“Paradoxical thoughts and musings of confliction. Debating the good and evil of religion and morals, questioning what I believe in rather than just finding the flaws in what others choose to follow blindly. Album closer Satellite Prongs is about what I would like to happen to me when I die. I don't want a coffin, return me to the soil and beam me from our sun" ponders Edward, talking about the new record.
The lauded band recorded the album live over the course of just a few days with legendary producer Sylvia Massy (System of a Down, Smashing Pumpkins, Deftones, Johnny Cash, REM, Slayer, Babes In Toyland, Tool), even taking to a disused tube station to record parts for the album. “We needed that booming, reverberant drum sound with lots of decay. We recorded in Aldwych station, known for the storage of priceless art during wartime and the setting of the Prodigy's Firestarter music video.
“We were on the red tape and financial clock of 1hr to get the setup and recording of parts needed, that included hundreds of steps carrying heavy gear and getting the perfect take. There was a real creepy nostalgic feel to a periodic, abandoned tube station that really added to the sentiment of the song.”
The band, formerly a trio, then a two-piece, now again a trio, won a loyal cult fanbase with their dark rock debut ‘Vultures’, supporting Foo Fighters and appearing at Reading & Leeds Festival shortly after its release. They put out a critically acclaimed second album ‘Everything Ever’, produced by Ross Orton (The Fall, Drenge, Tricky, MIA) in 2016 to praise from Daniel P. Carter (R1), NME, Kerrang!, Clash and DIY. They toured the UK and Europe in support of the release with the likes of Thrice, Jamie Lenman, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnake, Red Fang and The Cribs.
The recording process saw God Damn experiment with countless microphone configurations, an amp in a Victorian oven, a fuzz pedal made from a lightbulb, someone moving a mic around the live room whilst recording (the human phaser effect), attaching a garden hosepipe to a mic to record drums, and much more that some would deem outlandish.
Indeed, the album treads new ground in more ways than just sonically, a deeply personal recurring theme throughout refers to the band’s sabbatical due to mental health problems, sleep deprivation and Thomas’ own journey raising his autistic son. “If you look at the footage of the album sessions, it’s clear I had a problem with strong painkillers” he explains.
Lead single ‘Dreamers’ opens the album with a visceral explosion of dense, chunky guitars, Edwards’ signature croon rips through the center. “This song is a foretelling of what will follow on the rest of the record. The themes are societal, the guitars are tuned right down to the first letter” he says. Following on, ‘High Frequency Words’ is reminiscent of The Eighties Matchbox B-line Disaster, it bolts the listener into submission, possessing all the power of a heavy rock classic but encased within a pop framework. “There is freedom of speech and there is being knowingly, unacceptably offensive. You should balance politics and identity.” This has always been God Damn’s charm, but on album three their unique magnetism and flair is well and truly honed. They are a band that has come into their own, writing and releasing on their own terms and without submitting to expectation.
Edward’s Church of England and Catholic background meant that Christianity was at the forefront of his childhood, something that has been brought into question into adulthood and subsequently explored on the album. “At an early age, I saw the hypocrisy on both sides. Does capitalism prefer spirituality or hard science? What is your version of God and religion? For me now, it's a healthy ecosystem and a smattering punk rock attitude.” The vocalist has battled with his faith for many years and truly calls it into question on God Damn.
“I consider it a right of mine to bring these ideals into question, considering my upbringing. How can I debate, and even bash Western pseudo-Christian views and get away with it? How dare I? I can because that's MY history to mull over, I'm not sorry if that offends you."