April 13, 2023

From their very beginning in 2010, the Athenian heavy rock roller-coaster Godsleep has based its very existence on powerful live appearances, including the participation in high profile rock festivals all around Europe and a full European tour in support of their critically acclaimed 2015 debut album Thousand Sons of Sleep on Rock Freaks Records. Since then, the band has have been working relentlessly on their way to entering the heavy rock pantheon.

Having been described as one of the most promising bands of the heavy/psychedelic rock sound, they followed up with Coming of Age in 2018, which was released by legendary Greek underground rock record label The Lab Records and again generated strong (positive!) reactions from both press and fans. The album kept the core ingredients of their sound intact: heavy/fuzzy guitars, thick bass lines and powerful groovy drumming, and the band added a new dimension through new singer Amie Markis who supplies edgy vocals which vary from psychedelic howls and haunting melodies to throat-ripping manic screams!

Now five years later, Godsleep return with their third album Lies to Survive, released on “Ouga Booga and the Mighty Oug” Records in April 2023.
This new effort showcases the band’s penchant for layering fuzzy, infectious riffs with engaging melodies, yet it also shows their eagerness to branch out into other areas bringing in elements of electronica, noise-rock and even punk-rock elements like on the raucous Pots of Hell. 

Booster is a case in point. The album’s opener has an initial section quietly dominated by almost proggy synths to start with, plus singer Amie Markis doing an almost Patti Smith-like rant about living in fear, before unleashing the rest of the band in a prog-influenced psych-rock work-out. An intriguing start, further thrown wide-open by the following number Pots of Hell, which is a sort of full-on Siouxsie and the Banshees-style punk number morphing into a backbeat of fuzzed out bass and powerchords. An energetic and dramatic choice of single!

Room 404 could almost be early Sabbath to start with! It’s got quite a spooky intro, its a bit slower than the first two and Amie’s voice is more controlled, melodic (and stronger for it in my humble). It builds and builds, with a big chorus and powerchord section, ending with a haunting guitar solo. Saturday is next, it’s very, very, radio friendly and I think would have been a better choice for single. Extremely sing-along-able, with just a touch of fuzz-rock. At 6:18, it’s perhaps too long for a single but hey!

I’m trying to pin down who Amie reminds me of – Garbage’s Shirley Mansun perhaps? Cyndi Lauper? Sleeper’s Louise Wener? You get the general idea!

Cracks is yer traditional heads-down-boogie, full of energy with a whopper of a riff and the band’s signature fuzzed lead guitar. More single material, but Markis must have had a sore larynx by the time they’d recorded this one! Breakfast by contrast is a gentle laid-back melody with soft vocals (compare that to the last track!), nice loping bassline, altogether a touch of the Red Hot Chillies about this, it’s nice! Pavement reverts to high energy melodies, very power-pop, a real crowd-pleaser.

Next up, Better Days is quite ethereal, using a slow, shadowy start. An interesting juxtaposition of loping bass, fuzzed chords and crisp, sparse percussion underpin impassioned echoey vocals. This is quality alt-rock, showing how the band has grown. Egonation is another example of this progression, with a spikey Garbage-like sound and arrangement. Again that loping bass – love it! – and some electronica coming to the fore, before the track winds up with some nicely cutting guitar and piano work.

The band enter into new territory with Permanent Vacation, much more electronica and organ tones, overlaid with some spicey guitar notes and chords. It’s sort of New Age Godsleep. I’m not quite sure what to make of this one, quite prog-metal, it feels like an experimental work-out. The closer Last Song is the longest track on the album and is another another slab of electronica / synthwave – programmed drums and all. It builds organically and symphonically in the hallowed traditions of Prog, demonstrating just how far the band’s ideas have come. Some won’t be comfortable with this new direction but there’s no doubt this is their most mature and confident album to date and fans of bands like Royal Thunder will absolutely love it.