This year Godchilla dropped their second full-length album, Hypnopolis, their first on vinyl. Or is it their second? Because they put out a song on a split 5″ single alongside Pink Street Boys and released by Lady Boy Records, but technically that was on a plastic square. So while yes, it is a record; no, it was not vinyl… but I’m probably just splitting hairs here, since regardless of the material it’s still played on a record player. I just have a hard time thinking about some of these plastic discs as “records”. Which probably means I’m old and will soon start yelling at kids to get off my lawn.
After a brief, quiet intro Hypnopolis hits you right in the chest with a deep doom power chord, and from there it’s sheer ponderous weight with an almost religious oppressiveness. But it’s actually the next track, “Bum a Smoke/Trash a Car”, that kicks things into gear. We’ve still got the slow sludgy style, combined with vocals delivered with pure seriousness but still just a bit of a sense of humor. After all, it’s a song about bumming smokes and trashing cars. By “Dracoola” we’re back to something more akin to early Sabbath, parts of it played so slow that you almost have a hard time believing what you’re hearing. The pace accelerates over the second half of the song, eventually breaking free of it’s self-imposed steel cage. “Hannigan’s Mannequin” follows, and while it’s short at under three minutes Godchilla pick up the tempo a bit to create a solid metal number, one that you can rage to a bit. They close out the A side with the even faster and shorter “Holographic Capsules,” probably the most truly doom jam on the album with mid-range speed and guttural vocals; it just feels metal.
I’d seen Godchilla described as surf previously, and that element does come to light on the B side instrumental “1064°”, a drop-in on a 20′ foot wave that threatens to swallow you whole. Hypnopolis ends with the marathon nine-minute “Dreams of Osaka”, another almost religious-like experience, like a Colossus barring your way to freedom, physical density converted into music.
– Jeff Obermeyer
PS We also discovered, completely by accident, that Godchilla guitarist Hjalti Freyr Ragnarsson and bassist Birgir Sigurjón Birgisson actually make up the experimental electronic duo Panos From Komodo, a band that musically couldn’t be much more further removed from Godchilla.