Godless Suns

2022 keeps on going. Maybe after three shitty years in a row, this was bound to happen. Album after album, debut after debut of truly killer heavy psych and stoner. Add Godless Suns to the never-ending list of bands you just gotta hear!

Considering the subject matter involving the “dissolution of certain theologies”, and the fact that it’s actually a 40 minute concept album, one could expect it to be a dark, trudging slog reminding us that existence it bleak, hammering us over the head with the typical compressed power chords and cookie-monster death vocals.

Nope. Not at all.

Let’s start with the name. Great name! It avoids the usual tropes and cliches, and yet gives us a sense of what we’re about to hear. They describe that best in their facebook bio: “A tasty mix of Stoner, Desert Rock & Doom. Mixing grooves with big lazy riffs, it’s what we do.”

Yup. That is totally what they do, and they do it well.

This is the first release under the Godless Suns name, and as far as I can tell it’s a completely DIY project. This means they did all the recording, mixing and mastering themselves. Which means they funded the entire thing, down to the last microphone stand. Not to be mean, but this is generally a recipe for disaster that’s achieved by using Pro Tools, an interface into the computer and recording everything digitally, with plug-ins for things like overdrive, delay, reverb and everything else.

I don’t know what process they used for recording, and I’m hoping for an interview in a few days to answer the GOBS of questions I have. I can confidently guess that this is not a Pro Tools-specific production rife with auto-tune and digital amp/cab simulations with EZ Drummer providing perfectly synched fills.

Instead, this sounds like an extremely good recording straight out of the main board, in a club with decent acoustics. The drums sound live, and whichever set of headphones or in-ears I use, it feels like I’m in the room with the band. There’s even a lot of amp buzz from the main transformer. The guitar tone is truly incredible, running the gamut from slight break-up to full-blown overdrive, as if Riff (Pete?) is controlling the effect by how hard he hits the strings. It’s just real as heck.

The bass tone is solid, again with that organic tube-amp sound that’s just a joy to hear. But it’s Sarah’s vocals that seal the deal: a somewhat unique voice using old-school vibrato, almost like a 60’s lounge singer. Again, the recording captures her performance and every nuance of it. As usual in the genre, some of her words are difficult to make out, especially in the effect-laden spoken word pieces in between the songs. A lyric sheet sure would be handy, especially since I very much want to hear every word.

Godless Suns is very much a throwback to an era I still doubt actually existed, and by that I mean before mastering guru’s and executives fucked up the party. This release is very much of this era, not some romanticized 70’s nostalgia. They fit in with a bunch of other bands that have made waves over the past few years, especially Scorched Oak and Saint Karloff. Even more impressive is that they have the narrative ambitions of Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Sergeant Thunderhoof and Vitskar Suden. No pressure guys, but that’s some fairly lofty company.

I’m pretty sure that if one of the dozen or so awesome labels wanted to, they could do a lot with Godless Suns. But, would they even want to? Technically, they might not be on the same level as King Buffalo or Elder, but neither were they on their first recordings/releases. I do know that what they have here is very special, and it’s easily in my top 20 for the year. I can’t stop listening to it, and I think if some of you give it a serious chance, you’ll react the same way I did.

It’s like I had no idea that my best friends were in a group, and when I hear them I’m blown away. Check out their Facebook page and you’ll see what I mean.

I don’t think this is available for streaming yet, at least not in the U.S. But man, if ever a band deserved your hard-earned $$$, this is it. Very highly recommended.

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