Posted: by The Editor
They’ve only been around for a few short years, but the Brooklyn, New York sextet Godcaster are becoming something of a chameleon. They debuted in 2019 with their hip-shaking standalone single “She’s a Gun,” a song that incorporated elements of dance and psyche rock by way of funky synthesizers and a memorable hook.
For a moment, it seemed like Godcaster’s future would lead them to be everyone’s new favorite glam rock revival band. They certainly seemed to have all the elements of one—a fashion sense straight out of the 70’s, a retro musical style, and a “rock n roll ain’t dead” attitude upon first impression. However, Godcaster’s ambitions have grown much further than just playing the same song and dance that’s been done for years and years before.
They made sure to let everyone know they were a completely different breed on their debut album, Long Haired Locusts in 2020. It becomes evident within the first moments of the rousing opening track “Even Your Blood is Electric” that you’re headed for a wild ride full of whacked out guitar riffs and sporadic time signatures, and it turns out to be just that. The album only becomes untamed as it goes on, with even more intriguingly titled and performed songs, like the trudging “Serpentine Carcass Crux Birth” or the downright goofy “Christ in Capsule Form.” Albeit hard to digest at times, Long Haired Locusts is one of the most off kilter guitar-based projects in recent memory.
On their newest self-titled project, Godcaster are once again rewriting their history, but in the most mature of ways. They’ve left behind the unhinged guitar riffs and melodies without losing an inch of raucousness—utilizing gargantuan walls of blaring post-punk noise as their brick and mortar. They describe the album as a “means to communicate the feeling of overwhelming light” they experience when they perform, a description that feels spot on as the album’s opening track “Diamond’s Shining Face” explodes into cacophony of grinding guitars and crashing symbols. It ascends into a patient trudge where lead singer and guitarist Judson Kolk murmurs “my face, it shines much brighter than the sun,” like a false deity amping himself up in front of a mirror.
“Vivian Heck” ups the anxiety levels with stacks upon stacks of needling guitars, exuding a vibe that there’s something unknown lurking around a dark corner, like theme music for Mulholland Drive’s infamous diner scene. It’s only fitting that the following track is the ten-and-a-half-minute beast “Didactic Flashing Antidote,” a Swans-inspired noise epic that repeats the words “confounded, confounded” like a sacrilegious hymn. Even though the track is despondent and dark, Kolk is singing about being tortured by the sheer brightness of the sun with lines like “the sun beats down on me, the heat is a cymbal,” as if to say the overwhelming light the album is an ode to can also be vexing and harmful.
Blinding light and heat continue to be a theme on the spaghetti western “Death’s Head Eyed Hawk Moth,” a song that could soundtrack scenes of a desperate trek for water through an unforgivingly dry desert. The raw, unfiltered drums and blues guitar riff gallop along while Kolk sings about having “shining visions,” taunting mirages of “applauding figures.”
With only the peaceful acoustic guitar-based interlude, “Pluto Shoots His Gaze Into the Moon” as a breather, the band turn up the already deafening intensity towards the last leg of the album. “Draw Breath Cry Out” is another lengthy and expeditious jam full of guitar and vocal shrieks, although tame in comparison to the closer “Gut Sink Moan.” The band make sure they are going out with an even bigger blast, utilizing their many members for a chaotic group vocal which chants “I saw a snake tongue in the dark, talons then living sparks,” before throat shredding screams and howls on the plowing chorus. It emanates a feeling of being chased and stalked by a cult that will stop at nothing to turn you into one of their own. After the song ends, you’ll realize Gocaster have succeeded in ingratiating you into their twisted world, and there’s no going back.
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal
Godcaster is out today via Ramp Local Records.
Nate Cross | @BigNafey
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