Megatherium – God Review

Megatherium - God 01There is one reason and one reason alone why I’m reviewing this album. It’s not the passable art, or the generally nice but fairly uneven roster of sludge and sludge-adjacent bands Argonauta Records have built up. It’s the handle, because Megatherium has to be one of the coolest band names I’ve ever laid eyes on. I’m no linguistics expert, but everything with the suffix “mega” becomes instantly 50% cooler and 40% more metal. As for its meaning, apparently Megatherium’s a genus of elephant-sized prehistoric sloths, and that just makes it even cooler. Not only does it sound like an absolutely killer Pokémon, it would be one so massive and imposing it would make your shitty Meowth shit its pants, if it were wearing any. So does the band live up to the hype I built around its moniker?

No, it doesn’t. Not at all. In fact, I’d go so far as to say Megatherium does not deserve a moniker as cool as Megatherium. What we have here is a slab of Mastodon-core without the energy or inventiveness. Not your typical example of Italian metal, often known for its incessant theatricality, God walks a strange dichotomy between stately striding riffs and an energy level that’s largely subdued. Rather than the churning oceans of Leviathan, these riffs are more like steady, unending ripples on a lake, the tempo consistently mid-paced or lower. The guitar tone is rather polished, with some heft but not much teeth. The drums are steady and free of superficial flourish. And, damningly, this description applies to every single one of God’s 49 minutes of music.

The thing is, on a superficial level, it’s not actually bad at all. The riffs get your head bobbing, the vocals have decent body and tone. There’s a smoothness here that makes it work very well as background music. With some interludes and changes in tone, the band do attempt to inject a measure of variety, with “The Eye” supplying a Middle Eastern twang here, “The Strength” threading a few beats of hard rock through the verses. The production is pretty clean but mixed well, and the presence of the bass lends a little more depth to the sound. All in all, the texture pack that dresses God is downright pleasant. When your attention is allowed to drift, it’s a pleasant album to have in the background.

Megatherium - God 02But in a way, that’s the exact problem, because it’s hard to praise any album for being so pleasantly, uniquely nondescript. The end result of this cotton ball approach is that despite a dozen or so spins, the only way for me to remember even a single riff is to spin it again. It’s not offensively bad in any way; instead, it’s offensively bland. Aside from the intro and interludes, all the tracks are completely interchangeable. The tempo barely changes at all, the riffs just sound like variations on a theme rather than unique entities upon themselves. Note for note, yes, the songs change and evolve and differ, but the energy they carry does not. It is hard to even say that any particular song is repetitive or bloated, because if you’re not paying attention, you never notice the transitions between them.

Unfortunately, it seems Megatherium left behind the “prehistoric” and “elephant-sized” parts of their namesake and settled for the “sloth” part. It’s slow, but it doesn’t set a mood. Its energy is consistently low and unchanging, but it doesn’t even extend the courtesy of being laid back and relaxing. There’s one simple and easy-to-understand word for everything I have written above, and it’s probably my least favorite word to write in a review, but there is no getting around it in the case of Megatherium’s God. It is, ultimately, boring.

Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Argonauta Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 10th, 2020

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