'IV Revelation': Progressive metal act GOD presents a thematic and cinematic saga of biblical proportions
Each epic track of the mammoth 2-hour long instrumental album corresponds to a chapter in the Book of Revelation
The enigmatic and multi-layered progressive metal act GOD will reveal its latest epic offering, 'IV - Revelation', completely free of charge, on July 14. As with GOD’s previous three releases, these new tracks have been inspired by stories from the Holy Bible. "'IV – Revelation’ represents the 22 chapters of the Book of Revelation in the Holy Bible," the arcane band explained. "The album takes you on a cinematic, thematic, progressive metal journey in many styles of metal from the opening chapter of Revelation, to the fall of Lucifer, the depths of Hell and the Abyss, the Antichrist, to judgment and absolute death in the Lake of Fire — The Second Death, to the grandeur of the Messiah, His throne, the Book Of Life and the finality of Eternity itself."
What's notable about GOD’s crushing instrumental sound is the fact that they've used three types of bass guitar, one hybrid, and a variety of electric and acoustic guitars, with no synthesizers being employed. As for the group's mission statement, GOD's goal is to release 33 albums in total (Jesus Christ died at 33), with their music designed to be a spiritual journey left to the listener’s own mind and subjective experience.
The album opener ‘Revelation’ clocks in at a little above 8 minutes, with the arpeggiated track slowly building in intensity and complexity with plenty of riffage and syncopation. The track starts off relatively mellow, and slowly builds in heaviness before breaking off into a lilting segue and a triumphant climax. The progressive and dissonant nature of the track provides a great vehicle to tell the story of Revelation, while the array of guitars being used makes the music tight and engaging.
‘Throne’ is a notably heavier outing than ‘Revelation’. The riffs are furious and the drumming matches the measured cacophony with absolute precision. The processed bass guitar stands out in the mix and adds a unique flavor as well. ‘Throne’ deviates from regular harmonic structures as it blends plenty of melodic lines with decidedly brash riffs and the end result is quite spectacular. The fiendish guitar solo on the outro also deserves a special mention.
The beguiling ‘Lucifer’ sways between melodic and chaotic moods in a menacing manner. As would be expected when talking about the devil, there are plenty of surprises in the unpredictable track's musical trajectory. The track’s breakdown creeps up on the listener and does so in spectacular fashion. Special mention must be made about GOD's choice of instruments, resulting in an extremely haunting track that revels in its own darkness.
‘Hell’ takes over where ‘Lucifer’ left off and really pushes the envelope sonically, conjuring something that sounds pure evil. The arrangement on the track is comparable to some of Fredrik Thordendal’s work with Special Defects. Progressive and constantly in a harmonic grey area, GOD utilizes a very unorthodox form on the track, with a repeating segment that functions as a block of music rather than a musical idea. This intentional juxtaposition throws up an uneasy feeling of déjà vu that is quite simply genius songwriting.
As expected, ‘Beast’ is deliciously evil, with atonal harmonization and syncopation employed very effectively in this sonic piledriver. The super-tight drumming, coupled with the raging riffs and soaring guitar lines paint a horrendous vision of doom. Given that there are no vocals present, this is a remarkable accomplishment. The scratchy, harmonized solos towards the latter part of the track also accentuate the sinister atmosphere.
‘Humanity's Number - Six Hundred Threescore And Six’ retains the intensity of the previous tracks. With a rhythm structure that pushes and pulls, the track stands out for its progressive structure and razor-sharp riff playing. The sections towards the outro are especially taut and are an example of GOD’s excellent compositional sensibilities.
‘7’ breathes more in comparison to its predecessors, in that the groovy riff playing and drumming aren’t rushed. The riffs are bigger and more pronounced however, packing a solid punch. The guitar playing is more spacious and the song boasts some really intense riffs, especially towards the halfway mark. Harmonically, there is a shift towards traditional tonality, and that transition is well captured by ‘7’. The track also features some of the best riffs on the album and is intentionally 7 minutes long.
‘144,000’ marks a clear departure in vibe with its upbeat riffs and melodic guitar lines. While previous tracks had a menacing sound to them, ‘144,000’ has an almost soothing quality to it. The progressive drumming, wailing melodic guitar lines, chunky guitar riffs, and an almost synth-sounding outro make this track an excellent transition sonically.
‘Tribulation’ brings back the heavy chaotic energy of tracks like ‘Lucifer’ and ‘Hell’ but does so in a measured manner. Atonal harmonization is employed once again to communicate a sense of terror and the effect is captivating. The distorted bass and eerily spiraling guitar lines swirl in a heady concoction that is punctuated by the unrelenting battery section.
