You know you’re listening to something special, when there is that inexplicable feeling washing over you and there aren’t quite the words coming to mind to describe it. Children of God have crafted one such record. They’ve always been a band with a special something inside them, which was exhibited on earlier releases but this new LP, We Set Fire To The Sky, is a whole other beast.
The Orange County hardcore/sludge band’s newest aural offering, and their first full-length, is one of the most relentlessly intense records of 2013 so far and likely to be for the rest of the year. This intensity is mirrored by some changes in the band themselves, particularly in the fact that they have chosen to release the record entirely on their own, and according to the band they really tried to push the limits for this one.
“Since this band’s inception we have always tried to evolve and progress in our sound and this release is the next chapter in this band’s search for something more” – so read a recent blog post from the band and it couldn’t be more true. We Set Fire To The Sky is something more. Meshing grinding hardcore with brooding sludge, there are moments on this album that sound like [R]evolution of a Sun or Black Monolith only to be contrasted by sludgier shades like Old Man Gloom and there’s an undeniable sheen of Neurosis influence at play here too. It results in a 30 minute barrage of indescribable anguish and vitriol but also invigorating catharsis, evidenced by the opening grinding salvo of ‘Destroy Belief’ soon combated by the eerie and melancholic ‘Awaken’.
With themes of personal and social isolation, We Set Fire To The Sky is drenched in feelings of unease, desperation and trepidation. This is no more evident than with the seven minute album centrepiece, ‘Where Do They Go?’, first starting with creeping whispers that erupt into a hail of devastating riffing and almost d-beat aggression, which is intent on leaving you reeling and as a dizzying miasma takes control, the album closer, ‘Unknown’, ends the record on a deliriously unforgiving and dissonant note.
If there’s one way to describe We Set Fire To The Sky, it’s imposing. It’s a theme backed up by the LP’s artwork, which masters the art of saying so much with so little. Its design doesn’t give away much detail as to the sounds and vibes held within the record, which would be difficult to justly articulate. It’s a record that grinds and pummels but also mesmerises and enthrals, all in equal measure.