God Fires Man – “Life Like” Album Review

God Fires Man - "Life Like" Album Review
“Life Like”
(Arctic Rodeo)

Artie Shepherd’s the guy who’s been there, done that: Teenage ground-breaking hardcore band (Mind Over Matter), deeply respected but commercially unviable indie-rock demi-gods (Errortype: 11), major label crash-and-burn (Instruction), critically-hailed irony-laden post-punk side project (Gay For Johnny Depp), and now God Fires Man, a band virtually unheard of in their hometown that tours to mass acclaim all over Europe. Go figure.

So Artie tends bar in Brooklyn between tours and continues to create masterful Nineties hard rock under the radar of the music industry he so obviously (and rightfully) despises. God Fires Man (with Instruction guitarist Joseph Grillo, ex-Into drummer Another Drew Thomas, and bassist John Wilkinson constructs the same brand of explosive hard rock – perhaps slightly less bombastically – as the doomed Instruction, with the kind of monster hooks that once ruled commercial radio (think: Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Jane’s Addiction.) Shepherd’s corrosive wit informs both lyrics and song titles (“Procreating Atheists,” “The Future Is Old: Obey The Past,” “I’m (Worth) More Dead Than Alive,”) as he snidely drawls anthemic proclamations like “I’ve lived my life, at least I’ve tried, so I don’t mind, I don’t mind.” The band swings, Shepherd wails, and Life Like prevails as the best hard rock album that nobody heard in 2009. Shame on you.