On paper, the Great Sabatini and Godstopper have a great deal in common. Both bands are Canadian, hailing from Montreal and Toronto respectively; both are many years into impressive but unheralded careers playing metal-inflected forms of noise rock. These commonalities are more than enough to justify sharing space on this split, and the pairing plays up each band’s very different strengths to salutary effect.
The first half of the split belongs to the Great Sabatini, and therefore to texture. About half its runtime is given over to eerie sample collages and the tense, acoustic slow burn of “Dog Years”; the other half is a wall of incredibly weighty, borderline-doom metal wailing, contingent upon instrumental tones that constrict like pythons and don’t let go.
By contrast, Godstopper are a fundamentally melodic beast, with hair-raising songwriting powers at their disposal. Though they’re usually associated with (or ghettoized as, depending on your perspective) metal, their music reminds me at least as much of deeply melancholy grunge bands like Alice In Chains as it does the contemporaneous AmRep/Touch And Go acts usually associated with the style. “A Prayer” in particular sees frontman Mike Simpson using his rock-god voice to truly chilling effect, easily outstripping their potent June single “Shoulder” in emotive power.
Listen to the whole split now.
The Great Sabatini/Godstopper split will be out on 8/19 via No List Records.