Godhunter is a doom/sludge/hardcore style band from Tucson, Arizona and “City of Dust” is their debut album. I mention doom because some of the riffage on the album seems like it qualifies, but for the most part “City of Dust” comes across like sludge metal music with hardcore-style vocals.
I saw Godhunter in a list of album promos and, I hate to admit, I was drawn to all the red color on the album cover; it stood out among all the much darker covers I’d been poring through. The name Godhunter sounded kind of cool too, so I decided to give it a listen.
It takes a very special kind of sludge metal to really draw me in. There is a lot of mediocre sludge that simply tunes down deep and plays boring, droning riffs while some dude screams like he is being tortured. So, while I didn’t have high hopes going into the album, I decided to give it a listen.
(I know I often come across as very negative going into reviews for bands I haven’t heard before. This is because as a reviewer, 90% of the music that I hear submitted for review is mediocre at best, and after a while I’ve just come to expect that if I am not familiar with something already, it is probably for a good reason. While it is unfortunate to have become so trained to expect the worst, on the upside, it makes me even more excited when I find something good among all the bland.)
From the very first few seconds of the first song it was apparent that there was going to be some leftward-leaning lyrics on the album. I have very few firmly-held political beliefs (I find both sides detestable at various times) so I normally just prefer to leave politics out of music. But I can’t really complain; metal is often about championing causes and expressing rage against things we dislike, so it really just comes with the territory.
So the first song kicks into gear after a brief sound bite, and I’m listening thinking, “Ok, this might be interesting. I’ll probably just turn it off after the next song, but I’ll listen for now.” And so it went for the next few songs. “This is cool too, but I’ll probably just turn it off after the next song.” (“Good night, Wesley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”) But I never did turn it off.
I thought I knew pretty much where this album was headed until I got to the track, “Shoot Down the Sun.” Much like Acid Bath did with “Dead Girl” at the end of “Paegan Terrorism Tactics”, Godhunter changes gears completely on “Shoot Down the Sun” and goes acoustic with clean-ish vocals. The song itself is pretty cool, and also works well as being a nice mid-album palate cleanser.
The super-heavy monster riffs combined with the gruff hardcore style vocals all wrapped up in a very tight and clean production ultimately won me over here. I’m a bit of a neat-freak when it comes to production, and when you can give me this kind of controlled chaos where things get really crazy heavy, yet shit isn’t leaking out the sides and muddying up the mix, I tend to be very happy.
I know sometimes I can meander all over the road talking about the things I like and the things I do not, so let me sum up by being crystal clear: I am very much digging Godhunter and “City of Dust.” Like sludge? Then check these guys out. Here’s the track “Brushfires” to give you a taste.