Friday, September 28, 2012

Mother of God - (2012) Anthropos

"Woke up at dawn and felt a presence, nature spirits, observing me. Looked out through the window. Black shape. I went to the nearby forest and the journey had begun.Without a direct way, I went through the woods and crossed mountains. Suddenly elated by light, I was under the raven's wings. Numb. Awakened by a thud and the silhouettes of the three. Embrace. The circle was complete.” -- Mother of God

Born in 2008 and raised on rock in Morgårdshammar, Sweden, the four-piece Mother of God cast off a lot of the retro ‘70s mentality of their countrymen in favor of a more modern approach.Well, 20 years more modern, anyway. Mother of God no doubt have some appreciation for the finer things in ‘70s rock – there are beards to prove it – but musically they incorporate influences from grunge and the heavy grooves of the early ‘90s. Bands like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains mesh their downtrodden grunge melodies alongside classic inspiration drawn from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

These might sound like familiar elements – at least the names ring out – but Mother of God bring their own emotional spin to their Small Stone debut, Anthropos, and never quite cooperate with what you think they’ll do next. The band has released two prior EPs – 2011’s Forging a New Path and their debut – and they recorded and mixed Anthropos in Borlänge with Erik Nerback, Chris Goosman mastered, and Sanna Albenius, Robin Gnista and Alexander vonWieding provided art and layout design.

In addition to festival appearances at Getaway Rock,Wacken Open Air in Germany and Peace & Love, Mother of God have shared the stage with YOB, Dozer, Graveyard, Imperial State Electric and more, and they’ll look to continue their live domination in Scandinavia and beyond in support of Anthropos, shoving their eclectic sound and undeniable hooks right in the faces of everyone who thinks they know what heavy rock should sound like. ~Press Release

Mother of God are here to show the casual listener, and all the people that rock 'n' roll isn't dead. Sure it might hibernate for a little while, but Sweden seems to have something in the water over there. A penchant for fuzz, if you will. Or just a comprehensive take on rock. Whatever the case may be "Anthropos" is the first full length from this quartet, and their first release on Smallstone Records, and what an impressive slab of rock it is.

What really grabs my head with this album are the vocals. Obviously giving a huge nod to Chris Cornell here, sounding hauntingly familiar, right out of the gate like Loud Love era Soundgarden on the first track "230" and a few other tracks like "Aim for the Sun", "To Live" and "Lucy" really bring that element into the songs. So you have the grunge but you also get some tripped out psychedelic interludes here and there and retro fuzzy grooves throughout the album. "Anthropos" will be stuck in my CD player for months to come, another fabulous release from a label that never disappoints. Awesome. Grab the files now over on Bandcamp, or wait until feburary for the physical release. Hell, do both!        -AW

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