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Godhunter: City of Dust

I want to begin by saying a couple of things about T. S. Eliot's poem "The Waste Land." Don't worry, I won't say much about it; this isn't the time or the place for much literary analysis. Nevertheless, there's an important connection here to Godhunter, one worth exploring, however briefly. Eliot's poem refers several times to what he calls an "unreal city," a place that's lost touch with reality, has been completely destroyed, and is incapable of any new growth. As I listened to this album, (and read the detailed—and footnoted!—lyrics and liner notes) I realized that this band sees certain cities, politicians, and conditions in Arizona as "unreal;" that places, peoples, and circumstances there are so steeped in political ideologies that they've lost touch with what's really important. Is this an angry album? Yes, but it's also a good one, provocative and compelling both politically and musically. Fans of hardcore will enjoy this one.

I've already mentioned the footnotes liner notes and lyrics. I suppose I shouldn't care about them so much, but I found them to be a rich reference to books and articles. I was especially interested in the recorded segment from Chris Hedges, whose book War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning also furnished the epigraph to the film The Hurt Locker. Hedges's sentence, "The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addition, for war is a drug," is both true and powerful, a reminder that warfare is often more than a conflict between right and wrong.

I was also impressed, not surprisingly, with the way this band name checks H. P. Lovecraft, one of my favorite authors. The song "Rats in the Walls" takes its cue from Lovecraft's story of the same name. Unlike the story, though, the band uses the title as a metaphor for the trouble brewing beneath the surface, the energies that are ready and waiting to burst forth. I won't go on much more about this. Needless to say, I found the lyrics to be a provocative and insightful read. I wish more albums provided footnotes, links to points of inspiration, conflict, and creativity.

What about the music? Sludgecore at its finest. From start to finish, the album delivers a measured and powerful groove, one that conveys the lyrical ideas well enough. Better still, this is angry music that doesn't resort to shouting, threatening, and screaming. Yes, I know, the vocals are scratchy and gravelly. I also know that the backing vocals are often chants of rage. Still, the problems dealt with here come through in that special headbanging space where the fans not only get the groove, but also resonate with the theme. This isn't the crappy rage of some metalcore bands, the kind where anger is a frown, a scream, and a bad attitude. Instead, this band channels its ideas with a genuine, passionate, concern. Better still, this is just good sludgecore. Fans of this style should definitely discover this band. If the lyrics stir up political feelings and get people thinking and reading, so much the better.

Track Listing:
1. Despite All
2. Rats in the Walls
3. Brushfires
4. Snake Oil Dealer
5. Shooting Down the Sun
6. Palace of Thorn
7. City of Dust
8. Plague Window

Added: March 5th 2014
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1799
Language: english

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