It sure seems like whenever Deadly Avenger taps into the world of Godzilla, the relatively prolific British electronic musician has found his true muse. It feels as if he’s operating at his most engaging and propulsive creative self, finding beauty and depth in the destruction wrought by one of mankind’s most horrifyingly glorious creations.
On last year’s well received I Am Godzilla, You Are Japan, he crafted a minimalist electro explosion of synth-driven foreboding and fun — an electronic score for a kaiju not yet made. For Record Store Day UK release tomorrow, Your God Is Too Small, a prequel to IAGYAJ, Deadly Avenger retains these ingredients while infusing them with essences of prog-rock, richer Eastern soundscapes, ambient synths, modern techno, and ‘90s electronic music. Your God might be too small, but Deadly Avenger’s ambitions are quite large.
Such audacity has destroyed lesser artists as fast as the mighty Godzilla can level your average prefecture, but in the hands of Deadly Avenger (AKA Damon Baxter) the result is engaging, fascinating, and downright comprehensive. I suspect that even if there’s a bit of a tongue-in-cheek sentiment going on with these Godzilla releases on Burning Witches Records, Baxter still takes his art very seriously. Your God Is Too Small is Deadly Avenger’s best album to-date — which I don’t say lightly, because I adore his Lakeshore Records release, The Girl with the White Orchid, with a ferocious intensity.
The music seems to draw from elements of the composer’s various recent releases to craft a putative magnum opus: There’s the beauty and depth of The Girl with the White Orchid, the intensity of his first Godzilla record, the swagger of Everyday Is Kill, and the nostalgic color of When Haro Met Sally, the album released with visual artist Luke Insect under the pseudonym D.A.L.I. (Insect does most of Deadly Avenger’s art.)
For the big moments, look no further than the title cut, which opens the album. It introduces itself with a splash of prog-rock drums and an onslaught of synths singed with the fire and grit of metal music — while avoiding unseemly crunch or abrasion.
“Tears in a Demon’s Eye” is an absolute highlight of the album, carrying with it the strut of a driving backbeat — one that would make Stephen Morris proud. Atop is an increasingly fuzzy synth hook straight out of a Manhattan nightclub in the early ’80s. It sounds like one of those late ’70s analog synths that would get too hot and start to burn out after a surprisingly little amount of time. That gives way to an unbridled conspiracy of synthetic bliss that brings some disco to the Malthusian instincts of the gods.
“Gunman Omega” is Fabio Frizzi synthesis placed atop a disciplined rhythm section dominated by a tight kick and a slightly gated snare. Specters haunt the scene with a confident flare — seemingly striking hard at the diminutive deity that holds us so tight. “The Mysterions” flows like the lovechild of ‘90s Bristol-inspired film score cues and uncontrolled fat synths borne of an unholy experiment in some music professor’s basement lab in 1970s West Berlin.
“Phantoms” recalls the minimalist electro of IAGYAJ, topped with an overtly Eastern accompaniment that fires at a rapid clip. It functions as if to articulate two realities: one, some major danger is imminent, and two, whatever will happen will be cool as fuck. “Skit_The Legend of Heavenly” is a tender cut, painted in a wash of gorgeous synthscapes that brood with the kind of wistfulness reserved for the most vulnerable of moments. That short number — less than a minute long — gives way to album closer “Second Death,” a cinematic composition with shades of the experimental curiosities of Metavari and loaded to the brim with Eastern synthscapes that crescendo like a beautiful drama. It yields a satisfying denouement for an album that is altogether a gratifying and enlightening listen.
Your God Is Too Small — released by Burning Witches Records — includes 3D artwork and glasses, an insert, and download card. There are UK red and USA blue exclusive variants. Limited to 500 copies per variant. Artwork by Luke Insect. Pick it up at your favorite RSD-participating retailer. Of course, it’ll be available through other channels soon enough.
Want more Deadly Avenger? Check out this interview he did on The Vehlinggo Podcast last June.