What is it to be a “god hunter?” As a child, growing up in a heavily religious town, with a religion I didn’t understand, “god hunting” was a real thing. What was it that my friends believed in that I couldn’t see or comprehend? I tried my hardest to fathom their love for a deity I never saw, never felt, and never loved. And, when my understanding became futile, so became their desire to remain my friend. As they disappeared beyond the shadow between “blessed” and “unblessed,” my hate and frustration began to grow. My level of god hunting turned to one of vengeance. Searching for a god to question, a god to yell at, a god to hate. I wasn’t out to recover my lost friendships. Instead, I wanted to know why I lost them in the first place. It’s been a long time since that happened, but every time I hear my Arizona-native Godhunter, those memories come flooding back. What kind of “god hunter” is Godhunter? One out in search of truth, peace, and reasoning? Or are they on a hunt for revenge; fed up with the silence that returns their prayers or the global devastations no mortal man seems capable of preventing? Godhunter are many things and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were both.
Since the release of their 2014 debut, City of Dust, Godhunter have changed quite a bit. For one, they seem comfortable in the world of EPs, splits, and collaborations. Following their debut release, they unveiled two tracks that might still be their darkest to date. GH/OST:S was a small split with Secrets of the Sky, that led to the larger 2015 Godhunter vs. Destroyer of Light: Endsville. The five Godhunter tracks on Endsville are, alone, worth its purchase. Here they explored every facet of their sound from 2011’s Wolves to the 2015 Amigo the Devil collaboration, The Outer Dark. But now, with only founder vocalist/guitarist David Rodgers to man the ship, he recruited talent from all over the metal (CHRCH, Methra, Mountaineer, Demon Lung, Secrets of the Sky) and non-metal (Thorne) sides of the globe to help him create his darkest record yet.
And so “A Dread of Some Strange Impending Doom” gets Codex Narco off the ground. It poisons your drink, kills your mood, and prepares you for the pain ahead. With doomy atmospheres and booming vocals in its backdrop, this track leads us into one of the few full-length songs on the album. Of the three “real” songs, “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails” is the meanest. As the cleans navigate the dark clouds reminiscent of the cold Woods of Ypres storms, sharp barks spew hate like a rabid nail gun. Sometimes bouncing off one another, the conclusion of the song finds these two vocal styles dueling it out in the nastiest kind of way; all the while, dragging the instrumentation in submissive tow.
After a short, droning instrumental, set to the pace of Sunn O))), we arrive at “Cocaine Witches & Lysergic Dreams”—another of the “real” songs on the album. “Cocaine Witches,” as well as “Walking with a Ghost,” is more “upbeat” than “Like Glass Under Black Fingernails.” The doom and sludge remain, but the catchiness is hard to ignore. “Cocaine Witches” and “Walking with a Ghost” incorporate trotting vocal lines as addictive and effective as anything written by Dax Riggs. They have that accessible delivery and groove, but with a sludgy, hopeless vibe that feels as right as it is heartbreaking.
As “Walking with a Ghost” comes to an end, we fall headlong into the dark conclusion of “Distant Fading Screams of a Dying World.” With a title like that, I bet you can guess what it sounds like. While the opener uses screams and feedback to build up the album, this one lets it all out—leaving you in a state of utter mental devastation. Though most of the album works, this little EP is difficult to fully grasp. Jostling one between pointless interludes (“Out Blood Is Poison” and “Unarmed Combat”) and well-crafted songs makes for a bumpy road. But, between the EP’s cause and its handful of decent tracks, there might be a happy ending, after all. As suggested by the pink album cover, all the proceeds of this little collaboration go to support Planned Parenthood. So, if you’re a supporter of the band, its cause, or both, be sure you pick this one up.