Posts Tagged ‘Godhunter’

I’m fitting in a bit less here than my previous black metal list, simply because there hasn’t been as many great doom records (that I’ve heard this year at least) in 2014 as I’d hoped. I write a bit for Sleeping Shaman and my choices for reviews have been a bit uninspiring in the past few months. No fault of Lee who runs it, but it just seems that the whole doom/stoner scene is spinning its wheels in the sand and not going anywhere. However, there have been some seriously good records in the genre so I managed a list:

10: Grand Magus – Triumph and Power: These guys never fail to write a brilliant doom record, every time. They have riffs hewn from stone and anthems of steel and blood. Wonderful

9. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun: A stunning comeback from the somewhat lackluster ‘The Hunter’, Mastodon have written yet another prog-doom-rock masterpiece. As anthemic and complex as anything they’ve written before

8. EyeHateGod – EyeHateGod: I shouldn’t have to explain this, so I won’t. Sludge gods do it again

7. Electric Wizard – Time to Die: Less immediate than ‘Black Masses’ but every bit as malevolent and grindingly heavy. Brilliant

6. Inter Arma – The Cavern: I called this the new Mastodon when I reviewed it earlier in the year and I stand by it. Twisting, heavy and beautiful

5. Kuolemanlaakso – Tulijoutsen: Finnish death/doom majesty from the voice of Swallow the Sun. Stunningly heavy

4. Pallbearer – Foundation of Burden: Achingly heavy and poignant, a true heir to Cathedral’s throne

3. Nux Vomica – Nux Vomica: A draining, Cult of Luna meets Discharge monster of sludge, doom and crust punk violence. Monstrous

2. Boris – Noise: Not technically doom on this release, but my favourite shape shifting Japanese band have pulled out another classic album

1. Mount Salem – Endless: I called this months ago, and I’m still right: ‘Endless’ is still my favourite doom record of the year. It mixes classic Pentagram riffs with the powerful, mournful voice of Emily Koplin to staggering effect. I’ve listened to this I don’t know how many times this year, and I’m still not sick of it!

Special mention go to Pilgrim’s ‘II: Void Worship’, Ides of Gemini ‘Old World/New Wave’ and Godhunter’s ‘City of Dust’. You guys were close but not quite. I recommend you check out everything here, as they are all awesome!

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This interview was originally posted here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/interviews/g-q/godhunter-sandy-interviews-guitarist-jake-brazelton/

Godhunter are Arizona’s scorched answer to sludge. A dark, malevolent beast that mixes equal parts raw hardcore with slow, lurching doom riffs to create a new sound in the dank world of sludge. Their new record, ‘City of Dust’, looks like it may become a sleeper hit of 2014, and is already receiving great reviews. I got the chance to ask guitarist Jake Brazelton about their new record, playing with heroes and surviving the suffocating heat of their home state…

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions guys. You formed in 2008, and released your first EP ‘Wolves’ in 2011. How did the band come together and was that three year gap between forming and releasing material an intentional decision? 

We actually started in 2009. A few members of the original lineup were playing together in a different band in 2008, but Godhunter wasn’t born yet. It was really just an idea at that point. Our first EP, a split EP with Methra, actually came out in 2010. We followed that up with Wolves in 2011, then a couple more splits in 2012 and 2013, all leading up to City Of Dust being released in 2014. We try to have new material out pretty constantly. Like the Melvins said, people never forget about you if you keep releasing music.

Your first EP ‘Wolves’ is a much more straightforward beast than your newest record. Is ‘City of Dust’ the culmination of how you wanted your band to sound, or do you feel that you’re still evolving as a unit?

As long as this band is together, it will constantly be evolving. We have no desire to stay locked into one scene or genre. I know it may sound a bit clichéd, but we are constantly exploring new sounds, new bands, new ideas. This band thrives on making music that is new and interesting to us, and we feel that if we find the music interesting, then hopefully everyone else will as well.

Onto ‘City of Dust’, I was fortunate enough to review it for the site, and I found it a refreshing mix of sludge and hardcore. Who are your main musical influences, and where do your lyrical inspirations come from?

We pull musical influences from all over the place; Baroness, ASG, Goatsnake, Black Flag, Eyehategod and tons of other bands. The best way to keep your sound evolving and progressing as a musician is to listen to a shit-ton of different bands and keep pushing yourself to be better. Also weed. Weed is our biggest musical influence. Lyrically we pull from outrage. The complacency of the masses, the incompetence of the government, and basically everything that pisses us off gets channeled into our lyrics.

I noticed on your Facebook page that you’ve toured a lot with EyeHateGod recently. Being the hugely influential band they are in this style of music, was this a dream support slot for you? Are there any other bands out there you’d like to support?

We would have loved to do a tour with Eyehategod, but it was only one show up in Phoenix. They are one of our favorite bands though, so it was a pretty amazing experience. We do have a few bands that we’d love to play with, like Mastodon, Converge, Rwake or Baroness, just because they are also very influential on us.

Arizona strikes me as unusual as a location for a band that plays a style of metal much more associated with the swampy, humid Deep South. Does coming from Tucson present you with any unique influences for your sound? Is there a vibrant sludge and doom scene there? Are there any bands that we should keep an eye out for?

Dude it’s the fucking sun. In place of hot and humid we just have fucking hot. Having to endure 5 months of temperatures over 100 degrees makes a person pretty upset. You just have to channel that into making angry music. I wouldn’t call it a vibrant scene for sludge/doom bands but there are some rad fucking bands out here in the wild west. Bands like Lethal Dosage, North, Territory, Sex Prisoner, Sorrower, Seas Will Rise, and Cave Dweller are all fantastic bands.

