“Not My God”

By Dark Starr

This is a joint project of Tim Sköld (formerly of MARILYN MANSON and SHOTGUN MESSIAH) and Nero Bellum (PSYCLONE NINE). The music, as you might expect, lands in that industrial kind of zone. Much of this is very effective. The problem is, when you listen from start to finish, it has a tendency to start sounding the same. It almost seems like they wanted to make sure there were 13 songs, and included some filler to make that happen. It would be a stronger set if they pulled maybe three or four of the most similar tunes off, or added in some hard rocking, more guitar oriented things. A lot of times it feels like it should head into some serious hard rock, but instead we get more electronic based songs. Then again, people tend to listen to music one song at a time these days. From that perspective, everything here is solid. 

A techno groove opens the set on "Fiction." Distorted vocals come in over the top of that backdrop. It remains vaguely electronic and mellow through this first vocal movement and beyond. Then it powers up a bit more. I'm reminded quite a bit of MARILYN MANSON, but with a more electronic arrangement. I love the tone of "Until the Pain Is Gone." Think of a mix of MARILYN MANSON and GARY NUMAN. The cut is dark and apocalyptic in sound. NINE INCH NAILS is another valid reference point. 

I really love the dark and trippy vibe of "Sowing Discord." It has an almost spooky air to it. A bit lower in volume level than some of the other music here, "Murder Suicide" is no less dark. I guess the title probably gave that away, though. This is a bit too abstract and strange for my tastes. It needs a bit more rock in the mix, I think. 

Noisy electronics are at the heart of "Equalizer." The cut drives with some trippy, freaky textures. It's another that could use some meat on its bones, but is more effective than the previous song was. The grind that bears the title "Birthright" isn't a big change, at least at the start. It gets more powered up further down the road, and I dig some of the melodic elements here. The formula is starting to wear a little thin by this point, though. For that reason this doesn't stand as tall as it could. 

"Decay, Decay" definitely suffers from the monolithic nature. It doesn't manage to stand up at all. We could really use a rocker here, but this lands on the subtler end of the spectrum. Mind you, it's not like a ballad, but it really more on electronics that don't drive as much as some of the early cuts here do. Now, "First Blood" is a step upward. It has a bit more energy and driving rock element. The electronic techno textures still drive it, but this comes closer to something like MARILYN MANSON. 

A bit more driving and pounding, "Nevermore" is a harder edged and more intense excursion. It earns a parental advisory. It's a bit of variety, but does drag on a bit long for my tastes. More of a rocking and intense number, I'm definitely reminded of NINE INCH NAILS on  "Right Now.". "Persephone" comes next, and it is more like it. The cut drives with a real power and rocking texture. It's not a paradigm shift, but it's meaner and harder-edged. 

Dark synthesizer sounds bring "Cold Black" in almost like a soundtrack to a science fiction film. There is a cold and sparse vibe to it that works well. The closing instrumental section definitely makes its way into space territory.  That space thing continues into the closer, "13." In fact, there is a space meets techno vibe to the piece. It is a cool cut. It's slow moving, dark and trippy. It is actually one of the strongest cuts here, too.