Continuing their knack at bringing prime punk rock in many guises to the world, Thumper Punk Records have done it again with God Bless The World, Not Just America the debut album from US band Fear God. A faith driven collection of songs which will spark the appetite of any old school punks no matter their beliefs, the album is a stirring and infectious slice of sincere and rowdy punk riots.
The solo project of veteran Orange County punk rocker Doug Jutras, the album is the result of its creator making a change in his life and finding a focus to all things through faith. Having struggled and recovered from severe back injuries and the challenges brought by his punk lifestyle from his early teens, Jutras found his clarity in life and wrote the album to hopefully inspire and give hope to others. Taking influences from the likes of Social Distortion, TSOL, The Damned, and Call to Glory, he has brought forth an album which works with the theme of the title whilst unleashing a dozen brawls of punk rock to satisfy the hearts of old school punk fans. As with a great many faith driven releases the constant heart of the album does inspire a little resistance to those with different thoughts and inspirations but God Bless The World, Not Just America does not preach and offers musically plenty to bypass that aspect and for like-minded souls and those open to the ideas and possibilities portrayed, it is a release which is likely to inspire as the artist hopes.
The raw energy of He Forgets rampages through the ear first, the great infectious bassline and thumping riffs a ready and hungry companion to the coarse riffs and catchy vocals. It is punk at its simplest and best offered with extra flair and invention, with especially the bass a magnet for the senses and primal rhythms inside. The great four string lure continues into the following Love God, the instrument and song recalling the early days of The Damned, Suburban Studs, and Circle Jerks. It is an impressive start which hardly fluctuates in quality and appeal as the album continues.
The release offers up some good surprises too amongst the more expected pink bruises starting with What Am I Doing Here, a track with Jutras narrating his thoughts and experiences through spoken word upon an emotive and suggested musical ambience. The song switches to a quick fire onslaught reminding of early Skids and then switches across the rest of the track with skill and pleasing imagination. It is an intriguing and evocative track as is the equally provoking Kelly Testimony. Consisting of a retelling of her life by a female voice over acoustic and again emotive sounds, the song is a tale which shocks and reassures. It is a clever and effective song which all can draw something from whatever their circumstances in the past and now.
Tracks like Devil’s Mark with its Misfits/Dead Kennedys breath and the garage blues lilted Can’t U Be There please and light nostalgic emotions with their uncomplicated and enjoyable sounds but the highest pinnacles come with God Bless the World and Closer He Gets to You. The first is a contagious pop punk graced slice of melodic rock with a female coaxing assisting Jutras which brings essences of Honey Bane to the pop dance of the track whilst the second is a fiery abrasion of harsh riffs and stirring intent offering a mix of Social Distortion and Angelic Upstarts and giving further variation to the album as a whole. This diversity brings a breath of different times and flavours from the genre which is as refreshing as the songs itself and adds to the overwhelming pleasure of the album.
The grazing energy of Dying World is another treat before the album closes what is a pleasing and energising encounter. If good original punk has been in short supply for your ears and heart lately then Fear God is the perfect tonic to restore your faith in punk rock and maybe more besides.
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