How was the writing and recording process for City of Dust? Did you experience any problems?

The writing process was great. Each member of the band brought ideas to the table and we worked them out as a group. We tried to push ourselves at all points. Constantly writing new shit and re-writing other parts to fit together better. It was a constant struggle to not write 10+ minute long songs. Recording is always a bit of a struggle; everything from scheduling to gear problems. But since we recorded with Ryan Butler at Arcane Digital Recording everything came together. Butler is really good at his job and made everything way easier and less stressful.

As 2013 has just finished, the internet has filled up with endless lists of best records from 2013. What were your favourite records of last year, and what are you most looking forward to from 2014?

Each member of the band will have a different top ten list so I will just list a couple records I know we all dug. Ultraviolet-Kylesa, Soma-Windhand, MCTTG-Subrosa, Mind Control-Uncle Acid & The Deabeats. Our favorite album would have to be Blood Drive from ASG. In 2014 we are pumped for the new Truckfighters, Agalloch and Mastodon among others.

What has been the most important event musically for your band since you started?

I doubt we can pick just one event but we can pick two. One was when we got to play with Eyehategod in Phoenix and the other was when we got to play with Clutch in Tucson. Playing a show with one of your favorite bands is always a dream come true.

For me, the track ‘Shooting Down the Sun’ from your new record is a standout. It feels like a dark country ballad. As it is vastly differently from the majority of the album, was this a conscious decision? Do you have an acoustic or country influence?

We do enjoy quite a few bands of that nature. Some guys in the band really like old country like Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams, some of the guys like newer bands like Amigo The Devil or Chelsea Wolfe. We’re also pretty big fans of music like Roky Erickson and 13th Floor Elevators, so making a grandiose dark country tune just seemed to fit for us. We’re not a band that likes to be pigeonholed into one sound. If there is an influence that we enjoy, it’ll probably turn up on the album at some point.

‘Snake Oil Dealer’ was also a favourite track of mine from City of Dust. Do you guys have a favourite Godhunter track, and are there any that are better to play live than others?

Every single time we get a new song ready to go it becomes our favorite song to play. The newer the track is, the better it is to play live.

You seem to be touring a lot, how are the live crowds responding? Is the live experience of Godhunter essential to understanding the band and do you feel your music and lyrics translate well to the live stage?

 People seem to dig it so far. Getting people out of the fucking smoking section and in front of the stage is hard to accomplish but somehow we seem to do it. Most of the time anyway. So we are a live band, first and foremost. We write music and lyrics with the stage in mind, not the studio. If you can’t get it done live no one is going to care about your band. In the age of stealing everyone’s album off of the internet and cell phone videos of bands playing on youtube you have to be good live in order to entice people to show up. In order to really understand the band you should see us live. Fuck YouTube videos.

This review was originally published on The Sleeping Shaman here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/reviews/album-reviews/g/godhunter-city-of-dust-cd-lp-dd-2014/ and I’m also hopefully going to be interviewing them in the near future too. A band that I have thoroughly enjoyed discovering.

Godhunter are from Tucson, Arizona, yet the scorching sunshine of their home state seems to have left little trace on their dark, dense, sludgy outpourings. Their debut LP, ‘City Of Dust’ has an overpowering sense of groove. There’s the unmistakable sludge doom fingerprints over Weedeater or EyeHateGod in their DNA, but they lack the former’s zoned out weed influence or the latter’s nihilistic, drug addled hatred. What Godhunter do have in spades is riffs.

Riffs in metal are sometimes overused or underutilised. The key to a good riff is being memorable and heavy as fuck, generally. Opening salvo ‘Despite All’ is a good example of this, a solid scorched earth riff that rumbles along, steamrolling anything in its track. There’s almost a sense of desert rock about its structure. Add forty layers of fuzz and it could be a Kyuss riff. This is good, as it adds an identity to what could have become just another heavy doom/sludge outfit. There are also touches of Black Flag in there too, vocally. ‘Rats In The Walls’ is a slow burner, a rumbling menacing track that brings to mind Neurosis but with a bit more melody. The track sways and groans under the heaviness of the riffing. ‘Brushfires’ is another monstrous riff workout, in the style of Electric Wizard.

There’s an eclectic mix of prime sludge riffs with a hardcore edge and vocal delivery. I hate to call it ‘sludgecore’ but I guess that’s what it is. The influence of ‘My War’ era Black Flag is evident, but so is the nihilistic groove of sludge behemoths like EyeHateGod or 16. My favourite track has to be the sludge blues of ‘Snake Oil Dealer’. It has it all, the riffs, the cleaner intro, the tortured howl of vocalist Charlie Tousell. Before three minutes of it is over, the riff drops out into crashing waves of heavy. For a place so far away from the spiritual home of sludge, ‘Snake Oil Dealer’ has pure NOLA written all over it.

The album continues with such weight, it’s impossible not to be impressed. From the crushing and instantly catchy ‘Palace Of Thorn’ to the closing monolith ‘Plague Widow’, the album displays a startling maturity. ‘Shooting Down The Sun’ could be the darkest country song ever written, and even though it appears very different from the tracks around it, it fits seamlessly in with the overall feel of the record. There’s a haunting nakedness to it, a stripping bare of a band that up to this point has been caked in muddy riffs. But then the vulnerability is gone, swallowed back within gang vocals and tar thick riffs. But it was there, like a ray of light through the black, itching for the moment when it can be released again. My instinct suggests that they should embrace that.

City Of Dust’ is a record by a band coming into their own. It possesses a much more assured sense of identity than their ‘Wolves’ EP, while retaining that release’s sense of groove. Godhunter could become something very special one day, and this is only the beginning.

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