For posterity’s sake, this isn’t, in fact, a new release by the noise-rock side-project of the same name from various members of The Devil Wears Prada, but a different band with the same name that’s the sort of unnecessary extra hurdle that a new act like this really doesn’t need. Then again, this God Alone. seem to be doing alright for themselves regardless, already picking up a fair amount of steam for their dizzying concoction of progressive metal, blackgaze and post-metal that’s played with a level of technicality that stretches far beyond what their young ages would suggest. There really does seem to be a lot of stock put in this band to excel in underground metal circles, particularly with some of the comparison points that have already been made with this self-titled EP ranging from Deafheaven to Fugazi to Three Trapped Tigers.
What’s more, it’s genuinely refreshing to see God Alone. delivering on the lofty pedestal they’ve been put on, with plenty being packed into four tracks that do run long, but have a density that ensures it’s never self-indulgent or losing track of itself. That’s not to say that God Alone. don’t indulge in the sort of winding prog-metal enormity that can frequently anchor a release like this too deeply, but honestly, there’s enough that’s compelling here to circumvent anything too negative here, and for everything this EP throws into itself, the results are more or less constantly rewarding.
As ever, it’s primarily a case of embracing just how much God Alone. are willing to do as well, and how the winding, ever-changing soundscapes pack in enough shifts in tone and tempo to prevent any sort of stagnation. There’s a near seamless transition between passages of calm and frigid black-metal raging on Ke Ta that always places the smoothness of its dynamics at the fore, and the fact that Yes Aii is able to flow between chunky, low-end metal, post-rock-inspired calm and a math-rock breakdown that wouldn’t sound too out of place on an early Foals album really is impressive. Even if the more expansive presentation can put song structure on the back foot (though God Alone. arguably handle it better than most anyway), there’s enough going on here to prevent interest from waning, and when it never gets bogged down by some of the unfortunate production choices black-metal and progressive metal can sometimes be burdened with, the results do hit satisfyingly hard. Tightness might not be the right word, but God Alone. display a level of efficiency in their compositions even with the extended runtimes that’s a rarity in music as progressive as this.
Given that all of that is as impressive as it is, it would already seem fair to give God Alone. a bit more of a pass in the lyrical department, but honestly, they do enough here as well to remain fairly distinct overall. That’s not so much thematically in feelings of depression and loss that are well-explored at this point – and a rather traditional black-metal scream from both Jake O’Driscoll and Cian Mullane doesn’t do much to elevate it – but the richness within definitely has more weight to it. Feeling On Tic puts forward the stark image of a man wandering the streets alone to give a human form to themes of loneliness, while Ke Ta references a Japanese fan who invited the band to tour, but subsequently lost contact and was never heard from again. There’s strength in moving such topics outside of the abstract for as easy as that can be in a genre where the writing can ultimately seem less important, but the fact that God Alone. strive to go those few steps further is to their credit for how much more interesting these songs become.
There’s actually a fair bit on this EP suggesting a band that could already go far beyond their predetermined means, with just the slightest bit of refinement needed to fully make use of the abundance of talent they’ve got. Right now, God Alone. feel far more exciting than the majority of other progressive rock and metal bands coming through, simply through an impetus to try new things and step away from what’s become so formulaic and played-out, i.e., the antithesis of what progressive music should be. Right now, God Alone. are in spitting distance from becoming a real force to be reckoned with, and that can’t come soon enough.
For fans of: Deafheaven, Between The Buried And Me, Periphery
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘God Alone.’ by God Alone. is released on 8th November on Cosmonaut Records.