpired, and upon attempting to drink from the well, he meets an early demise. This Grimm collected fairytale follows in the tradition of being shockingly graphic for a children, and showcases a latent cautionary tale behind the text. The tale is also perfect for Goatmachine due to its propensity for violence, moral punishment and eventual goat triumph. Had I known that a Germanic folktale and blistering metal could be so easily fused, I would have been pushing this long ago.

While the band advertise themselves as goat themed grind, Goatmachine marries the style of grindcore, death metal, deathcore and thrash metal into one silly package. _Back From the Goats_ had a surprising amount of thrash influence, including a Sacred Reich and Nailbomb cover. _Seven.. Dinner for One_ continues along that road by adding high end chaos to the low end madness. If the storyline and costumes were not enough, Goatmachine drops unexpected Easter eggs of lunacy into certain songs. Classical harmonies, upright bass solos and cartoon voices all make appearances confusing the listener to the Nth degree. Milking the Goatmachine may seem like an obvious choice for a write off, but their attention to graphic design, album structure and song choices makes it far more complicated.

While the first half of the album is far from serious, it does possess more of a sober air than the second half, which parodies popular song titles. I would be lying if I said I didn't laugh a little during "Goat on the Water", "Goat Horn Sun" and "Cemetery Goats". I am unaware how much, if any, of the original song made it into these selections, but am sure that it does not matter either way. The ending half of this record pays tribute to grindcore's sneering humor with a balls out encore which stretches for six songs. I usually never have to use the word "bouncy", but the second half of _Seven_ screams for that very descriptor. Goatmachine's seemingly inaccessible vocals are just a veil to a very likable and catchy instrumental side.

Milking the Goatmachine forces people to choose the level of seriousness attached to their metal. While Goatmachine is a bombastic party, it is rarely something you want to take home to meet your parents. _Seven_ is not an album one would sit reaching deep contemplative conclusions. For some this is a problem, for others it is just right. It is bizarre, humorous and technically proficient. I would be hard pressed to find the negative qualities with being entertained throughout an album.


(article published 29/12/2010)

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