‘Repent’ is a sonic monster that marches out of the speakers. The dragged-out riffs and unsettled drumming set an ambiguous tone to the song that wavers between atonality and melody. ‘Repent’ has its moments, especially with the twin harmonies and syncopated drumming. There are plenty of breaks in the song where you’d least expect them and that adds another dimension to this 6-minute long affair.
‘War’ storms in next with some exceptional rhythm guitar playing and machine-like drumming. The double bass battery and the incessant riffs make for a solid track that blends death metal sensibilities and extreme drumming techniques. ‘War’ manages to create an ambiance of uncertainty and keeps the listeners on the edge.
‘False Prophet’ is a novelty of a track and a great example of what GOD is capable of. The track opens with a rather joyous etude that slowly devolves into a detuned, horrifying version of itself before the other instruments kick in with full force. The descent into atonality from tonality is breathtakingly eerie and has a sinister undertone to it that sets this track apart from the rest of the album. Although relatively short, ‘False Prophet’ still packs a lot of venom.
‘Antichrist’ starts off with a creepy melody that repeats alongside the thundering drums, throbbing bass, and menacing wall of riffs. The repeating motif stays for the entire length of the track and adds a disturbing hue to the song. The arrangement is also top-notch with an array of contrasting guitar and bass tones being used to keep up with the thundering battery section.
‘Abyss’ clocks in at a little above 11 minutes and is a mammoth undertaking, managing to convey a sense of absolute dread throughout. The track marches on through its various atonal segments with some extreme, dextrous metal set to a dark ambient background. Towards the end, the instruments slow down to a crawl, and the ensuing effect is trance-inducing. ‘Abyss’ is probably one of the heaviest tracks released by ‘God’ and even doom metal bands will be impressed by this number.
‘Messiah’ breaks the atonal metal mold with its sharply contrasting melodic arrangement. The open chords, glorious guitar lines, and on-point drumming all come together very harmoniously in this track that provides the listener with a sense of assurance after all the uncertainty.
‘Reign’ stays with the uplifting vibe of ‘Messiah’ and continues with the same building energy. The track features some excellent guitar solos and a staggered arrangement that has an interesting effect on the overall sound and vibe of the track.
‘Judgement’ is full of epic grandeur in terms of the track's overall vision. The song plays with tempo throughout, and features a drum section that starts slow, and then speeds up in a varying cycle of deviant synchronization. Despite the bewildering tempo shifts, the entire band is locked in unison throughout, and this results in one of the most interesting arrangements on the album. ‘Judgement’ definitely tops the list of novel songs by GOD and its frantic outro also deserves special praise.
‘Book of Life’ returns to a rather well-oriented setting after the jarring chaos of 'Judgment'. A bright intro transforms into a sprawling track with glorious soloing, plenty of pleasing melodic moments, and an upbeat vibe. The plucked notes that ring clear above the chugging guitars and rhythm section have a pleasing timbre and tonality to them, once again indicative of GOD’s excellent compositional sensibilities.
'Lake of Fire - The Second Death' is a heavyweight number and at a little above 8 minutes, it's a superb listen. Featuring an asymmetric form and employing atonality with abandon, we plunge right back into chaotic syncopation and throbbing, gritty basslines set to machine-gun riffs. The track builds into an explosive volley of riffs and licks as it progresses and keeps ramping up the unpredictability. The choice of clear ringing patches for the atonal picked notes highlight the sense of terror in the track, another testament to the great production.
‘New Heaven, New Earth, New Jerusalem’ brings things back to the realm of harmony, and this is a sweet track that beams with positivity and light. Staying away from the progressive route, the track is a short affair and serves as a much-needed sonic reset.
The upbeat ‘Eternity’ features a charming repeating motif that serves as the backdrop for some great musical moments. At more than 7 minutes long, this track contains plenty of progressive riffs, syncopation, and unpredictable tempo changes. The song picks up at the halfway mark and leads into an interesting bridge section that slowly morphs from harmony to dissonance and back again, as the song wraps up.
The final track ‘Amen’ brings back the heavy atonality from the first half of the album. The track features one of the most imaginative guitar solos on the album, and delivers the usual precise drumming and massive riffs. A truly unique approach to note selection and song arrangements gives GOD its novelty factor and this is probably most evident on ‘Amen’.
Clocking in at a hefty two hours with 22 tracks, GOD's 'IV – Revelation' is an epic and sprawling saga of biblical proportions, taking the listener from the realms of the atonal to the eternal. It's quite a magnificent feat that matches the intensity of its literary inspiration, and first-time listeners are bound to be transfixed and spellbound by this concept album's incredible scale and scope.