Vultures, God Damn’s debut album was simply the album of 2015 for me. This hard rock duo had me hooked immediately and I spent most of the year attending as many live shows as possible and chasing up their back catalogue. So you can only imagine my excitement when Everything Ever landed in my inbox! Produced by Ross Orton (The Fall, Drenge, Tricky) and set to be released by One Little Indian Records (Bjork, Skunk Anansie) on September 23rd with a special launch night at London’s Boston Music Room, I couldn’t wait to take a listen.
Having already been treated to early releases of “Dead to Me”, “Fake Prisons” and “Ghosts”, exquisitely described by NME as “louder than Black Sabbath having a screaming row with Nirvana”, I knew what was coming was going to be mighty special. First play through and I realise I’m sat; mouth wide open, hitting replay again and again (which, coincidentally, is the title of track three). Okay, time to take some notes. I look down at my notepad and it’s awash with expletives and zig zags. I think it’s fair to say I’m suitably impressed!
From start to finish, this thirteen track album is like attending a live show. Their immense generation of sound has you slammed right against the wall with Thom Edward’s savage vocals and Ash Weaver’s distinct, ferocious drumming. It’s a grunge filled fest of fleshy riffs that punch you right in the gut, but with a definitely more poppy feel that makes it such an addictive ear-pleaser. Speaking to Thom he said:
Vultures served a purpose, we vented our spleens, it was a weird dark time for the band. We wanted to bring the party back, it’s the partiest record we’re gonna make. It’s got a lot more liveliness to it. I think poppy is one word but I think it’s more direct, concise and fun.
This will surely give them the airplay they so rightly deserve and seems to be doing the trick already. “Sing This” has already been Radio One’s Rock Show’s host Daniel P Carter’s “Rockiest Record” and is a belter of a track, providing a perfect opener for the album and had me singing along to it, long after the album had finished.
Powering through track after track, the guys continue to deliver an incredible, tightly produced album without losing any of their rawness. As each track builds, I feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. A few of the tracks really highlight Thom’s versatile, melodic vocals, such as “Oh No”, “Failure” and “Violence” and I’m struggling to pick out any firm favourites because they all are worthy. Speaking to Thom he says:
I’m trying to sing more nowadays, I’m not trying to phase the scream out, I’ll always scream, in fact I wanna make an out and out hardcore record at some point. But I’ve made sure the record has some real screamers on there balanced out with some pop songs.
In glorious contrast to these, harder tracks such as “Again and Again” and “It Bites” are buried in Ash’s brutal drumming and Thom’s characteristic gnarly bawl as he barely comes up for air and I’m already visualising these live. Thom says about the recording process:
It wasn’t recorded live but it was a lot more stripped down than Vultures. The drums are more raw, it’s less produced in some ways but more so in other ways than Vultures. It’s quite toney, quite a muddy sounding record but I don’t see that as a bad thing; its a good thing, in as much my favourite sounding records are the most raggedy sounding, I like that character with a record.
The keyboards on “Fake Prisons” bring a whole new depth to the music and the build at the end is breath-taking. “Six Wires” has a real punk feel, anger and frustration expelled through Thom’s guttural sound. In relation to the lyrics on this track Thom says:
The breaking down of stacks is a reference to Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child”, where Jimi talks about breaking down a mountain with the back of his hand, I’m talking about breaking down stacks, and I guess what I mean by stacks is they’re kind of like a build up of emotion.
Another stand out track is “Let’s Speak” which is a fuzz-filled wall of noise with dark undertones and as the track builds, I feel my heart pounding yet again. There is not a single weak link on this album! “I’ll Bury You” and album closer “Easily Misbled” are simply sublime hard rock ballads. And as I go to hit replay again, I get a message saying I have reached my maximum number of plays which says it all really! A perfect mix of sing-along hard rock, riff-filled melodies, frantic screaming and frenzied drumming, Everything Ever is standing out to be one of the albums of the year for me. You cannot fail to ignore just how good these songs are. It’s most definitely not Vultures part two, but it’s everything God Damn, ever!