God Lives Underwater

American Recordings, 1995


REVIEW BY: Cory Galliher


Ever heard of Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania? No, neither have I. Apparently it's a pretty inspirational place, however, as it produced God Lives Underwater.

The founding members of the band, David Reilly and Jeff Turzo, joined together with Andrew McGee and Scott Garret to produce three albums and two EPs of some of the greatest industrial rock ever to come out of Perkiomenville. Of course, this was likely the only industrial rock ever to come out of Perkiomenville, but it's still definitely worth a listen for any fan of the genre.

The group's first album, Empty, serves as a great introduction to the band's unique blend of industrial, techno, and hardcore music. While comparisons could be drawn to Nine Inch Nails, God Lives Underwater typically isn't quite as heavy-handed despite sharing much of the same content. The most well-known single from my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Empty, "All Wrong," is a prime example of this; the lyrics sound much like what one would expect off of an early NIN album without being as self-serving.

There isn't really much filler on any of God Lives Underwater's album. This is largely because many of the songs are so similar as to be indistinguishable, which could be considered a good or bad thing. Given that the albums flow nicely from song to song, one is inclined to believe that this was the group's intention, as one can listen all the way through without dealing with extreme shifts in style. If nothing else, it ensures that Empty makes for some incredible background music.

As with all of God Lives Underwater's work, it's far easier to describe the album as a whole. Empty alternates between pounding industrial rock and somber synthesized dirges, and the album is arranged in order to highlight the contrast between these two styles without jarring the listener by a sudden shift between them. Empty doesn't even attempt to grab the listener's attention; rather, it appears to be shallow mainstream tripe at first but later reveals an unprecedented level of depth.

Selecting specific tracks from the album to highlight almost seems like doing it a disservice. However, "All Wrong," the title track, "No More Love," "We Were Wrong" and "Scared" are all great choices to begin exploring the disc. Unlike many albums, however, that's not the ideal means of experiencing Empty, as the entire track list works together as a whole.

Empty isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination -- God Lives Underwater's later albums, Life In The So-Called Space Age and Up Off The Floor come much closer to that. However, it definitely achieves a balance between listenability and marketability that most don't even come close to. While mid-90s radio might have eaten up one or two of the more mainstream tracks, this album only truly works as a whole.

Rating: B

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