The Abominable Iron Sloth prepares to lay waste to the inhabitants of Chico
Over the course of a year, The Abominable Iron Sloth has gone from a simple name to a concept—a giant armor-clad goliath with a thirst for human blood, with the music providing a perfect, ugly soundtrack.
But Justin Godfrey, the mastermind behind The Sloth, is quick to point out that he doesn’t take things too seriously, even if he’s singing about drinking the blood from the skulls of dead men. Adding to the concept, Godfrey also created “The Iron Sloth” by extending the rear end of a 1986 Toyota Camry and transforming it into a miniature black hearse complete with goat horns adorning the hood.
Although his appearance may fit the angry-metal-dude stereotype—tattoos, shaggy mop of curls, black jeans and a black-hooded sweatshirt with “666” scrawled on the front—Godfrey is actually a mild-mannered gent.
Watching him perform might throw you off as well. In fact, Godfrey’s guttural screams and sludgy guitar muck have instilled genuine fear in those who have watched The Abominable Iron Sloth’s performances.
“It’s kind of funny, because some people are so scared of me—people I’ve never met before,” said Godfrey, taking a swig from his pint of Guinness at a local tavern. “I mean, I could see how because they see me play a show and scream for 20 minutes and dance around like an idiot with a guitar.”
Having played primarily as a two-piece with Oddman drummer and Ghostride guitarist Cayle Hunter, Godfrey is currently writing new material with former members of Sacramento’s Will Haven (and currently of Ghostride).
Ironically, it was Will Haven and similar bands like Yob out of Eugene that made an impression on Godfrey during his time touring with Chico hardcore legends Oddman.
“We see these guys, and they were just dirty and looked like they didn’t give a fuck,” he recalls. “They got up there and set up their Orange stacks and started playing and they were sludgy, like a slow, heavy Black Sabbath.”
After Oddman disbanded, Godfrey tried his hand at songwriting and entered the studio in early 2004 with Hunter and a handful of bassists, including The Reverend Shelby Cobra and Deerpen’s Bill Parnell. The group recorded a five-song demo for about $500 and finished most of the songs in one take.
“It took us longer to set the stuff up than to record,” Godfrey jokes.
Songs like “I’d Rather Die than Fly” and “The Family That Slays Together Stays Together” plod forth with the cadence of a giant mythological behemoth. Locals began to take notice.
A link to Godfrey’s MySpace account was placed on theprp.com, a Web site devoted to all things metal, and the songs began receiving hundreds of plays a day. Word of The Abominable Iron Sloth spread beyond Chico.
Currently Godfrey said the new lineup (Mike Martin on bass, Mitch Wheeler on drums and Jeff Irwin and Hunter on guitar) is working on new material and should start recording in June on Distruktor Records. New songs like “A Hot Pink Shell of My Former Self” and “Parasite Hilton—And Other Flaws Inherent to Wealth” look to keep with the sarcastic Sloth style.
Godfrey admits that his style of music isn’t for everyone but said he looks forward to making an impression on the road this summer.
“Obviously a lot of people aren’t going to like it,” Godfrey said. “But as long as they remember it, that’s good enough for me.”