Review Summary: Wake and give way to new life
Children of God may be a hardcore/powerviolence band, as a quick Google search will inform you, but the reality is that they are much more than that. Sure, those genres form the basis of their sound - We Set Fire
is filled with d-beats, aggressive punk riffs and furious screams - but the bands' strong emphasis on dynamics and experimentation sets them apart from their contemporaries. The moments of unbridled fury found here - and there are a lot of them - are extremely effective, mostly because they are interwoven with sparse clean sections that the band uses to build up tension in between sessions of bashing the listener's brains in. As others have pointed out, the approach the band takes on We Set Fire
is reminiscent of late-90's-era Neurosis; the rise-and-fall nature of many of the songs harkens back to Times of Grace
in particular. The bands' implementation of tribal drumbeats and subtle ambient touches only adds more validity to this comparison. However, whereas Neurosis' music is often meditative and otherworldly, this album sounds like CoG is playing a show for twenty kids in your kitchen. The guitars are raw, the vocals are passionate, and everything sounds very real
A feeling of imminent destruction looms over every moment of the album, from the 41-second powerviolence opener to the sludgy, two-part centerpiece "To the Sky". That's what makes WSFttS successful - it may have strong ties to post-metal and more atmosphere-centric music, but it maintains the raw energy and humbleness that hardcore punk is known for. Per usual for an album in this genre, it's relatively short, clocking in at just under thirty minutes, but that's all Children of God needs to achieve their goal. If there's one thing that holds We Set Fire
back, it's too heavy a reliance on the formula the band has set for themselves. The last three songs all begin with an ominous clean section - all in the same key, with similar clean vocals - before building up to a climax of moshtacular, angry riffage. It's not the biggest complaint, because the music is still really damn good, but a bit more diversity in the songwriting department definitely would have benefited the band; perhaps some more songs like the 100% aggressive opener, "Destroy Belief". All in all, We Set Fire to the Sky
is an overwhelming success, and is highly recommended for fans of hardcore, sludge, post-metal, or all of the above. Judging by the sound they've established on their debut, Children of God's work in the future could be truly spectacular.