No Gods No Masters – S/T EP – CD/DD 2013

No Gods No Masters - S/THaving been described as a NOLA infused sludge/doom outfit, my immediate excitement to hear No Gods No Masters‘ 4 song EP was tempered with a bit of skepticism. When one draws comparisons (as in the bio) to such high caliber acts as The Cro-Mags (and Electric Wizard, for that matter), you have the potential to consistently fall short of the bar. Well, ladies and gentlemen, this Netherlands act delivers in spades, assuring a pleasing and punishing listening experience. And trust me, after this kind of beating, you’ll be begging for more.

Opener ‘Ni Dieu Ni Maître’ sets the tone for the album, pairing a swampy blues driving riff with galloping rhythms, both complimented by a crushing, bottom heavy production. And let me emphasize: the guitar tone here is dark, thick, and like chunky honey for the ears…their rig deserves a nod, even more so for maintaining instrument clarity throughout it all. They continue with ‘Lost for Words’, a personal favorite and impressive mainly in its ability to invoke the same kind of brooding, droning melancholy so beautifully captured in the latter half of Electric Wizard’s ‘We Live’ LP. Whereas Oborn and Co. might tweak the same riff for an additional 7-8 minutes of jamming, No Gods No Masters gets to the point with NYC hardcore urgency, with mid tempo breaks and mosh heavy grooves to keep the listener engaged.

Follow up track, ‘Lie To Me’, is an all-out assault on the senses, where one could trade in the drumsticks for mallets and meat cleavers. The riffs here are as much about texture as they are structure complimenting the staccato rhythms with an almost percussive quality. Closer ‘Retired’ has a very nice building intro but kicks into steady state at about the 3:16 mark when a smooth groove sets in to keep the head nodding. No Gods No Masters introduces some very tasteful melodic solo work at this point, creating a climactic feel to the affair.

Despite a uni-dimensional quality to the traditional growling vocal style employed here, No Gods No Masters have crafted a very nice short collection of tracks, displaying a maturity in song writing expected of musicians who’ve been around the block. Highly recommended.

Label: Self Released
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp

Scribed by: Jeremy Moore