Without GodWith a name like Without God one would expect to be barraged by some unholy, blasphemous and death like sermon that attacks with scorn and venom from all quarters but nope, you should indeed never judge things by name alone and there is plenty of colour to this lot of Russians found lurking beneath their second album’s very garish and in the face cover art. Solitude Productions are well versed in giving us plenty of miserable as sin bands from the region but this lot are actually somewhat cheerful as well, which was rather a surprise on first play of this somewhat addictive disc. Without God’s doomed demeanour veers much more heavily on the stoner side of things, so it’s a case of make a brew, light one up and let the power of the riffs compel you here rather than be prepared to be drenched in utmost gloom and doom.

The title track bounces straight in and has a Cathedral type stomping feel about it with some nice wah laden guitar riffs. Singer / guitarist Anton has a real good clear and harmonious voice with both authority and melody coming through loud and clearly here. Listening to this blind I would have probably guessed this lot were from the USA or Britain, certainly not Russia as this has me nodding head and tapping feet in time wanting to actually be getting down to the band at a gig. Some of the down and dirty bass work really reminds me of Type O Negative here and along with them and the over vibe from the band this leads more in line with Seventh Void and A Pale Horse Named Death. It’s got a great feel to the bottom end and this grooves away like a veritable mother trucker! Although more upbeat than anticipated it’s not all happy thematically with numbers like ‘Where The Sun Doesn’t Shine’ being a perfect soundtrack to go with the rain hitting the window whilst I wright this. Nice fuzz laden riffs and a weighty ballast lead the heavy set melody along and even though this is a place “where nothing grows,” musically it flourishes and the chorus is strong and certainly isn’t withering.There’s nothing urgent or hurried going on here and songs are given plenty of time to develop with long flowing riffs jamming away over anything up to an eight minute duration but the band manage to do so without getting stale in the slightest.

‘The Mushroom Man’ sounds like a fun guy (sorry) and with spring like tenacity jumps up and down, this really is a bouncy album with some great clean vocal croons accentuating the jaunty musicianship. ‘Fear’ is far more jolly than one anticipates and even rather cheeky with a Sabbathian Supernaut rock n rollin riff coursing somewhat unashamedly through it making it all the more identifiable. ‘Helter Skelter’ takes us to the bummer of love in a slow plodding fashion like Manson’s acolytes on a creepy craw, thick cloying and sludgy it’s got a leaden feel of dread about it which will have heads bowing down in its wake. Last track ‘Good Evil’ goes out on a flare shuffling high with some blues laden riffing and a melody that is going to embed itself in your head and make you want to give this another spin all over again at the nearest opportunity.

This is one of those albums that ended up on my review pile kind of by default and I’m really glad it did as it’s been a good solid ride through and through and one that has made me really want to check out debut 2011 ‘Lambs To The Slaughter’ Without God are definitely my kind of freaks.

(8/10 Pete Woods)