This… is one weird record.
Full of contradictions, conundrums, questions…. Strangely squirmy when you try to understand it. Hard to pin down.
Point one: the cool logo above. It at first looks indecipherable, a completely unreadable band logo of the week sorta thing, but if you look directly at it, it’s quite clear: God Ox is right there. In addition, the top looks like a menorah, the bottom an inverted cross; you’d think they’re Jewish Satanists. OR: Jews who understand (and somehow want you to know) the inverted cross was initially a symbol of great piety. God Ox seem literate. (More on that below.) I’m sure they’re aware.
Point two: lyrics. If you actually wanted to search them out, you’d find there are more medical studies and theoretical journal articles on the relationship between “creativity” and “mental disorder” than… I don’t know… than Jus Oborn has bongs. Than Kerry King has beard trimming equipment. Than Varg Vikernes has lube. (Too much?)
My point IS–I thought perhaps the weirdness/awesomeness of the music and lyrics in Abyssal Gigantism came from singer Mr. Ox’s* madness. Always a good sign in a metal band, when you question their sanity. Works for Watain, after all.
As is obvious if you look at their myspace page (the column at the right, specifically), God Ox have a pagan/ evangelical tint to their lyrics similar to what Monster Magnet, Valient Thorr and the Reverend Horton Heat do– an absurdist, Flannery O’Connor/ David Lynch crazy southern preacher sorta vibe–
–which isn’t really that unusual in metal, or music at all, really.
What is weird, is that the lyrics are extremely intelligent (i.e., well-read, and they don’t talk down to the listener, like a lot of metal does) and are seemingly very devout (the final track here is called “The Ontological Argument for the Existence of Lord God**,” for frak’s sake). Every song, as far as is obvious, deals with a fascination with God, which brings us to point three:
The singer/ writer is seemingly fascinated/ despairing/ angry with God, but not because they think God doesn’t exist…
…but because they’re afraid he actually does.
There’s nothing but Goddamned God… My lord, am I a part of thee?
See nothing like you anywhere in front of me…
My God, will I return to thee?
Oh please don’t tell me, tell me I’m already home. (From “Eriugena.”)
Crazy on, Mr. Ox!
Opener, “Ox Flu Zombie Apocalypse” drops into a lovely lurching “elephants marching” riff at around 2:00 and closes out the song with the same type of riff….
“Eriugena” starts with acoustic, bent/slid notes segueing into a riff that seems left out of Down’s NOLA… [a compliment]… then at around 4:15 drops back into an acoustic, bell-sounding noodly riff which takes off again 15 seconds later.
The last two tracks, “Priest Infection” and the above-mentioned “The Ontological Argument for the Existence of Lord God” (with its Blind-era COC/ Pantera sounding opening riff, and a sweet chuggy one that starts at 0:45) are the best tracks: clever riffs, heavy yet varied, and they hold interest, seemingly the most mature, song-writing wise, on the album.
The album ends with doomy organ music that fades out to nothing.
There are problems, too, sure. The riffs and music are well done, rocking doom metal, but nothing you haven’t heard before. And though the song sections usually blend pretty well, even when they drastically change in the same song (kudos for being able to do that), they can still be rough and jarring, too.
It’s a solid B+ or 7.5/10 of an album, very worth getting in and of itself.
It’s cooler because of what it suggests God Ox will do. Where they might go with their musical gifts.
Really get your hands on your muse, God Ox guy. Then release your Master of Puppets. Your Dopethrone. Your Volume 4.
Now get on it, I don’t have all decade.