Note: I wrote this review for Freqzine.net, check them out.
It’s time someone finally said it; Ben Koller is quite possibly the Dave Lombardo of his generation. Now, Lombardo’s technicality may be outclassed by modern day metal standards, but what few drummers can match stillis his propulsive feel.
Koller is one of the special few. When he flies into an up-tempo 4/4 beat, you know it’s going down. And he absolutely tears it up on God Is War; a record that simply refuses to calm down from start to finish. Koller’s playing, and Converge band mate Kurt Ballou’s typically ripping production on this first full-length from All Pigs Must Die, mean comparisons to Converge are inevitable. But there’s something more macho going on here. Whereas lyrically Converge deal mostly in bitterness and heartbreak, APMD have more global matters on their minds. As the album title hints, themes on war and destruction are in no short supply.
The vocals, provided by The Hope Conspiracy’s Kevin Baker are suitably livid and the guitar and bass much more frantic than the stoner musings of Adam Wentworth and Matt Woods’ other band, Bloodhorse. Opener “Death Dealer” spends its first minute pretending to be quite melodic before switching to frenzied blast beats. “Third World Genocide” (which nods to the riff from Napalm Death’s “Cock Rock Alienation”) is a proper fight to the death; all ‘bayonets through the eye’ and Geneva Convention ignorance. Closer “Sadistic Vindicator” is a chameleonic eight-and-a-half minute epic that lets APMD slow down a touch, focus their brawn, and find something genuinely approaching subtlety.
Whether we’ll see another album is anyone’s guess, but for something that isn’t really any members’ main project, it’s a surprisingly consistent whole. There are thousands of bands out there trying to impress the importance of their rage upon you, but not many of them do it with this much violent pizazz.