God has a face, and it looks like Kevin Martin. Although the band so named has had a fairly stable multi-member lineup, it is just one of many outlets for this British noise technician’s twisted creativity. Working at a point where hardcore, experimental jazz and electronic music can be made to meet, Martin’s God mines a vein similar to the likes of Scorn, Naked City, Godflesh and some of Bill Laswell’s more abrasive undertakings. At one time or another, Martin has collaborated with those artists as well as Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3/Spectrum), Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) and avant-garde drummer Eddie Prevost in the fittingly named Experimental Audio Research. Martin also runs the Pathological label, which has released a dozen or so equally unsettling releases, and compiled the Ambient 4: Isolationism and Macro Dub Infection Volume One albums for Virgin. (This particular God is British and is not to be confused with the more orthodox Australian outfit bearing the same name.)
After debuting in ’87 with a track on Mark E. Smith’s Disparate Cognoscenti compilation, God gave forth with Breach Birth, a screeching, fiercely distorted deconstruction of metal that remains the most “rock” thing Martin has ever released. Sailing quickly into more experimental waters, he recruited several likeminded sonic extremists — among them members or ex-members of Henry Cow, Skullflower, A.R.Kane, AMM, Head of David, Slab and Godflesh — to form the cacophonous eleven-headed monster (with two bassists, two drummers and two saxophonists) that God has essentially been ever since. The live Loco (produced by Godflesh frontal lobe/God guitarist Justin Broadrick) is full of clattering percussion, thunderous basses, hyper-distorted riffs and Martin’s elephant-stampede saxophone and roaring vocals. The approach on Possession is similar, but with almost symphonically bombastic production not unlike mid-period Swans; John Zorn guests on one track. Consumed is another turbulent and confrontational live outing.
The Anatomy of Addiction carries on in suitably anarchic fashion, an increasing influx of ambient and dub further adding to the planned insanity. Human Greed is that album’s remix collection, containing radical reshapes by such perpetrators as Laswell, Shields, Broadrick and the Lumberjacks (aka Brooklyn rappers New Kingdom).
Techno Animal finds Martin and Broadrick getting ambient well before the rest of the pack, creating profoundly unsettling atmospherics not worlds away from the soundtrack to The Shining. The intimidating double-CD Re-Entry finds them building down even further into amphetamine-addled white noise, at times employing the services of art-trumpeter Jon Hassell. Ice is a trance-dub excursion also including Broadrick, ex-Head of David bassist Dave Cochrane and reedsman Alex Buess.