Column of Heaven- Mission From God
Column of Heaven appear to be a new group on the surface, but a closer look reveals the project is really more of a reinvention then a completely new concept. The band is really a continuation of the now defunct The Endless Blockade, it featuring former members of the project, in both sound and substance. Both bands play noise-y, dischordant Powerviolence and Grindcore with a healthy dose of Power Electronics and pure vein-popping anger. Listening to the bands new EP Mission From God certainly evokes the same feelings and intensity that The Endless Blockade did in their hey-day. That's not a bad thing: The Endless Blockade were one of the best bands in the genre, and their break-up in 2010 was a painful body shot for their fans. So it's a nice plus that Mission From God also feels like an evolution as much as a continuation: Column of Heaven is a more technical, Grindcore influenced project, something a bit darker and more monolithic then The Endless Blockade were. This is a new experience worth checking out regardless of the project's history: the music speaks for itself.
Big fans of The Endless Blockade might even be a little turned off by Mission From God at first, considering some key differences between the two projects. The vocals will be the first to stand out: gone are the more traditional Powerviolence vocals, replaced by a very competent J.R. Hayes impersonator. This isn't necessarily an improvement, but the vocals mesh well with the Grindcore-focused approach and the labyrinth-dwelling Sludge sections. The guitar sound is more metallic as well, though it remains crusty and grime covered, and it works with the complex guitar play that crops up across the album. Column of Heaven will never be mistaken for Discordance Axis, but some of these riffs give off an early Pig Destroyer-vibe; highly dissonant and textured. All told, it's a more metallic approach to songwriting and texture, but it's more then crusty and angry enough to remain appealing to the Punk crowds.
What hasn't changed from The Endless Blockade is the relentless aggression, hateful speed and mad electronic rampages. Mission From God is a non-stop barrage of nihilism and disenfranchisement that clocks in at a brisk seventeen minutes. There is very little fluff or filler, and with most tracks playing into each other, it's a seamless and satisfying album. "Entheogen": is a cavernous and oppressive torrent of soundwaves, equal parts hypnotic and devastating. It takes equal parts Man is the Bastard and Godflesh, fabricating a flawless fragment of Industrial Powerviolence, constructed with animosity and malice. "Pharmakos" jumps between good ol' Violence and dissonant, atmospheric sections that are as intensely creepy as they are strangely beautiful. It's a track of stark contrasts, a trademark of The Endless Blockade, and in this regard Column of Heaven is a worthy successor.
Mission From God is fantastic. It's not a masterpiece, nor do I think it stands on the same level as Primitive overall. It is, however, an album with no faults: everything works and sounds the way it should, being both instantly familiar yet fresh and dynamic. I've said this before, but it works for Mission From God as well; this is what happens when a group of talented and smart musicians get together and make something meaningful and solid. The foundations of this album are tempered and strong, allowing for organic experimentation and good old skull-fucking alike. I have a sneaking suspicion that some old school fans of The Endless Blockade might not like what they hear on Mission From God, but for just about anyone else, this album is essential listening.
As if this album were not awesome enough, Mission From God is also available for "pay-what-you-want" download on the labels Bandcamp page. Stream it there, and throw a few bucks the bands way for the download. The album will also be out on vinyl soon, so be on the look-out. I'll put the link below.