“Digging a hole big enough to sing this” chants vocalist-guitarist Thom Edward on the opening track of God Damn’s sophomore record ‘Everything Ever’. A valid statement, although it’d best be a crater to accommodate this duo’s gargantuan sound.
The ever-increasing fashion of duos storming the rock and alternative scene has led to a saturation of the respected market. Although, there is much deserved space for God Damn. The Wolverhampton lads released their debut ‘Vultures’ last year. A lo-fi raucous romp, the record brimmed with confidence and energy.
Their follow-up is equally as raucous, yet coated with a thick layer of polish, evident poppy sensibilities and impressive instrumental technique. It’s hard to believe the sound on this record is generated from a duo. For lack of a better word, it’s massive.
In retrospect to their debut, there were frequent glimpses of hardcore and prog, however these influences have been more or less eradicated to supposedly reach a more mainstream market. ‘Everything Ever’ takes tinges of metal, punk and grunge and amalgamates them into tectonic plate-shifting heavy rock grooves. Edward frequently tunes down his guitar to obtain those darker sounds, as evidenced with his description of ‘Sing This’ – “a pop banger with death metal tuned guitars”. His interplay with drummer Ash Weaver often sparks the most memorable moments, and there are truly many.
The pace hardly ever lets up throughout the track-listing, it’s consistently fierce. The Drenge-esque ‘Ghost’ pummels the listener with a full-on riff, transitioning into the punky ‘Again Again’ where Edward demonstrates his vocal range with his semi-screams. ‘Fake Prisons’ communicates some of the poppy undertones, as Edward’s blurts of “fake prisons” glide over the dynamic, fret-shredding riff. The pace weens off for a short time with ‘I’ll Bury You’, featuring Edward’s soulful vocals against a distorted grungy refrain. Keyboards create some worthy eerie atmospherics whilst the spacey solo is reminiscent of Absolution-era Muse.
Edward’s impressive guitar technique is channeled through multiple cuts. He never focuses on one particular riff and fretboard area; he consistently navigates his fretboard with brilliant dexterity, resulting in varied, dynamic riffs. The chorus to the ridiculously cool ‘Oh No’ demonstrates his ability to perform a complex guitar line and provide vocals simultaneously. The absolute epitome of the record’s grooves is found within ‘Six Wires’, harbouring a fantastically-toned riff (it rivals Josh Homme’s) that breaks down every four bars with Weaver’s drums.
The duo closes their second record with stripped-back acoustic number ‘Easily Misbled’ which is the sole offering of peace and quiet following the prior riff-fueled onslaught. Time will tell if God Damn’s approach to a more mainstream sound will work for them, yet it’s safe to say they have successfully topped their debut in every way.
Essential tracks: Sing This // I’ll Bury You // Oh No // Six Wires