God Am has come a long way from the grungy alt metal beginnings of their 2015 self-titled EP. While that alt tinge still serves as an umbrella, the Indianapolis quartet has largely abandoned their brooding atmospherics on Phylactery of the Decayed in favor of more technical influences that cover a wide bulk of the metal spectrum. In addition to “Phylactery” serving as a symphonic overture, this album is full of intricate prog rhythms, anthemic melodeath chugs, doomy buildups on “Void in the Abyss,” and total thrash on “Derelict.”
Such eclecticism risks taking the musicians out of their element, but they end up unleashing a great deal of talent. A clean production job completely erases the mud, allowing for a sharp, dark guitar tone and bass that can be consistently felt even if it isn’t always in your face. The drums easily stand out the most, exhibiting an almost jazzy character through the subtle cymbal work, fluid fills, and tight double bass rhythms. They never get as brutal as the tech death bands they’re likely inspired by, but they don’t really need to be.
But through the transformation that’s taken place and the variety on display, the vocals still boast the EP’s Wednesday 13-esque sneer. A couple songs do mix in some faster lines and deep spoken word, but much of the delivery consists of a drawn-out shout that feels somewhat out of place with all the other things going on. The performance isn’t bad and it’s hard to suggest a tone of voice that would feel more cohesive, so it may just be a matter of crafting more involved vocal lines.
Phylactery of the Decayed may feature the same roster as God Am’s debut, but it could’ve easily been released under a new name. In addition to phasing out any Alice in Chains emulation, the musicianship has stepped up and the broader influences result in music that’s tricky to fully classify. There are some kinks that still need to be ironed out, but God Am is already unique in the world of alternative metal.
“Void in the Abyss”