Manmade God

Manmade God

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There's nothing new in the gutsy, guitar-driven sound of Manmade God. Throughout their eponymous album, they hammer and thrash with a ponderous intensity. This has been familiar territory since Led Zeppelin trashed its first private jet. In fact, Pann's last line in "Search for Greater Things" almost consciously evokes "Stairway to Heaven," and Steve Jacobs' drumming strongly echoes John Bonham's primordial pounding. The band's originality surfaces more in its lyrics. Grotty images -- worms crawling into someone's eyes, for instance, on "Swamp Water" -- do crop up, but these feel like obligatory adornments. More typically, the words address grander issues of life, death, and transcendence. "Safe Passage" bears obvious similarities to the Doors' "Break on Through," yet its imprecations to whatever lies beyond reach have a physical, as well as a spiritual, dimension, which on paper, setting the music itself aside, works better than the one-dimensional seriousness of the older cut. They even address the deity, although their tone has more to do with an Old Testament argument than the gush of CCM: "Lizard Bones" apparently defies orders to leave the mortal world, while "Meet My Maker" speaks in a tone of adoration and accusation that's almost without precedent, at least in this branch of pop music. With content this intriguing, Manmade God sets a challenge for itself to develop an equally distinctive instrumental voice on whatever projects lay ahead. [Although lyrics are not included with the CD, the album copy directs the listener who wishes to read them to www.manmadegod.com.]

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