Since 2017, God Alone. have been one of those idiosyncratic bands of wunderkind that routinely exceed expectations, wherever those expectations lie. Suffice it to say, the guys have done it again, with the group’s exotic hybridization of quick-witted math rock, atmospheric hardcore, and ambient colorings coming to a frothing hydra-head on their most recent EP.
ETC goes all out in continuing the trend of a band blazing its own trail through dense, dark forests of genre, combining the metallic aggression of Poll na mBrón and the post-rock leanings of their Pandemic projects, but also throwing in some impressive new tricks.
While the band slightly (very slightly) dials down the overt intensity of the past, their jagged electronic forays and violently hypnotic loops sections create a new angle of attack altogether. For a quick example, check out “Tinfoil in the Walls” below. God Alone. is as fiery as ever, but take a more nuanced approach than ever before on ETC, which just arrived via Prosthetic Records.
A whole new collection of influences come out to play here, from the irresistible Irish craic of Adebisi Shank to the nimble yet heavy-handed charm of bands like Chancer, Vasa, and We Were Promised Jetpacks. But as we often say, comparisons can dull the intended effect, so it’s best you just listen to ETC straightaway.
In some ways the record feels like a throwback to that golden era of math rock where bordering on post-hardcore was all the rage. We’re looking at you, 2006 – and Christ alive, do we miss you… the world’s a bit of a mess right now. But there’s a bright sonic glory on the horizon with bands like God Alone., who can at once remind us of the past, but also look ahead to the future. Whereas most bands seem capable of doing one or the other, it takes a real sense of vision to do both.
Tracks like “Kung Fu Treachery” and “ETC” take the band’s relentless sense of vision into new territories without abandoning any of the special traits the band has become known for. The title track in particular is one of the band’s most engaging, dare we say even catchy, explorations yet. There’s a biting sense of irony to it, especially towards its crushing end.
It’s hard to pick a favorite track when everything here feels so vital. “TskTskTsk” is another highlight, for all the same reasons of the title track, but with added danceability. It’s probably the closest the band will ever come to taking on something similar to post-Adebisi Shank project Speed of Snakes, and for good reason, but there’s something about those consistently vicious gang vocals that really get us going. Someone hand us a Guinness.
Whenever a band drops an amazing EP, we can’t help but wonder if a full-length is around the corner somewhere, but here, it’s really entirely unnecessary. Also, we’re just realizing that if we play by the rules, ETC is technically an LP because it’s over thirty minutes. Either way, despite some of these tracks longer runtimes, they never run dry or overstay their welcome, so we’ve got more than enough to chew on for now, and damn are they some tasty treats.
ETC is probably one of the most refreshing, boiling-hot-water-to-the-face surprises we’ve got this year, and if you want to hear it in its entirety, check out the God Alone. Bandcamp here. You can also grab us a cup of coffee here while jamming out here, if you so choose. Coming up, we’ve got Polyphia, Bit Brigade, Yowie, and a whole lot more. Thanks for reading!