Dog Faced Gods

Stoned Council

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Dog Faced Gods are one of those bands that aren't nearly as popular as their stylistic peers yet make much more interesting and inspired music of higher merit. They're one of those bands you come across almost by accident -- as the opening act at a club, for instance -- and wish everyone else could hear but, alas, probably never will. Fairness is not a characteristic of the music industry, unfortunately, and often bands like Dog Faced Gods, and albums like the band's debut, Stoned Council, never get the notice they deserve. Granted, there isn't anything too groundbreaking about Dog Faced Gods -- in short, they're another metal-leaning rock band with a fresh approach and a hungry heart, a band with real talent. There are numerous hard-working, faith-filled bands like Dog Faced Gods out there, a good percentage of them based in California, where this band also resides. However, very few of these bands break nationally, with the likes of P.O.D., Kyuss, Deftones, Jane's Addiction, and Korn being exceptions rather than the norm. Judging by the 15-song Stoned Council, Dog Faced Gods very well could join the ranks of those bands -- the musicianship is here, as is the songwriting, energy, production, and delivery. Whether or not Dog Faced Gods ever break nationally remains to be seen at this point; however, that doesn't take anything away from Stoned Council, which is a promising debut that sounds as immediately exceptional as now-classic ones like Korn and Facelift did at the time of their releases. Like those albums, Stoned Council isn't completely original -- its AOR rock and alt-metal influences are clear -- yet the way the band takes these building blocks and shapes them into something unique is what makes the album seem so fresh circa 2004. The respective songs aren't so much the highlights of this album as are the bandmembers themselves. In particular, the guitar riffs of David Torres stand out forcefully, and vocalist Raymond Galvan is quite charismatic. If anything, the songwriting could develop a bit more -- it's sometimes more straightforward than you'd like, and the lyrics can sometimes feel cliché (woe-is-me post-grunge-isms). But for the most part, there's much more here to relish than there is to critique. So whether or not Dog Faced Gods ever break, anyone who likes hard rock fresh rather than manufactured may want to seek out Stoned Council one way or another.

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