Godchilla – “Hypnopolis” (2017)

Godchilla are another of those Icelandic bands we’d heard of, but for whatever reason never managed to see perform live over the years.  We corrected that oversight at Airwaves this year, catching their set at Gamla Bíó (♠) (below) and came away more than a little impressed with their brand of sludge.

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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.

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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.

Hypnopolis is available through the Godchilla Bandcamp page HERE, and I should note it comes with a pretty sweet poster – so if you find a used copy, make sure that’s included or get the seller to knock a few bucks off the price.

(♠)  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.

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