GOD – IV – Revelation Review

I find it fundamentally wrong that of all the writers at AMG, I’m the one to pick up Christian metal bands for review. There are few writers here as against Christianity as ole Grier. I mean, to each their own and live your bliss and all that, but you know what I’m getting at. Yet, I even picked up Narnia and proved to a handful of you bozos that they’re worth a listen. Well, as long as you’re into that power metal-meets-neoclassical Yngwie Malmsteen sound. Narnia is one thing. Try a band whose name says it all. Try GOD. All bold, all caps, almighty. I can see you looking at the genre tags, expecting words like “gospel” and “power metal.” Instead, you see “prog,” “instrumental,” and “tech-death.” Do you believe in revelations? Well, you’re about to.

As I’ve explored GOD‘s catalog, I’ve discovered the band to be a true enigma. One member, two members, a hundred? American, English, Scandinavian? Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist? All questions I can’t answer. All I know is that IV – Revelation is, well… their fourth full-length album. It’s preceded by I – God, II – Jesus Christ, and III – Holy Spirit. Each is a simply laid-out record of a dozen-ish songs with runtimes ranging from forty-five minutes to over an hour. Song titles read like a supplementary prayer book designed for daily worship. “Faith,” “Love,” “Obey,” “Sin,” and “Salvation” are but a few examples. And, to my surprise, all are quite good.

As the promo material for this year’s release states, these men/women/things have set out on a journey to create a total of thirty-three records before his/her/its death. GOD‘s style of improvisational metal combines tech death with the instrumental qualities of Pelican, the djentiness of Meshuggah, and the old-school prog of While Heaven Wept. Toss in some Dream Theater and Trans-Siberian Orchestra flair and you’ve got it all covered. So it makes sense that the band appears classically trained (as per the posts on their Facebook page), using three different bass guitars and a slew of guitar effects that sound like keys (but aren’t). But that’s not even the half of it.

Now, four albums into their overwhelming quest of thirty-three, IV – Revelation is the band’s largest feat yet. Spanning over two hours, the twenty-two chapters of the Book of Revelation comes to life as twenty-two auditory gifts. The last time I took on a record of this girth was Midnight Odyssey‘s Shards of Silver Fade. And while I wasn’t impressed with that long-winded release, I’m rather impressed with this one. After the eight-minute opener “Revelation,” the album begins a heavy-as-fuck ascension through the back-to-back-to-back-to-back monsters “Lucifer,” Hell,” “Beast,” and “Humanity’s Number – Six Hundred Threescore and Six.” Like any good concept album, these songs feel like the titles given to them. “Hell” is a mind-fucking piece that feels like an exploration of the nine levels of Dante’s masterpiece and “Humanity’s Number” is a sinister fiend of tech-death chuggery.

Yet, as we progress past some more Biblical numbers (“7” and “144,000”), the build that hasn’t let-up since the opener climaxes with “War.” And, goddamn, does “War” sound as it suggests. The first half of this album is a beastly ascension that has your ears pricked to every nook, cranny, and nuance. The suspense builds with each passing track, growing to a mighty crescendo with the eleven-minute “Abyss.” And then the storm passes and the suspense eases off into a gentile, almost-The Ocean-esque conclusion to the song.

 

And, to be honest, this is where I take a break. Like any well-crafted vinyl, there’s always a great place to flip the record. From “Messiah” to album-closer “Amen,” the tone of the record is a touch calmer—introducing acoustic pieces and an air of hope and closure. Though there’s still plenty of heft in songs like “Amen” and “Lake of Fire – The Second Death,” there’re major-key moments in “Messiah,” “Eternity,” “Book of Life,” and “New Heaven, New Earth, New Jerusalem.” The band uses their proggy side more than ever for these final eight tracks of the album, rising and falling to the album’s concept.

While this is a loooong album, don’t write it off just yet. Longer than any album I’d dare say I can listen to on repeat, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing with this. Its combination of helpless and hopeful, sinister and uplifting is addictive. Even if you’ve never read the story on which the album is based, you can feel the life and death struggle within. Though compressed more than I’d care for, the instrumentation and clever tricks in effects and delivery make it worth it six-hundred-threescore-and-six fold. Four albums in and this is GOD‘s best yet.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Self Release
Websites: godelrigna.bandcamp.com1 | facebook.com/godelrigna
Releases Worldwide: July 14th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. Wait until you see the financial surprise awaiting you when you click this link… But, seriously, don’t be a dick. Purchase the album for something.
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