Released: 2005, Sonic Age Records
Lets get this out of the way first, I don’t like metalcore much, well, barely. Shadows Fall had their moments (the last album wasn’t good at all) and Lamb of God find their way into my CD player the odd time, otherwise, it’s crap, all of it. Now, that being said, God.Fear.None are a metalcore band from Greece. Forming a mere two years ago before being quickly snatched up by Sonic Age Records and this year the band sees its debut album, ENVY.
Like most American metalcore bands God.Fear.None’s sound is a mixture of Gothenburg/Melodic Death metal with a lot of that modern hardcore breakdown mentality (i.e. “If it’s not suitable to mosh to, why bother?”). Vocalist, Chronis, could be a pretty good ringer in a Carcass clone band with his raspy and nasal delivery, reminiscent of Jeff Walker’s later output with Carcass, which is probably the only big compliment I can give the band. Bassist, Domenik, who is also in the progressive metal band, Wastefall, supplies the odd clean vocal hear and there which is something that, yet again, doesn’t exactly set them apart from the current flock of metalcore bands.
ENVY starts off with the slightly off timing of “Free Fall”. Instantly one gets the feeling of sameness as this is the type of riff that many a metalcore band use to try and “throw off” the listener from the beginning. Not more than 40 seconds in does the main riff come show up, only to leave one with the feeling of deja-vu. I’ve probably heard this riff or slight variations on it a good 30 times by now and I’m rather sure I heard it with more feeling and energy the first few times. The song tries to utilize an open semi-clean chorus based around a guitar melody in a vain attempt to create a catchy section, but it fails. When just about every band in this style does this, it’s not surprising and since at this point just the fact that you mix clean and rough vocals isn’t going to get you by, you’d better be coming up with quality melodies. The opening of “Idle Self” is probably my favourite on the album. What I believe is a sound clip from Morgan Freeman (from what movie I can’t remember as I write this) is set overtop of a heavy grooving mosh riff. The rest of the song tends to come off bland with its stop/start riffing, though the chorus is more of a standout than in the album’s opener.
With “24 Hours” God.Fear.None sound as bland as ever. The song is based mostly around stop/start mosh riffs, that while initially will get the blood pumping, you’ll quickly find yourself realizing that the song is nothing more than mosh fodder. Well, aside from that In Flames inspired melodic breakdown riff at 1:28. The soft grooving introduction on “Miseryborne” is just a mild precursor to the heavier version of the same idea. Without much hesitation the riff changes swiftly with an accompanying drum change, this is probably an idea that should have been investigated further as the band doesn’t really explore it much more in the song before throwing out more common denominator groove riffs. “Enemy Within” has a great thrashing opening that finally gives the album a feeling of energy and aggression, almost reminds me of the main riff to Overkill’s “Evil Never Dies”. Unfortunately God.Fear.None toss that idea rather quickly in favour of heavier Gothenburg riffing, that just ruins that whole feeling… though the band do revisit that opening riff later but by then it’s far too late.
ENVY is, “just another metalcore album” and nothing more. It’s bland and lacks feeling and any sort of emotion. Rarely does the music elicit any sort of reaction from the listener. God.Fear.None are entering a genre of music that is already horribly overpopulated and has little room for growth. Unfortunately for the band, they are part of the problem and not the solution.