Gods "I See You Through Glass" CD
[Hand of Hope]
Despite the fact that Gods sounds little to nothing like Zao, the band is likely to do well due to its core being formed by founding Zao members Jesse Smith and Rob Horner (Smith actually handles vocals, rhythm guitar, and drums on the entire album). In my opinion this band has the potential to be a pretty solid outfit, performing a melodic sort of modern "alternative metal" (or whatever) take on metalcore, but I'm not totally convinced by this debut outing. Why? Well, there's a definitely sense of quality to it, you can somehow tell that the core of the band knows what they're doing, but... well, the songs simply aren't that powerful to me. For one thing I'm just not feeling the keyboards or electronic smatterings, and in fact they often detract from otherwise decent songs. But beyond that, I honestly feel like the weak link is Smith's singing. The rare presence of screams is pretty effective, as are certain passages of the singing, but his range seems pretty limited, so it can often sound like he's straining to reach certain notes, and that can deaden the blow of some of the more promising moments. "The Devil's Tears" is a little catchier and more melodic, but what can I say, it works, I actually like it. But "Love is a Blister" is a good example of what I'm talking about with the vocals, because it has some really forceful chord progressions musically, but the vocal performance feels a little forced to me. Oddly enough some of the vocal trappings with the way things are arranged and the way the lines are delivered and shift between styles sounds very Faith No More to me, except for the fact that, as mentioned, the range is limited, so Mike Patton this dude is not. Most of the music is just a pretty basic style of heavy, metallic rock type of stuff though - definitely the kind of thing that I could imagine being "popular" these days were the band able to get their songwriting to a slightly more powerful level. It's definitely a verse/chorus type of setup most of the time, and the aforementioned sense of quality that I mentioned does hint that with a little work this band will likely hit the mark (check out "The World in Your Arms", which could definitely be a radio track). I'm not sure what's up with all the ultra low Type O Negative sounding pseudo spoken vocals in tracks like "Night of the Strawberry Ghost", but again... the vocals simply need a little more work to add emphasis and more efficiently gel with the catchy chorus arrangements in many of these songs. The recording's pretty good as well. The vocals are mixed too loud on occasion, and sometimes the guitar tone almost leans towards a slightly thin industrial kind of edge, but other than that I'm into it. The mix is crisp and retains clarity as well as a sense of cohesion, I'm definitely alright with the way the rhythm section sounds, etc. Of course this is the brand of material that would benefit from sounding as polished as humanly possible, and obviously it's not at that level yet, but it does sound very effective considering. The layout's pretty damn boring, though. I like the simplicity of the text arrangements, but the imagery (a faint figure behind glass, of course) isn't that hot, and aside from two similar photos it's basically white text over black panels, so... it ain't much to look at. The lyrics are about what you'd expect given the musical style, keeping things basic and personal without venturing too far into the religious content at all, so everything's somewhat nondescript. I don't know, this is an odd one to review because it's certainly not a remarkable album in the least, and I'd highly recommend the band toss the fucking keyboards right off the bat, but... even though I don't really care for many of the songs, I can listen to it. And like I said... that sense of quality, it is there, so... hopefully the band will really start to impress in the future. (6/10)
Running time - 32:57, Tracks: 10
[Notable tracks: The Devil's Tears, Love is a Blister, I See You Through Glass]
Hand of Hope Records - http://www.handofhoperecords.com
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