Tim Sköld and Nero Bellum return to bid the world adieu with an ostensibly final album as Not My God heads into a farewell tour. The feel is undoubtedly familiar, drawing on Bellum’s electronic chops and Sköld’s drawling swagger for an angsty and club-friendly bit of black candy. The most engaging numbers are arguably the ones that tiptoe into trip-hop/trap metal, evoking acts such as Death Grips and Scarlxrd. “Dead,” “Manifest O,” “By Means of the Angels,” and “Deus Vult” employ this more sub-bass heavy and pared-down sound, the lattermost the most compelling and most liable to vibe on a club floor. Conversely, songs like “Unwind the Helix” and “Sands” veer more into electro territory, employing stacked sequencers liberally.
What’s admittedly unfortunate is that the overall size of the album works against it in some regards as many of the songs start to somewhat blend together, especially the slower and more balladic numbers. They’re by no means bad compositionally or production-wise; they simply just don’t hit with quite the same force that other songs do. However, things do end on a high note when “Hyacinth” offers a final burst of overdue aggression, a sense of cinematic tension building into something fit for a highway chase scene or underground rave – one thinks of some of Sköld’s earlier works, particularly the Dominatrix mix of “Anything” from his Neverland EP. And ultimately, this might be the element that feels to be somewhat lacking – the aggressiveness of a lot of the instrumentation isn’t always mirrored in the vocals.
Nonetheless, fans of either musician will enjoy the chance to appreciate the gothic swagger customary of this joint venture. Without a doubt, Not My God created a sound that’s very much its own; there’s just not a lot of new ground broken from past releases.