Review: “Dark Fields” by God Shaped Devil

Manchester is the home of a quartet that go by the name of God Shaped Devil. Made up of vocalist and lead guitarist Bex Fuzery, rhythm guitarist Matt Morris, Lajos Borsi on bass and Luke Ellwood on drums, the band infuse Thrash with Sludge and Groove Metal to create their sound. Interestingly, Bex and Lajos both originate from Hungary, although they didn’t know each other at the time! This is their debut full length album after a pair of EPs.

From the atmospheric chug laiden opening of “Guiding Light” it’s obvious that there is a certain amount of Crowbar influence on God Shaped Devil. The vocal tones remind of earlier Transport League albums like “Satanic Panic” with the Sludge Metal rhythm riffage being highlighted by a brighter 2000 era Metalcore lead element that lifts everything. It’s a vocally sparse cut that instead relies on those guitars to bring it home. “Drowning Gravity” sees Bex Fuzery showing increased vocal depth with a dark growl across the title of the song that is a departure from his usual, wetter unclean style. The mesmerising technical solo isn’t perhaps something you’d expect to appear on a cut like this having heard the opening track, but it works really well alongside the tempo shifts to make the song greater than the sum of its parts. Taking a Thrashier approach “Deadly Sign” is almost two tracks in one as it transitions from the first half into a bridge that is absolutely fantastic. The change in guitar tone followed by another blistering technical solo that also demonstrates plenty of control is just magic. The accented vocals make the band sound more European than in fact they are and that gives the whole thing bags of charm. If this was on vinyl or cassette “Barbed Wire” would complete the first half. A thunderous cut with a battering kit performance from Luke Ellwood, a surprise buried Jeffrey Nothing (Nothing, ex-Mushroomhead) esq vocal moment and a melodic bridge are all on offer, surrounded by a whirlwind of riffs. The nuances bleed out over multiple listens so you may blink and miss them the first couple of times around, but like a good motion picture, you get more from it as you listen again.

Starting the second half with a galloping kit and riff part that bursts into the first verse “Becoming Evil” has an early career Shadows Fall vibe going on with it as it chops down riffs like trees in a dark forest. It eclipses the 5 minute mark with first some buried lead parts and then a face melting solo that can be piled into the growing stack at this point. God Shaped Devil have the sound balance within their songs down to a fine art and when this one closes with an off kilter warped vinyl sounding lead, its another stand out moment. Introducing some haunt with a clean guitar tone introduction for “Delusion” gives the main riff when it kicks in a modernized early Megadeth sound until the vocals kick in and shatter any illusion that you might have. The battering rhythmics of the post verse guitar work are immense and come with that buried aforementioned clean vocal element that we’d like to hear more of. Again with lead flourishes a plenty in the second half, this cut is a continuation of the quality on show and at 8 tracks over 42 minutes, it’s all killer no filler. “Bloodstain” could be called “This House is Burning” if God Shaped Devil went with longer song titles. A echoed out vocal that sounds like a “Bleigh!” moment but is perhaps “Back” appears twice as a decent touch while a Progressive Metal solo bridge so serves as a real highlight. Album closer and title track “Dark Fields” is the shortest cut on the album at 3 minutes and 15 seconds (with the rest averaging 5 minutes plus) and is a blistering instrumental affair with all of the elements of the album and a few of it’s own wrapped tightly into a neat package. Honestly, just go and do your ears a favour and check this out [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Guiding Light
  2. Drowning Gravity
  3. Deadly Sign
  4. Barbed Wire
  5. Becoming Evil
  6. Delusion
  7. Bloodstain
  8. Dark Fields (Instrumental)

“Dark Fields” by God Shaped Devil is out now!

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