Review Summary: Holy fuck
An organized mess composed of intense energy, hatred, and sadness could be an accurate first impression of I Am God Songs. Oh, and exhausting, by the time you finish it. Black Sheep Wall has made an album in which every cliché about Death, Black, Doom or any other extreme metal sub-genre can apply with. Some of which may be intense, bleak, hopeless, crushing, punishing…demented, even. Scary has never been so raw, so immense. Or exceptionally chaotic.
Down-Tempo with minimal songwriting approaches is the game for this band, caused by having only two main emotions: Anger and depression. Sounding like the unwanted spawn of Meshuggah and Neurosis, with a little seed from Sludge Metal, Black Sheep Wall’s debut is a grinding, skull-exploding animal. Because of its somewhat minimalistic nature, I Am God Songs needed to have, or sound like it has, experience in this sort of music. And while this is only a debut, Sheep’s musicians can promise in mixing rage filled emotion with dispirited, depressed aspects. Most of it has to do with the way the album is produced. While having lots of elements derived from noise, Black Sheep Walls debut retains polished sonics; because, by contrast with the noise, we have a crisp and edgy approach (except the instances when effects are used) on the guitars, the vocals, and the drums. The bass is a bit murky, whether because it melts in with the strings’ drop B tuning or for sh
its and giggles, we will never know, but it doesn’t take away from any point in this album anywhere.
Another twist of the album is the use of effects for incredibly raw and scathing noise components, as mentioned. Every instrument has this effect done at least once, with the vocals getting most of the attention, having an overwhelming aspect of hopelessness to the screaming despair of Back Sheep Walls’ debut. What’s more, we have clips of the band screwing around, about to record or, something completely unrelated. While this might read as tedious, it actually adds a sarcastic element to the already nihilistic theme of the album, impressioning a lasting feeling on the listener. Like the end of Xiomara, having ridiculous, whiny noises from the vocalist alongside a deep bass line with crashes from the drums. From baby-like crying from a grown man to a jumble of high, weird wails, it goes on for minutes. In any other case, this might have been funny. By the time you reach this point on the album (as this track is the last on I Am God Songs), however, you find it frankly disturbing and unnerving.
While many albums could say they have some of these aspects, the difference of I Am God Songs is in how it delivers, which is also quite impressive. Fusing grooving riffage, disharmonic chords and heavy palm-muted passages, Black Sheep Wall’s sound certainly relies on this kind of writing. The drop B tuning also helps in punishing the listener to the ground. While neither being mind-blowingly technical or perfectly pristine, the simple, almost sloppy like playing fits snugly alongside the vocals. Because the vocals are insanely savage, brutal…emotional. Jesus, I haven’t heard anything like these before! Nothing else on this record shows this level of raw energy and pure intensity spewing from this mans mouth. Mostly long, deep, drawn out spasms of unadulterated melancholy and raging power, with the occasional high scream, one must ask of what had to have been done to this wretch having a fit. As if an answer will come to mind. While not having an especially controlled voice (infact he slips in the middle of Modest Machine), this mess also adds the same way the guitarists did; snugly within everything else. The drums are also a force. Driving the pulse right along, it is probably the tightest component of the album. Splashing, rolling and beating his way through the album, the drummer makes good use of what he has while not taking attention away from the main attractions of album: the guitars and vocals. Following closely along is the muddy bass, which adds a dynamic element to the guitars somewhat processed sounds.
These four instruments combine with a great formula to be uncompromisingly intimidating. Yet weak points occur, the most glaring is that I Am God Songs is obtrusive to get into. All the wrath, the feeling of woebegone, all the nihility of the album could very well be unacceptable and a turn off for many. Indeed, even seasoned listeners of angry music could deem it hard to trudge through. Even me, who has listened to this a lot, find it difficult some times to finish the album. But once you can sort of get used to it, the reward isn’t exactly something to cherish happily, but it will be exciting to finally listen to the album for what it’s for, to somewhat understand I Am God Songs.
Listening to this makes you have the same sentiments as the album portrays: angry, and moody. The unanticipated bit is how amazingly addictive it is. After one gets through a couple of listens, they find themselves immersed in this album. I Am God Songs might be the most surprising album this year, as the band leaped unto the scene with this monster of an album. And it’s not out on a limb to say that I am eagerly awaiting more from this band, Black Sheep Wall.