Gods Among Men – Self/Titled (CD)

Gods Among Men – Self/Titled

Gods Among Men – Self/Titled / 2004 Sardonic Sounds / 7 Tracks / http://www.godsamongmen.net/ flophaus@hotmail.com / Reviewed 04 April 2005

Two distinct paths are laid out for the listener during Gods Among Men’s first track on their self-titled disc, “Third Language”. Ruth’s smoother version of vocals provide support to the viola, an element that would seem wholly out of place alongside brash drumming and rough and tumble guitar licks. What seems to be a minor issue during the first tracks of this disc would be the different “movements” of “Third Language”, a section of the track that seems doubly inappropriate due to its differing sound from the first movement and also from the existence of shorter tracks throughout the rest of the disc (with “Heat Exchanger” being the only real exception to that rule). However, middling structural issues aside, “Vastness”, a largely instrumental track (with vocals used in an instrumental sense) is a perfect cleanser for the palate, bringing listeners in as fresh and clean as a summer’s douche.

The continued heavy edge of Gods Among Men, whether it be in the lead-ups to the utterly brutal breakdowns laid on tracks like “Heat Exchange” or the hauntingly beautiful viola lines (committed to disc by Justin) is something that is never compromised throughout the entirety of the disc. Where not emotionally affecting their listeners, the differing time signatures achieved by Justin’s drumming (and spreading throughout all facets of the track) provide yet another reason to pick this album up. This is the case during “The Positivist” which has as its focus not the vocals laid down by Ruth but rather the nuanced and impressive instrumentation, led by Justin’s skin virtuosity. Still, the band’s other members do not rest on their laurels throughout the entirety of this disc, with Ruth’s bass lines contributing in a major way, even dictating the ebb and flow of the track during “Best Tits in Issaquah”. “Best Tits” may not be one of Gods Among Men’s harder track, but the Tool-like bass lines and double-bass allow for a fury to boil underneath the operatic vocals of Ruth.

While Gods Among Men play a style of music that is just awash with corporate shills and no-talent hacks, they (almost) single-handedly redeem hard rock by infusing theatrics and hardcore-like specificity and technicality to the form. This does not mean that every listener will like the style of music that the band plays, but any listener that knows the first thing about music will give respect to Gods Among Men due to this devotion to putting solid music on disc.

Top Track: The Swallows

Rating: 6.7/10

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