Sunday, August 9, 2009
God - Possession
Before Ice, Techno Animal, Isolationism and The Bug, there was GOD. Check out that line-up.
"Some songs here have titles like "Lord, I'm on My Way" and "Love," but anyone expecting something close to Spiritualized might well run away screaming. God's first full studio album, recorded with the help of such similarly minded souls as Sweet Tooth drummer Scott Kiehl and Russell Smith, sometime guitarist with Terminal Cheesecake and Skullflower, found the band firmly established in its aggro-jazz ways. The influence of both early-'70s Miles Davis and later exponents of free-form playing is clear, helped along even further by the appearance of John Zorn on three tracks. Martin's own squalling sax work finds plenty of room to go nuts in, evil drones and edgy roars an integral part of the compositions, matched just as closely by his shouted, heavily treated singing style. That gives an indication about an equal forebear, Black Sabbath and trudging doom metal -- Possession first and foremost is heavy, crushing all before it in a slow, steady fashion (a notable exception being the faster but still virulent "Hate Meditation"). Broadrick's participation alone might confirm that much to an outside listener, but instead of the focused obsession of Godflesh, God hit the groove a touch more loosely, thanks to Kiehl and fellow drummer Lou Ciccotelli's work in place of a drum machine. Check their starting beats (accentuated a bit by samples from Martin) on "Return to Hell," a sign they know how to swing in their own way. For all the feedback, the guitars aren't the most prominent instrument, Broadrick slotting alongside the various horn players (including sax/clarinet player Tim Hodgkinson and sax/didgeridoo performer Steve Blake) and bassists in the thick morass of the songs. Kudos as well to pianist Peter Kraut, who adds some good parts to songs like "Soul Fire." There are some quieter, spare moments, notably the church-bell sample start of "Black Jesus" -- otherwise, it's a full ensemble approach that won't surprise anyone who loves On the Corner." - Ned Raggett