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Godhunter: City of Dust

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One is tempted to wonder how much fresh music can be generated from the grinding riffs and musical arc-welding that is doom-metal, also known as rock of the stoner/sludge variety. If the results sound as fresh as they do on this local act's full-length debut, the genre has some vitality left in it.

Some might call it sludgecore, this growling, low-end slouching to oblivion, this viscera-rattling thunder. The band claims to be equally influenced by Black Flag and Black Sabbath, and imagining that union may give you some idea of Godhunter's sound.

The band occasionally tosses in creative touches that will catch listeners off-guard. I especially like the revved-up break in "Rats in the Walls" - it feels like a little prog rock sprinkled over the top of the doom-metal stew. The siren-like guitar noise of the title track almost sounds like a theremin. And when raging vocalist Charlie Touseull steps aside for melodic guest vocalist Carlos Arzate on the semi-acoustic "Shooting Down the Sun," the effect is downright haunting.

City of Dust also is clearly a political recording, lamenting the corruption, violence and disintegration of our city, state and country. Sometimes the media sound bites injected into songs can be distracting, but they also help to add context to several tunes.

Especially effective is "Snake Oil Dealer" which samples Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's comments that Arizona has "become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry," spoken in the aftermath of the mass shooting Jan. 8, 2011. The pummeling song then closes with the pensive sounds of a crackling campfire and howling coyotes.

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