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Thursday 15 June 2023

Reviews: Godflesh, Diceratops, Rénovations, Snake Healer (Reviews By Rich Piva, Joe Guatieri, Matt Bladen & James Jackson)

Godflesh - Purge (Avalanche) [Rich Piva]

Godflesh, the super influential industrial/noise/post everything filthy monster, is back with a new full-length album and this is wonderful news in 2023. Purge is the ninth record from these pioneers who have lost none of their energy or griminess since their beginnings in 1982, which seems impossibly long ago. Purge is eight tracks of what these guys do best: sometimes sludgy, sometimes danceable, always heavy, and always awesome industrial goodness done like no other.

The album title Purge, per an interview in Metal Injection, “refers to how front man Justin Broadrick utilizes Godflesh's music as a temporary relief from his diagnosed autism and PTSD." I love this as a description of the record, as you can hear the frustration and the release in every howl, scream, and beat. Purge is never just a wall of noise or a big dump of growls. Take the opener and lead single, Nero. It is vintage Godflesh in that there is that industrial beat throughout but pure anger and frustration in the vocals. We get beats to lead us into the killer Land Lord, which will be one of the angriest songs that you can dance to in 2023. 

Army Of Non is right off the Wax Trax box set and could be a Murder, Inc. cover, and it is glorious. Godflesh, unlike many others, is a band you don’t want to veer too far off their formula, which is why a track like Lazarus Leper works so well. Dark, hypnotic, and ready to explode at any point, even though it may never actually do so. Permission starts out like a Chemical Brothers track until the industrial kids storm in, kick their asses, and take the track over and make it wonderful. The Father is heavy in many ways and may be my favorite track on Purge. Godflesh gets ally doomy on us with a killer riff on Mythology Of Self and I am here for a full doom record from the band. A Godflesh album would not eel complete without a song like the closer, the eight minute you Are The Judge The Jury And The Executioner, which hypnotically brings you to a super heavy conclusion in more ways than one.

If you are a fan of Godflesh you will have zero complaints about Purge. This could even be an entry point for new fans. 2023 is the year of amazing late career albums with Godflesh putting their hat in the ring for sure. Purge will be somewhere on my and many other end of the year lists and for really good reason. Get ready to smash and dance simultaneously to the unique and always awesome Godflesh. 8/10

Diceratops - New Life Comes From Fallen Bones (Self Released) [Joe Guatieri]

Going into the new Dicertops album blind, I was expecting 1980s Glam Metal based on the dinosaur cover. It very much gave me the vibe of a bygone era, however within the first two tracks, the production didn’t have the power and punch that I was seeking. The guitars and vocals felt all-encompassing in comparison to everything else that was going on. This didn’t sit well with me at first as I thought that I wouldn’t enjoy this project. It wasn't until the 3rd track where those expectations were smashed and I felt like there was a big bump up in quality.

Beginning in a low-key fashion, Ruins End’s acoustic-like introduction drew me in before punching me in the gut with its speed and aggression. The slower sections are my favorite moments, always keeping things interesting rhythmically. Little flurries from the bass and snare hits make me want to listen to the song again and again, making sure that I didn’t miss anything.

Therefore, I enjoyed the bass playing the most on New Life Comes From Fallen Bones. Such a dark and brooding tone, it felt like hell compared to the guitar's heavenly bright presentation. The speed varies, going from somber and patient leading up to great payoffs, where the fretboards burn with a passion during the solos.

The drums are reliable, keeping the rhythm section tight and in sync, never getting in the way of the overall sound - a workhorse. Unfortunately, the vocals are stylistically inconsistent, nailing some songs but lacking in others. Overall, it remains very much within the classic Metal genre, yet to find their individual sound but working from a good formula.

A solid effort by a band that clearly has a lot of potential. 7/10

Rénovations – Blank (Self Released) [Matt Bladen]

For fans of Bastette, Garbage, Skunk Anansie and Blondie (according to their PR), Rénovations are an electro rock band from Edinburgh, they have been featured on numerous radio shows and website and look set to show their alternative, radio rock to a wider audience on this second album. The trio of Charlotte Pulcino (vocal/bass) Ioana Pavel (guitar) and Gian Sudar (drums/synths) don’t hang around when writing as they only formed in 2019 but have released an EP and an album since then with Blank being their second studio effort. Blank is jangly, alt rock inspired by the Lollapalooza scene of the 90’s. 

Tracks such as Yell, Time Is A Common Problem, Rinse And Wring and Bed Is In The Bathroom all have odd rhythms, quiet/loud shifts and vocals that are often sneered. Then it all goes Pete Tong (or even Trent Reznor), in that the EDM, jungle Ibiza and industrial synths encroach on the latter part of the record, starting with Scars, then getting more pronounced on the breakbeat of Larguée, the synthwave of Forest as, Grind Mentality has the insistent repetition of NIN or KLF, while Repetitions takes from Technotronic, Euphoria is deep house and the final track Sphere has the DnB of Prodigy. It’s a huge shift in genre halfway through the record that threw me off. They don’t do either style badly, though the vocals need a bit of time, it’s just the huge clash between the two makes it uneven to listen to. 6/10

Snake Healer - Oblatio (Wormholedeath Records) [James Jackson]

I’ve been sucked in by atmospheric intros before, as the instrumental track Sertenpis Dominus opens it has it all, brooding elements, an echo of a gong rings through a repetitive, hypnotic drum pattern; I’ve images of cloaked figures in the dark, illuminated only by the black candles they carry. What follows is Evocation, a fuzzy sound to it’s guitar work, it’s dark and doom ridden and then the vocals, oh dear the vocals.. I’ve often found songs that I’ve liked instrumentally ruined by a vocal style that seems out of place and that’s kind of what’s going on here, there’s a wail amidst a background chorus of more melancholy, growled voices, it all just feels wrong. 

Any hope is lost from here on in, moving on to In His Name, a title that conjures demonic elements is as sludgy and dark as it’s predecessor, the vocals are somewhat more subtle than previously and almost, almost bearable. I’m bundling tracks 4 & 6 together as one skippable exercise in how to lose any interest a listener may have. A total 4 minutes of talking that would’ve been fine, had you been watching an Evil Dead movie but here it’s just wasted airtime. So, final song - the title track of this album, Oblatio

Lyrically it’s similar to Ghost, devil worship for entertainment purposes only, musically it’s probably the weakest track going and that’s not saying much when there are only 3 traditional songs on the album. Again it’s Doom inspired and yet again those vocals are quite the turn off, personally a different approach to the vocals could make this a completely different experience, something more in style with the genre, that’s not to say every Doom band has to sound like Nick Holmes or Aaron Stainthorpe of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride respectively but you do come to expect certain traits within genres and bucking them isn’t always a good thing. 4/10

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