Review: “Aligned To The Grid” by Godhead Machinery

Unorthodox Swedish Blackened Death Metallers Godhead Machinery have returned for their sophomore album “Aligned To The Grid” andand sign to Finnish label Inverse Records. The follow up to 2017’s “Ouroboros” sees vocalist Niklas Ekwall joined by Guitarists Robert Kail Karlsson (who also did the impressive cover art) and Tommy Ericson with a rhythm section of bassist Daniel Forsberg and drummer Marcus Somliga Andersson.

Released a month before the album saw the cold light of day “Tithe II” brings a haunting melodic intro and film sample speech about greed before it sweeps into a flourish of frenetic blast beats and classic Black Metal riffage. Ekwall’s vocals sit as a growling unclean constant in the bands whirlwind of instrumentation. Second pre-release single “Alpha” continues that controlled chaos with Andersson’s at times break neck speed kit work giving him a serious work out. It builds on traditional structures and there is a hint of a Progressive Black Metal sound underlying as the guitars build through the track to create an epic ebb and flow. The dark classical piano and guitar introduction to “The Existential Strive” acts as a cloak for the coming verse with Ekwall’s vocals reaching some hither to unheard of lows with a more drawn out style. Imagine Max Cavalera in his Sepultura days on quarter speed, dragging the waters of a lake for corpses and you get the idea. The decision to continue the conversation of political and religious greed with very similar lyrical themes to the bands debut album on this sophomore effort perhaps tells us that the state of the World has not changed in that time.

Bringing back the speech samples “Call of the Banner” doesn’t use some old speeches from black and white movies but instead Godhead Machinery opt for something of a news piece. It explores the phycological state of mind in the absence of vocals while the band demonstrate how to create an atmosphere in fine style. Bringing a menacing overtone of off kilter riffs and thunderous bass from Forsberg “Defiant Silence” attacks in waves and managing to sound like it’s been done in a single take. The obvious anti religious song title in “Hymns of the Wicked” has a weight of expectation to it and the 61 second choral piece is quickly savaged by the opening riffs of “Above a Legion of Equals”. Those Choral elements continue into the later track as the demonic vocals cut through the guitar work. Does it need to have a separate introduction track? Probably not, the two could be intertwined happily. Does it work? Hell yes! They are an epic pair that make the mid section of the album shine in black light! Throughout the album there is a clear intension to add a greater depth and bigger dynamic than the bands debut “Ouroboros” perhaps showed and if evidence was needed, this pair together are the perfect example of that.

Starting with a gutteral roar over blast beats “Impassive Atrocity” speaks of failed indoctrination. Gorthaur’s Wrath comparisons might be a little left of the mark for this cut but for the album as whole and the stylings that the band are looking the achieve they seem right. The only song in the bands native Swedish is “Illusion”. It’s always a nice touch when bands do that and this is a fine example of where their native language is a better fit for the music than English would be. A bold cut, it moves through dark atmospherics infusing Melodic elements to some more chaotic sounds. To end with the title track seems like a bold move. Usually reserved for the albums finest moment, Godhead Machinery do just that and save their best for last. “Aligned to the Grid” tells the tale of Mankind in a modern age, following the same patterns of old in ever expanding concentric circles. After a spoken word over a couple of minutes of acoustic guitar it explodes into a full on black metal soaked foray of epic proportions [7.5/10]

Track list

1. Tithe II
2. Alpha
3. The Existential Strive
4. Call of the Banner
5. Defiant Silence
6. Hymns of the Wicked
7. Above a Legion of Equals
8. Impassive Atrocity
9. Illusion
10. Aligned to the Grid

“Aligned to the Grid” by Godhead Machinery is out now via Inverse Records!

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