Album: The Shadow Realigned
Genre: Industrial, Remix
Having released their first album 20 years ago, it’s an achievement in itself to still be active as a band within a genre that seems to go relatively unnoticed by a large sum of the world’s populace. Industrial goth rock isn’t for everyone and there isn’t a large movement of bands that have really “made it” in this niche corner of the hard rock realm, but again, Godhead‘s longevity as a band should be testament to their drive and passion as musicians. They’ve managed to outlive many of their peers within the genre but is their newest effort a breath of continued life for their career or will it be a nail in the Godhead coffin?
The Shadow Realigned is a remix album coming 8 years after its source material on Godhead’s sixth studio album, The Shadow Line. Featuring 17 tracks, including one brand new original song and two covers–KISS’ “God Of Thunder and Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again”–The Shadow Realigned is constructed mostly of re-imagined versions of old Godhead tracks from a slew of producers that Jason Miller and co. have friended over the years since their inception way back in 1994.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it–the album’s opener, a rework of “The Gift” by Robotic Beehive, is off-putting. Maybe it’s my predisposed dislike for auto-tuned vocals, but initially it just didn’t work for me. It’s not all bad, though. Some of the production is honestly really enjoyable, with some added depth from the synth-work, there’s a kind of epic quality that graces most of the track, but the auto-tune vocals alone (I can’t believe they’re still a thing) give it an entirely hokey effect that’s enough to tarnish any redeeming factors it may have offered otherwise.
Moving on, I was immediately pleased to be graced with a lot of variety that beckoned a sigh of relief as I discovered that I wouldn’t be working my way through 17 tracks that mimicked the initial cut. With this many minds reinterpreting so many songs, you would hope that that would be the case. The way in which some of these songs have been entirely re-envisioned and transformed is quite impressive. Sweet Kill’s remix of “Through The Cracks” is a perfect example of this as the producer took advantage of the original track’s already undeniably catchy chorus and created a more pop-based structure around it doing away with the guitar-driven aspect that it originally contained, adding a massive drum beat and buzzy synths, ultimately creating a song that has rarely left my head since my first listen.
For the most part, all of the remixes rely on heavy electronics–mostly synths and big beats, sometimes with quirky moments of breakbeat, while at others more straightforward dramatic elements that emphasize the qualities of the original versions in which they’re reworking. When you’re working with this many visions on a vast array of material, you’re bound to see a lot of hit and miss, and The Shadow Realigned doesn’t transcend that notion necessarily but as I went into this experience with an admittedly negative view of “Why even remix this stuff?” I came out being mostly surprised and humbled in a sense as a lot of the album is actually rather entertaining. I can’t say that every offering left me wanting more or to even revisit some of them again, but for the most part you could do a lot worse on a remix effort.
To touch on “To Heal,” the new original song included towards the end: it sounds like Godhead. The production is great and it’s a pretty standard hard rock effort but it’s solid. If it’s indicative of what’s to come on their next album (it’s been 6 years since their last studio LP), fans of the band will certainly be pleased. The two remixes (random choices, right?) are also standard hard rock bits but if you’re familiar with the originals, you should get a kick out of the Godhead interpretations. They really nailed both covers but whether you enjoy them or not likely depends on how much you like industrial rock.
If you look at this album in the context of “Let’s get together with 14 of our friends and make some new versions of our old material!” it makes a lot more sense than my original attitude mentioned earlier. If you’re a longtime fan of Godhead, you’ll likely be torn on a lot of the material here. If you’re going into this album with little past Godhead experience, you’re probably going to feel the same. If you listen through this and enjoy every moment, kudos to you! As I stated before, there are definitely moments to relish on The Shadow Realigned, you just have to sift through some mediocre bits to find them. I would imagine that Godhead has been working on a new album of all original material and if that’s the case, this is a fun way to keep fans interested in the meantime until that long-awaited album surfaces.
Review written by: Brian Lion — (Follow him on Twitter)
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