God Fear None
God Fear None - Envy - 2005 - Sonic Age Records
|Track Listing1. Free Fall|
2. Idle Self
3. Eyes Of Hatred
4. 04.24 Hours
5. Momentary Lapse
6. Sons Of Insanity
8. Enemy Within
9. In A Shallow End
10. Death's Design
Wow, this is certainly a surprise. Greece's Sonic Age Records has cut their teeth on classic metal stylings, releasing quality gems from the likes of Overlorde, Hellfire, Valkija, Made Of Iron, and Manilla Road. The label seems hellbent on a quest to discover the very best in underground classic metal, possibly being the best current power metal label in the free world. From out of nowhere comes their newest title, God Fear None and their debut record "Envy". This is completely different from what Sonic Age has been dishing out, with "Envy" being something that Roadrunner Records or one of the majors would release. Not that their is anything wrong with it, it just doesn't fit. It is like wearing two different shoes. But props to the label for mixing it up a bit. If you look back at the early beginnings of Century Media you will see a label that started just like Sonic Age, with a variety of genres explored in depth with their roster. So fellow power metal fans, I introduce you to a new sound from Sonic Age, the more mainstream approach with God Fear None.
As one would expect God Fear None are from Greece, with the band being created from the ashes of SadWings. The band was formed by guitarist Jim Voutsas with the idea to create a more aggressive and intense sound. "Envy" is exactly that, building on the same blueprints drawn up by Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, and Soilwork. The band tends to use speed and melody as their primary element, at times almost sounding neo-classical with their precise and calculated leads. For the most part this sort of thing has been done to death, but this group seems to find a little extra spark to add to the familiar mix.
Vocalist/bassist Domenik and "core" vocalist Chronis team up to pull double duty on the vocal front. This is a unique idea and one that seems to work well. Chronis of course seems to hit the lows, with plenty of hardcore styled shouting while Domenik seems to add a bit more texture to the group, allowing some more clean and spoken passages. The combo of Chris Mike and Jim Voutsas is mesmerizing at times, leading into a domain that is very Bay-Area oriented, with plenty of Metallica and Megadeth styled chops coming to light. Founder Jim Voutsas does a superb job behind the control panel, recording, mixing, and mastering this effort and giving it a sound and life that can compete with some of the best producers in the business.
The main idea behind this debut is New Wave Of American Heavy Metal. The band refuses to back themselves into a corner with hip-hop stylings or over the top hardcore. I think the band works well by limiting the aggression to an extent and concentrating more on song structure and arrangements. The melody and guitar licks on here really captivate the band, taking the group's primary objectives and loosening it up a bit. What remains is an excellent album that runs the same borders as today's more "mechanical" bands, but at the same time allows some room for the listener to hear some other things. I think the real ear candy here is the leads and scorching melody. Favorite cuts for me are "Momentary Lapse" and "Death's Design".