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4.25 out of 5 skulls
August 22, 2014 | ,

Godhunter City of Dust

Don’t let the stoner, doom sludge of City of Dust fool you. The socio-political subject matter presented by Tuscon’s Godhunter is ugly, depressing and raging. Channeling the likes of Black Sabbath and Black Flag, the eight tracks on the band’s latest full-length are heavy as fuck, infuriatingly catchy and hell-bent on shattering bone in order to deliver the band’s message.

Album opener “Despite All” is really all you need to hear in order to get a whiff of what these guys are slinging. Once the subject-matter-appropriate sample has completed, Sabbathian riffage meets sludgy swamp water as Sleep’s influence drenches the whole thing is sticky bong resin. The song is massive as it marches relentlessly, eventually picking up the rhythm to a mid-paced stomp. Charlie Touseull’s gruff vocal work fits the mood of the album’s music perfectly. Backing vocals throughout the album hint toward hardcore, adding in yet another influence the band has folded into their mix well.

Despite the mentally heavy lyrical content, the music here will have you banging along with the band’s infectious rhythms and rumbling groove for the duration. “Rats in the Walls” is a personal favorite as even more Sleep eventually permeates the buzzing air with a measured amount of psychedelic influence. This is a plodding track with some of the heaviest guitar/bass combos heard on the release. “Brushfires” is just as doomy as its predecessor as it opens with a seriously catchy and memorable bit of guitar work. The tempo is at a gallop on this one as the band chugs along at a solid head-banging clip.

“Snake Oil Dealer” is vicious and heavy as hell and leads into an abrupt change of pace with the acoustic “Shooting Down the Sun.” This song sees guest vocalist Carlos Arzate bring in a much cleaner vocal delivery for a much needed respite from the overpowering sludge and doom that has been beating us about the head and shoulder up until this point. That said, the song is also depressing, following the overall theme of the album.

“Palace of Thorn” picks the pace back up with a decidedly different overall sound and tone. The doom is still sort of there, but this track relies heavily on a hardcore vibe to plunder your ears. Heavy riffage dominates as a dual vocal attack and upbeat rhythm keep the blood pumping to a solid groove. The title track is another personal favorite with a ferociously catchy chorus — “Home is where the heart is. Hell is where the home is” — and a more hardcore-influenced overall vibe.

City of Dust is one hell of an impressive album. I’ve caught some of Godhunter in various splits over the last year or so, but never really got into them. I guess they just needed a longer format to fulfill a sound that encompasses doom, sludge and hardcore — all with a measure of melody and groove as heard in album closer “Plague Window.” I don’t know what else to say about this album except that you won’t be disappointed.

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