I’m not surprised that Goat’s Commune opens with a track called “Talk to God,” because a Goat album (let alone a live performance) feels like a direct transmission from another plane where beings beyond our understanding dwell and bless us with insight and wisdom.
Goat, the mysterious Swedish voodoo rock band, had another solid record that went straight into my “Best of 2014” list with Commune. “Talk to God” hypnotizes you out of the gate with its Arabic / African guitar licks, humming bass, and those sultry, mysterious female vocals (sexily singing “Call my name when you talk to God.”).
“Words,” with droning guitar that sounds like something Giorgio Moroder composed, furthers Goat’s theme of communing with things beyond our ken. The weird, high-pitched chants on “The Light Within” definitely sound like something from beyond this reality, and the guitar solo may well send you there.
“To Travel the Path Unknown” could be the theme of listening to any Goat album. You never know where it will lead you and it may change each time. The opening lyric claims, “There is only one true meaning of life, and that is to be a positive force in the constant creation of evolution.” Heavy stuff, but a Goat album is not for the weak. Don’t play one unless you are ready to face the consequences of an expanded mind.
“Goatchild” continues the band’s theme of using their name in at least one song title per record. It’s also the first song on their first two albums to feature male vocals, which contrast nicely with the duo female vocals throughout most of the tracks as the lyrics take us beyond the moon and sun.
“The spirit world is everything,” Goat claims on “Goatslaves.” They’re right, of course. This world here, in which I am typing a review that cannot truly encapsulate this record, is illusion. We are slaves to it because we fear what lies beyond the veil we keep over our eyes. The beats on this are so good they’re almost terrifying, which is just how Goat likes it. A bit of fear keeps you honest, and liars never do well in the spirit world.
“Hide from the Sun” is a magnificent song to take with you across the desert during your pilgrimage to a holy temple, an oasis full of sweet water and fruits and beautiful naked people, or the treadmill. Just don’t be surprised if you abandon that run on the treadmill for a good sweat in the sauna while listening to this track, because it may make you seek sweat lodge visions.
“Bondye” is a fantastic instrumental with swirling, mesmerizing beats that build to a frenzy best suited for whirling dervishes. Let it wash over you. It’s hard to write this even as I hear it. It tends to overwhelm everything else in your immediate sphere.
The album ends with a “Gathering of Ancient Tribes” (Notice the initials?). The vocals are powerful (chanting “Into the fire!” at one point), and the band behind them seems to be playing from a mountain temple for all in the valley below to hear. The guitar solo drops from Mount Olympus, gathering cacophony in its wake, until it hits you like an avalanche.
This is one of the most powerful, mind-altering records I’ve heard since, well, Goat’s first album. You aren’t the same after hearing a Goat album. It will bend your brain. Proceed with caution, but by all means – proceed.
Keep your mind open.
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