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God Lives Underwater [reviews]
Empty |American Recordings, 1995|

1. Still. 2. All Wrong. 3. Fool. 4. Empty. 5. Don't Know How to Be. 6. No More Love. 7. 23. 8. We Were Wrong. 9. Weaken. 10. Tortoise. 11. Scared

God Lives Underwater (GLU for short) is a band formed by David Reilly and Jeff Turzo in 1993. After recruiting members Adam Kary and Andrew McGee, they released their major label debut, Empty. Rick Rubin produced this album, and in addition, is his first major label industrial rock album he's worked on.

In short summary, Empty is what I would personally name "the first wave of mainstream ‘90s industrial rock." Although more bands are to follow the likes of Ministry, White Zombie, and Machines of Loving Grace, the first few artists pop up on the horizon. One of them is God Lives Underwater.

The opening track, "Still," is simply an opener. Although around 3 minutes in length and is fully-structured, it prepares the listener for the next song, "All Wrong." It's noticeable in both "All Wrong" and "Still" that Reilly's vocal range is definitely unique for the industrial rock genre. His ability to be melodic and almost grunge-like improves the songs.

After those two songs, the majority of the album becomes similar: melodic vocals, space-sounding keyboard leads (which seems out of place at times, such as the title track "Empty"), and mediocre guitar riffs. Yet, the song "No More Love" capitalizes on all 3 attributes. Everything just seems to fall in place within the song. The melodic vocals, the keyboard leads, and the guitar riffs. Nothing is mediocre in "No More Love" (which happens to be the album's lead single, as well).

"23" is a change of pace in the album. Its atmosphere is slow and smooth. Reilly can, without a doubt, deliver excellent vocals. "We Were Wrong" is the only song not completely written by Reilly and Turzo. Guitarist McGee chips in, and it's noticeable that the guitars are the dominant instrument in the song, which is cool nevertheless. Yet, at this point, I realized that the majority of the songs have the same sounding keyboard, which sounds very space-age. The keyboard simply starts to get repetitive towards the end of the album.

"Scared," the last track on the album, features an acoustic guitar and an atmospheric keyboard throughout the song, combined with Reilly's vocals (at least, until the end, when the other instruments are played for only about 25 seconds). It's a fitting end to the album.

Overall, God Lives Underwater can use some variety within their songs on this debut effort. A few standout tracks, which mainly features Reilly's vocal ability, saves the fall. (Xenerki, June 18, 2009)

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