God Damn return with their sophomore album, Everything Ever, a roaring and visceral record that suggests the band has a broadening vision and growing ambitions.
Having established themselves as one of the UK’s premiere hard rock outfits and performed support slots for the likes of Foo Fighters, Wolverhampton’s God Damn return with their sophomore album, Everything Ever, a roaring and visceral record that suggests the band has a broadening vision and growing ambitions.
Lead singles “Sing This”, “Fake Prisons”, and “Ghost” are as loud and heavy as anything the band has previously released and reaffirm the blueprint for God Damn’s work. Album opener “Sing This” is a call to arms, filled with visceral rage, whilst “Fake Prisons” has a chorus and riff courtesy of Thom Edward that has seen the likes of Royal Blood rise and rise. “Ghost”, meanwhile, has a trademark thunderous percussive performance from Ash Weaver and all the tracks deploy distortion and sound effects to the extent it beggars belief that this is the work of a two piece band.
These tracks are, therefore, all vintage God Damn, but not quite as we had ever heard the band before. In particular there is an increasing pop sensibility in their work, suggesting an organic move towards mainstream recognition may be achievable. When Radio 1 in the UK picked up “Sing This” as their Rockest Record of the Week on Daniel P. Carter’s show, the move seemed even closer. Listening to Everything Ever, the transition seems almost complete, without the band having to abandon their core musical identity and alternative edge.
The album feels more upbeat, or at least as upbeat as you could imagine from a band in God Damn’s ilk, stripping away much of the bleak outlook that dominated Vultures. Lead singer and guitarist Edward states that “we didn’t want to make another album like [Vultures].” Weaver adds, “We’ve really moved things forward. It’s a lot more direct, and there’s a lot more tunes on it, proper songs I am proud of. These are the best songs we’ve written so far.” For the most part that holds true, with tunes like “Fake Prisons” rejecting the insecurities that may previously have held them back.
On their debut, there were touches of hardcore, metal and prog but many of these fade into the background on the new record. In their place comes forays into broader genres, complemented by production and vocals that are cleaner and tighter. “Oh No” carries traits of '90s Britpop, as Edwards reveals a tone and depth to his voice not previously seen. “Six Wires” is a brawny heavy rock track that possesses all the stomp of Queens of the Stone Age in their prime. Album closer “Easily Misled” is an acoustic led track that brings to mind Alex Turners work on Humbug and highlights the improved lyricism of the band. “Fake Prisons” even deploys an organ courtesy of Rob Graham, a member of fellow grunge revivalists Drenge.
There is still a dominant "God Damn sound" of course, and this intense, wall of noise approach may wear a little thin across the course of the album for some. The album also threatens to tail off, with the gothic inspired “Violence” in particular disappointing. This track, alongside “Dead to Me” and “Let’s Speak”, fails to maintain much of the momentum of the rest of the album as they lack some of the songcraft of the likes of “Fake Prison” and “Oh No”. However, closing with “Easily Misled” reminds you of the increased scope of this record compared with its predecessor, and almost every track marks a step forward for the band.
In the process of recording this album the band members have almost come full circle, having previously been in an indie band attracting major label interest. That interest ultimately led to nothing and left Edward and Weaver frustrated and angry at the system they had been dragged into. Now, Edward explains, “We do what the fuck we want to and if it turns out poppy it turns out poppy. We’ve come full circle with this album. We’re writing pop songs.” This move towards "pop" doesn't mean that any of the energy or vibrancy that made their debut stand out has been lost. This is not pop in the Top 40 sense, but more in the melodies and song structures the band explore. They also manage to retain much of the exuberance and volume that typifies their live performances.
Produced by Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, the Fall, M.I.A.) and recorded at the McCall Sound Studio in Sheffield, the record sounds like a more complete record than Vultures and feels as though this is the record the band have always wanted to make. They have had time and space to recover from the experiences that informed the cathartic Vultures and this record is a result of that process. Everything Ever was recorded in just 3 weeks and the result of this outpouring of creativity is a bludgeoning, corrosive album that is at the same time accessible and strangely melodic. In the process, God Damn should establish themselves at the fore of the UK heavy rock scene and continue their deserved flirtations with mainstream recognition.