Welcome to the latest edition of “Freeloader” in which we review albums that you don’t have to feel like a douche for downloading for free. Today Satan Rosenbloom checks out Empty Crawlspace by Godstopper.

Go ahead and scoff at the suffocated production on Empty Crawlspace by Toronto band Godstopper. You’re losing out if you can’t get past the EP’s strangulated sonics. They’re partly the point, I’m guessing – those absent highs and lows smoosh everything into a compressed center, like we’re peering through a fisheye lens at the terrible things happening in the interior of this music.

And there’s a lot on the interior of this music. Godstopper’s Tumblr page shows reams of images of boarded up houses and masked or obscured figures. This music seeks to obscure, too. Dissonant sludge riffs cohabitate uncomfortably with Mike Simpson’s bell-clear vocal harmonies, spewing up sparks. Chiming major key guitars grind against gurgling bass lines. Nothing is quite right. Check out this video clip for “Clean House” for evidence.


Like the best records by Today Is the Day, Swans and Harvey Milk, all of which I hear in Godstopper’s jarring songwriting, Empty Crawlspace is more than a sequence of dark songs – it feels like we’re listening to something that we shouldn’t be. Every moment is narcotized, a little slower than it needs to be; each new section is another turn of the screw. We talk a lot about making extreme music as cathartic for the music maker, but what the listener? I feel no more relieved for having heard Empty Crawlspace. In fact it’s psychically draining. And totally addictive, too. I’m not going to be able to sleep for a week.

(4 horns up)


Get Godstopper’s Empty Crawlspace here.

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