GOD: A Progressive Metal Spiritual Journey
Written by Brett Kihlmire
GOD is a band that is shrouded in mystery. Few know the identity of the player behind this magnificent prog metal band, but that’s part of the fun. GOD is highly experimental, like all self-respecting progressive bands should be, but highly approachable.
GOD is the product of The Messenger, an enigmatic force wielding an assortment of bass and electric guitars to craft a multi-layered progressive metal experience. The project came about in October 2015 after The Messenger reached a “very personal point” in life, which led them to pursue something greater with their music after too many years “of what seemed like a continuous pursuit and dissatisfaction of fame in metal and music industry.”
“This would represent something greater in my life, even if it would remain a consistent battle of self control and pride to remain anonymous during its lifetime,” says The Messenger.
Inspired by rock and metal greats like Meshuggah, Anubis Gate, Journey, Asia, The Rippingtons, Karnivool and many, many more, The Messenger decided to strike out on their own to create something fresh and inspiring in the metal world. The result was GOD, but where did the name and concept come from?
“I feel it is truly important that I have much love and respect for those who do not feel the same as I do about God. I have many friends, family members who do not know or feel the same about God. That is why I feel that it is important for me to let the reader, viewer know this before sharing my personal testimony. It is with much love and respect that I share where the name and concept came from,” says the Messenger. “For me personally GOD represents my Creator, who is beyond my understanding or comprehension, is personal to me, who created me with life, whose son Jesus Christ died for my sin, forgave me and gives me the opportunity to be a part of this incredible world of music. I am personally humbled by all of this. My life is His and I am an instrument of God through the music He creates through me, a messenger, a musician, an imperfect being redeemed by the power of God.”
Devoid of lyrics, GOD does not preach the gospel or attempt to convert, only to entertain while giving The Messenger and, if possible, the listener a closeness with their own god or gods. GOD does, however, utilize the song titles, as well as music videos, to tell something of a story that the album in question is centered around.
“The title GOD and all songs utilize the concept of “Inception” by inducing thought in to the listener just by the names themselves. The listener will listen to a song and remember the title, hence inducing thoughts of that song title into them without the use of lyrics,” The Messenger explains. “Each song is written after meditating on the song title and what it means to me personally. Even the title GOD itself is inducing thought into the reader, viewer, listener. Each song is released with a video that asks questions about the topics/titles of each song rather than forcing ideas and opinions onto the listener. In other words it’s a think type of album.”
So far, GOD has released just one album, entitled GOD I. Taking a broad stroke on the subject of “who God is or not to humanity” the album features titles and subjects such as ‘God,’ ‘Sin,’ ‘Predestined,’ ‘Free Will,’ and ‘Truth.’ At its core, GOD I is meant to take the listener on a spiritual journey of self-discovery through a sort of musical mediation that is only accomplished through instrumental music and deep thought.
As of this writing, GOD I is out and GOD II is in the works, but GOD is a rather challenging band to write for. As if doing a band completely solo weren’t a big enough challenge, The Messenger utilizes a slew of instruments not commonly seen in a heavy metal band to achieve the unique sound GOD is becoming known for.
“Easily the biggest challenge is the layering that GOD entails. Each rhythm riff contains a 4 string bass,
6 string baritone, 8 string octave bass with a clean 5 string bass and guitars for clean and leads. This adds to the length of time it takes to write and record the songs,” The Messenger explains.
Adding to the difficulty of the band is the need to remain anonymous. This means no live shows and the struggle to not reveal too much personal information in interviews or on social media.
“Honestly, remaining anonymous of something that you personally are the most proud of is by far the hardest part of this musical journey. I personally believe God has used this to teach me about self control, learning to humble myself and just enjoy the writing of the music itself,” says The Messenger.
Despite the innate challenge of creating and managing a one man band in total anonymity, The Messenger says that GOD has been an inspiring journey and has inspired many others to open up on the band’s Facebook page.
“There have been many personal life stories shared through social media to the GOD page. Some have been about their lives at the moment of hearing GOD, or just words of encouragement, prayer requests, sharing of their personal life, whether good or bad,” says The Messenger. “It has been inspiring to hear from others about how music moves them. The incredible part is how it reaches both those who believe and those who do not. The reviewers and writers have been very kind and courteous to share their honest listening experience of the music, which I am grateful to be a part of. All of music is shared by each and every musician, artist in this world.”
After the successful campaign of GOD I, which saw a timed release of each track alongside a story-driven video until the final video and full album were released on Christmas 2016, The Messenger has begun writing GOD II. The new album promises to carry on the progressive style heard on the debut while focusing on the attributes ands life of Jesus Christ with the titles and videos. In fact, the album may begin its release soon than we may think:
“The new album is currently in songwriting/completion process. Currently on the
5th song of GOD II as I respond to this,” says the Messenger before adding, “The 3rd and 4th albums are currently named, titled and themed.”
Though they’re not saying what GOD III and IV will touch on in terms of concept, as of this writing The Messenger has a major goal for GOD as a project:
“To continue writing GOD albums until I cannot anymore,” and “to continue writing music through God and what He has done for me until my death.”
About The Messenger
Though their identity remains a closely guarded secret, The Messenger did give a few insights regarding their history as a player and plans for the future.
First discovering the guitar in 1997, The Messenger began to take the instrument seriously in 1998 and joined their first band in 1999. In 2001 they discovered heavy metal through the music of Fear Factory, Korn, Slipknot and Meshuggah, thanks to a close friend.
Greatly inspired by what they were hearing from all over the rock and heavy metal world, The Messenger worked hard at their craft, self-teaching with the help of tutorial videos. Thanks to the varied style one can learn from just diving into the great expanse that is guitar music, The Messenger became adept at acoustic, rhythm, and lead style guitar. Ultimately, however, they realized a love for utilizing chords and the layers involved with them. This eventually laid the groundwork for the layered style found in GOD. Of course, a truly great player doesn’t stick to one style forever.
“There is always a constant resetting of goals and pushing forward to live a life of music. It is rewarding yet challenging,” says the Messenger.
As an accomplished guitarist, The Messenger wishes to impart a powerful piece of advice on all guitarists, no matter if they are seasoned veterans or just starting out:
“Never stop, always enjoy it and most importantly remember why you started in the first place.”
Hear GOD I in its entirety here, courtesy of GOD.