Hailing from the haunted Black Country, God Damn have mutated their uncompromising, genre-bending sound to conjure up something brutally ambitious. The resulting concoction, Raw Coward, is relentlessly noisy, unapologetic rock and roll – a collection of tracks working its cynical black magic until the feedback fades out.
Following the release of 2020’s self-titled third LP, God Damn have been working in the shadows – moulding, shaping, crafting a hyper-intense album that sinks its fangs into social issues; tearing into nationalism, capitalism, and the music industry with venom. After introducing their fuzz-drenched LP with ‘English Slaughterhouse Blues’, God Damn dive headfirst into ‘Yout’, an abrasive sludge anthem that foreshadows a repeated theme… A false sense of pride. “When he was just a baby / His mother told him, son / Be a good English boy / And sell the world their guns.” Only personal growth will lead to true identity: “Hey, youth / Thank fuck for attitude / When will you find yourself?”
The attack continues with ‘Radiation Acid Queen’ and ‘Cowkaine’; drummer Ash Weaver’s relentless big brash strikes piercing through the distorted chaos created by the disquiet quartet. Quickly try to catch your breath! ‘Shit Guitar’ is easily the heaviest track on an LP already threatening to buckle from its own weight – unleashing doom-laden hooks (courtesy of frontman Thomas Edwards and Rob Graham) and Vantablack humour on a canvas of deadened self-awareness. Lamenting capitalist slave drivers, Edwards’ voice becomes strained under the ferocity of his raw delivery: “There’s no such thing as rock and roll / There’s no such thing as god / So climb down from your crucifix and play it like guitar / Your idols are all paedophiles who sold you who you are.”
The hypnotic ‘Little Dead Souls’ (Pt.1) and its equally addictive sequel (Pt.2) are complemented by Hannah Al-Shemmeri’s spooky, aberrant key tones, which when listened to as a singular soundscape, becomes a behemoth pairing; monstrous, sinister and unabating. ‘Drop Me Off Where They Clean The Dead Up’ follows with an equally irresistible progressive groove before the title track, ‘Raw Coward’, rips open the fabric of space with obnoxious guitar riffs and visceral lyricism.
Closing with the revolting ‘Dogshit In The Autumn Leaves’, God Damn leave their shit-stained footprint on the DIY music scene. Breathe it in! After wanting to “do away with all the dick-swinging gear wankery elitism”, Edwards engineered and produced Raw Coward himself through lessons learned from working with the legendary Sylvia Massy. Raw, explicit, experimental and intelligent, the end result is a crucial album of rock and roll rebellion; a melding of ’70s/’80s doom metal with ’90s grunge and other off-kilter influences that both disturb and inspire.
Raw Coward is out now through One Little Independent Records, with art and design from Hannah Al-Shemmeri.