In the summer of 2008, my friends and I used to sit around a bonfire every single night, get all hazy, and work on a book we were writing, entitled Bojang’s Inferno. The book was written one word at a time, working our way around the circle, and each word had to begin with the last letter of the previous word. We referred to ourselves as the Princeton Boner Review, and there would typically be 8-12 of us on a given night. Eventually, what started as a stupid stoner game became, and I’m not exaggerating, the driving force of our summer lives. As the universe of Bojang, his nemesis Lotar, the conflicted antihero Sintar, and a vast array of other characters expanded and deepened, so did our dedication to the story we were creating. Debates rage to this very day as to the true loyalties of Sintar, the victor in the ongoing rivalry between Ghost Tree and Gallant Tree, and the existence of Dumbledore clones including but limited to Tumbledore, Bumbledore, Fumbledore, and Mumbledore. I could go on and on, but the point I’m getting to is that what we created that summer has been so deeply ingrained into our imaginations, that upon receiving a copy of Godmaker’s debut LP, a certain passage from Chapter 9 was instantly evoked:
All left-handed drawings succumb Bo-Jang’s secret treasure.
Dumbledore evaded diligently yesterday, yodeling grandly “Yesterday you underwent terrible exits!”
Shrewd demons survived dark knights slaying gnomes, slaying grapes.
I’m making God.
Through harmonious saltlands scouted dragons, soaring graciously, yelling “Ghost Tree.”
When nine eagles see eleven nintendos stifling gratuity year round.
Will Lotar remember real lifted?
Lotar real lifted.
So. For whatever that’s worth. Moving on.
I typically try to avoid hyperbole in my reviews, unless I’m being ironic. And in that case, I guess I use ironic hyperbole all the time. But this time I’m going to come right out and say it, and I’m going to say it in earnest: this is a thunder fucking jaw dropper of an album.
The self-titled debut from half Brooklynite, half Kansasian metal outfit Godmaker is, to put things short, sludge metal done absolutely right. And maybe that’s not saying all that much, or at least doesn’t mean all that much at face value, because sludge is a hard thing to pin down. So, in cases like this, it’s often best to take the ostensive approach. Because if someone asked me to tell them exactly what sludge metal is, well I could do a heck of a lot worse than having them listen to the first two minutes of this album’s kickoff track, “Megalith”. In a very concise manner we see how sludge managed to take all the best from punk, doom, and extreme metal to make something entirely its own. We also see what a stunning impact this combination has when executed correctly. “Megalith” wastes no time in letting us know that Godmaker is out to pummel sans relent. Whether it’s rapid fire thrash or lumbering swamp groove (and boy, can they switch from one to the other seamlessly), Godmaker’s weapon of choice at a given moment is exactly that: a weapon, whose purpose is to assault. If you’re looking for pussyfooting, eat shit; this album doesn’t let up.
The second track, “Shallow Points”, makes it clear that even when these guys choose to slow things down a bit, it is at no expense of aggression. The song crawls, but it pounds, and hard. And despite its pace, it manages to maintain continuous tension through a rhythmic precision that falls like softball-sized hailstones before finally erupting into a chaotic climax.
By the time we get to the album’s final track we have been so beaten down by riff after riff of demon ooze that we can barely stand, but does Godmaker care? Do they sympathize with your weak knees? Ha! They bite their thumbs at you! They say, “oh I’m sorry, have you grown weary? Do you tire of this pummeling?” And then they laugh. And then they rip into one of those album closers that I absolutely LIVE FOR. You know the one I’m talking about, the one that goes on for 12 minutes, the one that keeps pretending to end, and you say, “oh, is it finally over?” And they say, “NOPE! It’s not over, here’s another morsel of armageddon fresh from Beelzebub’s unholy pizza oven!”
It’s albums like this that make me realize I’m lousy at reviewing albums. Because writing reviews is only so much fun, and trying to analyze every little note, or every lyric, trying to put awesome music into stupid words, is definitely not fun. When I hear an album like this I really just want to slap you in the head and make you listen to it. That’s right, I wish you were here. RIGHT HERE. With me. Together. So I could see the look on your dumb face when Godmaker shoots a cannon full of gravel-ridden lava at it.
BOOM! Yeahhhhhh. Feels good, don’t it?