Dropped like a pipe-bomb into the British rock scene, Wolverhampton band God Damn have spent the last three years nailing audiences to the walls with their sonic blasts of glorious noise. Yet their debut album Vultures offers more than just machismo, bombast and bluster. There is nuance and melody. Purpose and meaning. Heartfelt intent.
A dizzying blend of barbed wire guitars, lung-shredding vocals and drums that run away like wild horses. It’s all the more effective when you learn God Damn are a stripped-down two-piece.
They began life as a three-piece of Thom Edward (guitar/vocals), Dave Copson (guitar) and Ash Weaver (drums) in and around Wolverhampton. They came of age surfing that sonic wave of American noise that perhaps collectively represented the pinnacle of alternative rock music – The Jesus Lizard, The Pixies, early Nirvana – whilst also name-checking the textured diversity and unique atmospherics of Portishead, Tom Waits, The Mars Volta and Neutral Milk Hotel as less obvious influences. Stylistically they take cues from those whose surnames alone when mentioned immediately bring a distinct, epoch-making sound to mind: Cash, Hendrix, Page, Bonham, Homme.
After a clutch of singles they embarked upon much roadwork with the likes of Slaves, Funeral For A Friend, Eagulls, The Wytches, Hawk Eyes, Turbowolf and others. It was while on tour in summer 2013 that bassist and founder member Dave Copson suffered a breakdown that resulted in life-threatening injuries. His recovery paramount, he never returned to the band.
Not knowing what the future held Ash and Thom had commitments to fulfil and so this duo was born, just as God Damn were arriving on the wider radar. They signed to One Little Indian shortly afterwards and embarked upon making Vultures, a debut which, sound-wise, they say “is everything we hoped for – and so much more.”
Their set-up has naturally drawn comparisons to fellow rising bands such as Slaves and Royal Blood (we’re inclined to name-check Winnnebago Deal and Wet Nuns at this juncture too) but really that is where comparisons to duos end. God Damn always call themselves “a band.”
Vultures presents a universe of sound, from the low-end melodic boom of sneering anthem ‘Silver Spooned’ through the sub-dark psychedelic breakdown of ‘We Don’t Like You’ to the unexpected lo-fi strummed opening of the throbbing and utterly tumescent nine-minute sludge epic ‘Skeletons’. As debuts go God Damn have nailed their colours to the flagpole and torched the fucker.