Godless Rising, "Battle Lords"
Simultaneously reliving death metal’s early days and waving their Vital Remains ex-memberships over their collective head, the death metal quartet Godless Rising lay down their sophomore album ‘Battle Lords’. The band was formed only in 2005, but by all accounts were turning out quality material in no time at all and quickly were signed to the appropriately malicious Moribund Records, and in the two years since have released as many albums.
As that label’s standard fare would suggest, Godless Rising’s brand of death metal is quite far removed from the flashy, bombastic axe-choppers of today’s scene; ‘Battle Lords’ is true, rude death metal through and through, and aside from a few modern anachronisms this would be a perfect fit in the mid 90’s.
What Jeff Gruslin (vocals) and Paul Flynn (guitar) were doing between 1992’s Vital Remains debut ‘Let Us Pray’ and 2005’s Godless Rising debut ‘Rising Hatred’ is anyone’s guess, but what’s clear is that they still have an axe to grind with both God and man. And, more importantly, they both still have the chops. Gruslin’s thick growls, which he uses most of the time, fall somewhere between Decapitated’s erstwhile vocalist Sauron and Glen Benton. He also does layer in some at higher-pitches, not quite shrieks, but close for death metal, which accentuate the performance and remind us that we are indeed in the 21st century.
Also helping on that front is the pristine tone of Flynn’s lead guitar, which, appropriately, is the very first and last thing heard on ‘Battle Lords’. Godless Rising’s style is predominantly of the head-down, bulldozing onward approach, but Flynn’s raucous solos, much like Gruslin’s higher vocals, are commendable efforts to disrupt the relative monotony.
Despite their pedigree and the general success of ‘Battle Lords’ as an album, Godless Rising do occasionally seem to come apart a bit at the seams, particularly when the tempos spike. It’s clear that each member has the talent to play nearly anything they wish, so perhaps the subtle missteps can be chalked up to too short a time in the studio. Overall, ‘Battle Lords’ is a worthwhile entry into the death metal books, and any fan with a penchant for collecting war-themed metal albums would do well to give Godless Rising a shot.Rahn