Thursday, February 6, 2014

Gods Tower - Roll Out (EP) (2013)

There's a tank gracing the cover of the latest EP from long lived Belarus based Gods Tower. You can see that with your own eyes. But don't make a judgment just yet; save that for after the music has played. Because our minds play tricks on us, and we think we know far more than we do about a band r an album by the picture that represents it. It isn't always worth a thousand words. But "Roll Out," with which you secure yourself a code for the online "World Of Tanks" game, isn't a thrashing praise of war in all its forms. Sure, there is a call to battle to contend with, as would be expected in such a partnership. But what lies just below the surface, or perhaps one track below it, is a surprise that makes the album seem that much more forward thinking than one would have imagined. Behind the bullets, bombs, and explosions, there are consequences. Embrace the tank on track one; ignore the tank on track two.

With razor sharp edges, "Roll Out" cut through the silence and straight to your brain stem with  a thundering clap of drums. The winding lead melody is incredibly detailed and catchy, causing an immediate investment in the track itself. It's hard to pigeonhole the sound that pours through your speakers here, a mix between thrash, folk, death, and shredding riffs. But it is seamless in its delivery, a rarity for a band of this ilk. Vocally, it is a different story. While the instrumental is intricately crafted, the lyrics remain on the basic end of the spectrum, painting the song more as an anthem than anything else. Not entirely a bad thing, admittedly, because it drills a hole into your frontal lobe and embeds itself there for weeks. In a sharp and striking contrast, "The Field Of The Dead" trades in all of the momentum and energy, in favor of something emotionally stirring. With very little backing, aside from a low, quiet rumble and light symphonic touches, this is the reality to the opening tracks theme. Where the war begins, pain and death end; a well thought out pairing of thunder and clouds.

It's a very small sample size to evaluate, but what Gods Tower have given us is something you can enjoy in one instance, and ponder in another. Two tracks, tied together under the same album title, but they would struggle to be more different from one another. And in this day and age of mediocre albums and EPs, it's refreshing to see a band buck the trend and do something outside the box, structurally, rather than spoon feed the listeners with safety. In an odd way, we can relate the thematic choices of the album to life itself, particularly life in American in 2014. First, we roll out the tanks into combat, then we mourn the loss of life that occurred from our choices. Whether or not that was the intention is irrelevant; our personal connection to the music is what gives it life beyond a file on our PC. It is so surreal to have a band, half a world away, put to music what you had in mind. And with that, "Roll Out" says a lot more than the artwork can do.


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