God’s Lonely Men: Chemical Landslide – album review

God’s Lonely Men – Chemical Landslide (Unlatched Records)
CD/DL
Out Now

Proving that old dogs can learn new tricks, God’s Lonely Men offer up classic punk paying homage to their past while looking to the future. LTW’s Philip Thompson takes a listen.

The clue to this band’s pedigree is in their name. GLM, or God’s Lonely Men to give them their full title, is lifted from the second Lurkers album of 1979 and is the name of the new musical venture of original and long-time Lurkers Pete Stride, Nigel Moore and Pete “Manic Esso” Haynes. This album, while by no means an exercise in pure nostalgia, will definitely find favour with those of us who love the old-skool Lurkers stuff.

Originally, the Lurkers perhaps shared a musical naivety with The Ramones– a penchant for big choruses and major-chord, heads-down, shout-along punk- mixed with a bit of a harder, and most definitely British, edge. GLM have taken that blueprint, extended it, refined and, crucially, made it heavier by several tons.

From the off, opening track “Every Night’s A Story”, it’s clear that the band have not lost their knack for penning an infectious tune, and the guitar, bass and drum onslaught hits like a sledgehammer which barely lets up for the next 40-odd minutes. Esso’s drums are machine guns, and Pete Stride’s guitar work nowadays most definitely leans towards the metal end of the spectrum but is none the worse for that. Nigel Moore’s growling bass work pins the whole thing together.

 

The title track boasts an almost Clash-esque Mick Jones style one-note riff which neatly compliments the lyric, an almost wistful reflection on times gone by. As if to prove that he’s no one-note pony, Stride’s guitar solo then pins you to the wall and slaps you about a bit in a flurry of proto-metal fretting. There are moments of tense dynamism in the likes of “Surviving”, with its military-beat dropout section and punk-along chorus, and “Here Comes My Life” which lulls the listener in with a Spanish guitar tinged intro before the blitzkrieg riffing kicks in.

The album has found its pace by the time “Beyond The Pale” barrels in with Stride opining “my halo’s on the ground” and the repeated “Can you turn the lights down?” refrain. There is a lyrical melancholy throughout the album which Stride’s vocal delivery matches with a haunting menace. You’re left with the impression that you don’t want to meet this guy down a dark alley. “Crash Landing” and “Bad Caroline” are serviceable rockers, perhaps more redolent of the old days, then there’s a final repeated refrain of “Chemical Landslide” to finish off.

All in all, this is an album full of great punk guitar riffs, sing-along choruses and pile-driver instrumentation. I ain’t got a clue (sorry, couldn’t resist) what the score is between GLM and the current incarnation of the Lurkers but, on the strength of this outing, it’s clearly legitimate that they should strive to break out of the confines of the past and create something modern, whilst still retaining respect for their legacy.

This apocalyptic maelstrom of an album achieves that admirably. A soundtrack to the end of the world and beyond.

All words by Philip Thompson. More writing by Philip on Louder Than War can be found here. You can follow Philip on twitter at https://twitter.com/philestein54 and check out his band Bug at their website www.bugpunk.co.uk.

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