God’s Last Wish is the second album by artist Distorted Earth on the Collapsed Structures label. Self-described as “dark contemplations on our relationships with religion,” this album does not disappoint those who seek such an experience. When I say experience, I really do mean that this album is an experience in itself. The sheer complexity of noises, synths, guitar, and occasional voices is able to both lull you in and leave you terribly discomforted throughout the entire runtime.
The album opens with And There The Vultures Will Gather, a track the begins very eerily with a slowly tolling bell and segment of spoken word that introduces us to the themes of what is to come. Phrases such as “I cannot feel this body,” “God is dead,” “I am alone;” all prime the listener for the dark sonic meditations that will soon unfold. What is surprising though, is that as the guitar slowly arrives, we are presented with a tone that is strangely mournful and hopeful sounding at the same time. However, this does not last.
As the album progresses, we come to the heaviest and darkest track, Hidden Verses. This track plunges the listener into the darkest of tones with no hint of the hopefulness present in the first track. Low and growling sub frequencies combine with an airy pad that sounds as though it is chanting in some strange unknown language. These elements are slowly overtaken by a strange distortion that grows until it is ever-present in the array of other elements. In the end, this distortion fades away and we are left with only the low growl of the bass as if we had just been chased out of the chamber by some hellish beast.
The final track, which shares the name of the album, takes us through a nearly fifteen-minute culmination of the themes of the album. There is first darkness, then a mournful yet hopeful synth. The synth gives way to a crushing cloud of distortion that then subsides and gives life to a beautifully melancholic acoustic guitar that continues to provide that mournful and hopeful tone. Eventually, the guitar is then lost to another short wave of noise that brings us back into swirling darkness and bizarre chanting. As the sound slowly fades, we are left with an unnerving and chilling recording of a congregation sings an old hymn about the “blood of the lamb.”
God’s Last Wish is both an intriguing and frightening spiritual experience of an album. It questions the presence of religion and faith in our lives and society by setting a shadowy and unsettling ambiance that is punctuated by sparse words and the smallest hints of hopefulness. While the album makes the listener question, it makes no attempt to provide answers – and this is likely the reason it is such a perfect execution of this concept.