Black Country duo deliver on their promise

MV can speak from personal experience here (when checking the support band in advance of a gig we were attending by the mighty loons Turbowolf a couple of years back) but it’s interesting that when you first listen to God Damn,  because they sound like a fully formed five-piece heavy rock band. It’s something of a shock when you learn then, that they are a duo. Not that it impairs them in any way whatsoever, and they make a hell of a racket, touring as they have, with everyone from Brit hardcore punk veteran Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes to the aforementioned Bristolians.

That in itself is pretty important too given that its gives a little insight into the fact that this sonic landscape is one that is very different to the usual duo.

Your two piece, whether it’s the big behemoths of The White Stripes or last year’s darlings Royal Blood – or indeed MVM’s faves the Picturebooks and The Graveltones – tend to sound a certain way. Primal, bluesy, a little fuzzy maybe. No one told God Damn.

Thom (guitar and vocals) and Ash (drums) deserve credit for ploughing their own furrow, just as they do for being from the black country, in a heavy band – and make no mistake here God Damn are just that – and not sounding like Judas Priest or Led Zeppelin.

Indeed, instead of being hellbent for leather and dazed and confused, the pair channelled their obvious love for The Pixies and Nirvana (largely before Kurt loaded up on guns and brought his friends), added a bit of good old fashioned Midlands grit and made something pretty wonderful.

The opening riff (and “Everything Ever” is choc-full of great riffs) of “Sing This” recalls Bush, and much of what follows would have been perfectly happy had the 1990s never ended, “Ghost” adds another fine chorus and crushing drumming to the proceedings, while “Again Again” packs more action in less than three minutes than dull bands manage in an album.

By and large, things come at you at breakneck speed and whirl around like they’ve got business to attend to urgently. That’s not to say things get samey however, “Fake Prisons” has a pulsing groove, “I’ll Bury You” is what passes for a ballad around here and “Oh No” is acoustic led and possesses echoes of bands like the Senseless Things.

You sense, though that God Damn are at their happiest when they are just going for it. “It Bites” stomps and struts, “Failure” is a catchy thumper of which The Virginmarys would be thrilled with and the absolutely huge “Six Wires” is perhaps the best thing here as it announces itself with a wall of sound and is perfectly happy to keep it that way.

One of those albums where a great song is never too far away, “Dead To Me” does a nice line in dual screeching, “Violence” could almost be stoner rock, and “Let’s Speak” affords itself more time than the others to make its point – and is the only one here to clock in at over four minutes long.

This most compelling of collections ends with “Easily Misled” and whilst you’d never call it gentle, it acts as the calm after the storm here.

All of which means that “Everything Ever”,  their third album, is their best yet, and that’s the truth, God Damn it.

Rating 8/10

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