God Damn – The Cellar, Oxford 22/5/16
Metal bands are certainly a strange and wonderful beast. Often displaying a dazzling array of technical wizardry, high octane stage antics and a real passion for the music they create, the genre, although almost exclusively in the peripheries of the industry, almost guarantees, if nothing else, an entertaining and invigorating evenings music and God Damn were no different in that respect. With an album to be released at some stage this year, God Damn closed their UK tour in Oxford and certainly saved some savagery and chaos for their finale.
Although creating a sound which to the untrained ear may well seem like a lot of noise and hot air, from the moment God Damn take to the stage the spirit and exuberance the two piece exhibit is enough to carry the gig, regardless of the music they play which touches bases with hardcore, screamo and stoner rock. Their ability to sit in between multiple styles with each song adding a little more to their eclectic repertoire keeps the audience very much on their toes and apart from the unrelenting energy God Damn exude, there are variants and textures to stop that familiar feeling of being bombarded with distortion and low end.
Another factor which is tantamount for a good gig was the bands ability to interact with its audience, the lead singer spending a large portion of the show in the crowd, as though they were as tangible a part of the entertainment as the stage and the instruments and there was a playful element to their performance, the band clearly refusing to take itself too seriously despite the melancholic, riot inducing barrage of noise they expelled.
The new tracks the band have assembled have a slightly more accessible element to them with a more rigid structure and strong choruses and this could perhaps prove to be a real feather in the cap for God Damn as the bands in this genre that achieve real longevity have to incorporate hooks and catchy elements to reel in listeners from a wider landscape. Technically they exhibit all the hallmarks of an out and out metal band, quite ridiculous shedding and trademark roars but God Damn have an intelligence to what they do and appear to understand their market. Hopefully that will give them the longevity and acclaim they deserve. All in all one of the most enjoyable nights of music in Oxford this year and God Damn was it loud.