Godsend – In The Electric Mist

Rating: 2/5
Distributor/label: Petrichor Records
Released: 1995 (re-released March 2021)
Buy Album: order@napalmrecords.com
Band Website: N/A

Band Line Up:

Per Morten Kjöl – Vocals
Gunder – Guitars (rhythm & lead)
Tom – Guitars (rhythm)
Tommy – Bass
Henrik – Drums
Dan Swanö – Synthesizers, Percussion

Track Listing:

01. Down Upon You
02. Nobody Home
03. Life Must Go On
04. In The Bitter Waters
05. Clarion Call
06. Voyage In Oblivion
07. The Sun Will Shine Again
08. Lost
09. Under Silver Linings
10. Tranquillity
11. Thoughts And Shadows

Review:

Unfamiliar with Godsend’s background or material, a quick recce round the internet reveals that they were a Doom metal band stemming from the wonderful Norwegian town of Trondheim. Forming in 1991, they produced 3 albums before they decided to ‘gi opp spøkelsen’ (give up the ghost) and split up at some point in the late 90’s. Originally released by Holy Records in 1995, Petrichor decided the time was here to remaster this album and also make sure it saw a release on vinyl for the very first time. So let’s get into this.

The album cover promises much from a Doom perspective, a man is sitting on an electric chair in a wonderland of purple hues as does  ‘Down Upon You’, the album’s first track . Again it offers some positive things as it begins like a gargantuan plodding beast heading to war and is what you would expect from what is advertised as a Doom metal band. ‘Nobody Home’ is up next and hang on, this isn’t doom metal, this is actually stoner rock. In fact as we run through the album, the songs span several different genres even including hints of country music.

Moving from track to track, the journey is a blurry and confused adventure; although along the way there a couple of tunes, namely ‘Tranquility’ and ‘Under Silver Linings’ which fit neatly into the Doom mould and raise the bar briefly above the gathering murk. The stoner rock songs are more up tempo as you would expect and as well as the previously mentioned ‘Nobody Home’(was that a hint to what was to come?), ‘Life Must Go On’(not feeling it right now) and ‘Clarion Call’(definitely an option at this stage of proceedings) also fall into the happier category but somehow don’t lift the gloom. Additionally hiding in the mire, the song ‘Lost’ is ironically exactly that. It’s a song that just doesn’t fit on the album and it even has the nerve to fade out and then return for a short reprise.

Whilst it’s clear the guys can play, the construction of the songs is solid and the sound on the album is surprisingly clear, there is something missing here. I cannot help feel that the band couldn’t agree on what drugs they should take and whilst half of the band were going down, the other half were high and thus they produced a set of tunes which clearly don’t fit well together. Besides the confused genres, there is also nothing to elevate the band above the monotony of many of the songs here. There isn’t really any standout guitar or drumming, and although vocalist Per Morten Kjöl ‘s singing is not to be faulted, it just feels very ordinary. It’s almost like a climber getting halfway up a rock face and finding there are no places to grip to take them to the next level. Even the genius that is Dan Swanö (Katatonia and Bloodbath, amongst many others) who is on synthesizers and percussion here (also producer of the album), still can’t manage to lift the album above the dreariness.

I really wanted to like the first album that I was to review but sadly, this wasn’t the one for me. ‘In the Electric Mist’ could probably not be a more apt title as the band seem to lost their way when creating it and ended up down many beaten tracks in the fog. This may fit well into someone’s favourite style of music but I think that’s possibly the issue in that there is not one style here but many. I can’t help but harp back to the fact the band are no longer together and perhaps that’s because they couldn’t agree on what genre they wanted to sit in and thus whilst some songs appealed to some people, not all on the album would. Maybe they were right to ‘gi opp spøkelsen’ as they certainly weren’t a godsend!

Review by Graeme Smith
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