Not My God is Tim Skold (SKOLD, ex-Marilyn Manson, Shotgun Messiah) and Nero Bellum (Psyclon 9), and stylistically, it’s clearly the sum of its parts: heavy industrial electro. Booming beats and with stuttering breaks. It may be a rather lazy comparison for the uninitiated, but With Teeth era Nine Inch Nails with a slowed-down drum ‘n’ bass element is kinda where it sits.
The overall vibe is dark and menacing, but at times it’s a little too obvious to be entirely convincing, particularly on the lyrical front: ‘Dead’ finds Skold wheezing the puerile incantation ‘six-six-six… dead’ lower and slower as the tempo grinds to a toxin-stalled crawl. Elsewhere, on ‘Hell Is’, against a doomy bell chime, he drags up Sartre’s line ‘hell is other people’ which has become the mantra of the modern misanthrope.
The whispers and groans are cliché and much of ‘Obverses’ feels like third-generation industrial by numbers, and it’s a shame because there is clear potential for it to be so much more. And there are moments when they achieve it: ‘We of the Night’ comes on like latter-day Bowie, brooding hard and atmospheric with it, and is perhaps the best track on the album. Things get almost poppy on ‘Deus Vult’, the combination of glittery synths and layered vocals soaring and swooping calling to mind The Associates.
Sadly, the moments of inspiration are outweighed by long slogs of predictability, making for a rather less than satisfying album.