God - The Anatomy of Addiction (1994), 7/10

The sound achieved on The Anatomy of Addiction is substantially heavy and wonderfully aggressive, but the results are not fully realized until the album settles into its themes and explores more complex approaches to metal and funk. The most obviously Swans-esque track that we hear, bringing forth the comparison, is “Body Horror” with its repetition meeting Martin’s repeated guttural chanting. Tracks that attempt more and are more ambitious like “Lazarus” and its inclusion of horns along with a more atmospheric approach to sound are more successful than ones like the opener that feels more like a simple, although satisfying, industrial sound. Some passages and their riffs are worth their weight and feel rewarding enough to warrant their lengthy stay, while others simply aren’t interesting enough to satiate a want for God’s ominous sound for such long songs and quickly become tiresome. It isn’t as tortured or crazy as a lot of true metal, even their previous work, because of its funk leanings, which again works quite well most of the time, especially on a dense yet droning song that erupts into maniacal chaos like “Voodoo Head Blows”, one of the album’s highlights and a peak in satisfying complexity. This alternating chaotic apocalyptic wall of noise with the surreal landscape of a track like “Bloodstream” is paced perfectly and seductively rewarding, much like the payoff of an ambient or post-rock record fused with jazz tropes. The strength of the middle section makes me frustrated with the aesthetics of the introduction, but I suppose that’s why it isn’t considered an industrial masterpiece along with its disparity and inconsistent approach to composition. I also find Kevin Martin’s vocals hit or miss depending on the narrative of each song, sometimes they are markedly satisfying and sometimes they are grating against their accompanying vehicle of instrumentation. Still, there is an individuality in sonics that give most sections significant virility, even “Driving the Demons Out”, while it should be frustratingly repetitive for its simple riff, explores enough unmarked ground to stay fresh and interesting for almost seven minutes. The Anatomy of Addiction is heavy and angry, droning and surreal, even genuinely surprising in its breadth of sound, making it God’s best release and a formidable entry for experimental metal.