Friday, May 21, 2010

Atomic Gods- DEMO SIDE ONE

     After the last post featuring 4 dozen songs about nuclear attack I have to follow up the with this.  The Atomic Gods were an incredible band and incredibly overlooked.  They were at their pinnacle during the Fuck Shit Piss and 5150 heyday but they were a force unto themselves and I think they outlived both those bands. 

    As much as I admired Atomic Gods I never gave them as much love as they deserved.  I was blinded by my love for Fuck Shit Piss so every band was second best in my book.  I sometimes wondered if Atomic Gods were really a metal band with pretensions towards hardcore.  I thought this mainly because Sean Sloan was such a kick ass guitar player he knocked down any idea of hardcore being an amateur style.  Atomic Gods were tight.  The song writing was clever and inventive and they took a lot of chances which could easily scare off timid hardcore "purists" like my teenage self.   

     I saw Atomic Gods play several times but I don't remember where.  I know I saw them indoors and outdoors so that narrows it down.  They put on a hell of a live show.  Sean Sloan was the best guitarist in Las Vegas at that time.  No doubt about it.

    I have to admit I don't think I listened to this tape more than a few times.  I don't even know how I ended up with this tape.  I think this was again another cassette that Ryland Luss left at my house.  Ryland was probably my only link to all the demo tapes I've got.  I'm thinking I ended up with so many of his demos because he would come over to my house saying he wanted to record an Op Ivy record of mine and he'd bring over a demo to tape over.  On more than one occasion I remember giving him a tape and taking his demo to save for posterity.  Good thing I did because this demo is fuckin solid.  

     Not to mention it's fucking long.  This must have been their only demo as it's filled up on both sides amounting to like 90 minutes worth of music.  Side one is the Atomic Gods Demo.  Side two appears to be Atomic Gods live at Gilman Street in Berkeley California.

   Prior to listening to this I tried to recall what Atomic Gods sounded like.  The main thing I remembered was Sean Sloan's guitar histrionics.  He was a serious shredder.  The music is super original and it fits snuggly in the classification of Las Vegas Hardcore.  It's definitely got a slight metal edge to it but it's a unique sound and only adds more weight to my argument that west coast hardcore had more individuality in it's sound than that "mosh" minded east coast shit.  The singer for Atomic Gods, Richard Gibson, was a good match and seriously funny guy as the live shit will attest.  Pretty rare that you could understand all the words sung from a band like this.  

      Lyrically there's some pretty cool shit happening here.  Typical hardcore targets are tackled including Reagan (he fucking sucks), politics, selling out etc.  But it's not preachy dry sloganeering.  They have a good sense of humor about them which earns them a timeless place in LVHC history.  I know they played the Test Site protesting against nuclear weapons.  I think.  Anyway their heart was certainly in the right place.

     As the scene started to unravel because of the rift caused by nazi skins versus anti-nazi skins, Sean Sloan became the main person responsible for booking shows.  He was at the gate for almost every desert show I went to from 87-89.  If not for him things would have folded a lot quicker than they did.  I remember he was present when I got a knife pulled on me by a nazi skinhead.  But that's a story for another time.  

    The music is a fucking great find to my ears.  Man this band was tight.  Hardcore with metal leanings as mentioned earlier but it doesn't have that crossover feel so prevalent at that time.  Instead of the tough guy atmosphere Atomic Gods were pretty casual and fun loving.  While there are certain elements of thrash present here it's more polished musicianship and less punishing brutality.  The musicianship can't be denied and the song writing keeps it interesting.  

     Yeah- some of the pseudo hip hop leanings in 2 of these songs didn't age well but that can be attributed to the dearth of nu metal that skidded along during the 90's.  Still this experimenting with hip hop was a brave thing to attempt at that time.  A few hardcore bands broke out of that mold back then and attempted similar hiphoplike songs like MDC, the Big Boys, Op Ivy, and My Dog Popper.  It's not all bad stuff but it's not all that great either.  In fact those few songs on this demo bare a striking resemblance to what Faith No More would be doing a few years later.  One song is a dead ringer for Faith No More which begs the question: Did FNM listen to this demo before recording?  Who gives a shit?  

        Don't think for a second that hiphop stylings are the norm on this tape.  It's hardcore through and through.  But it's got more on the ball then the majority of hardcore bands at that time.  In  fact because they are so tight I'd put them in the same league as No Means No and their ilk as far as leaning heavily  to the jazz side of hardcore.  But it's got more balls than your average angular math rock band geek shit.  The metal element makes this demo a serious winner.  So glad I found it in my stacks.  

     There is no Atomic Gods presence on the internet.  So finding out some history about these guys has proven to be a fruitless endeavor.  Although I did find Sean Sloan on Facebook.  I have no idea what the names of these songs are.  I'm hoping he may be able to fill in the gaps so I can give them the proper names for those of you downloading.  If you know the names of any of these songs please leave a comment so we can all be enlightened.  

     This demo tape is freaking long.  I have included side one with the "proper" demo here for you to download.  Side two is Atomic Gods live at Gilman Street.  Both sides are amazing.  The live stuff is not only amazing but it is hilarious.  The banter between the guys on stage is a guaranteed belly laugh.  Don't miss it.

     And yet again I can't figure out why Mediafire won't allow me to post links to download the whole folder.  As a result feel free to download each song individually here without leaving the blog.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  Be sure to check back for side two!  If you have any pictures of Atomic Gods please share! 

    Much thanks to Atomic Gods singer and supreme smart ass Richard Gibson for providing a track listing to these songs as the only information I had was the pictures above.  He remembered most of the song names anyway.  Sean Sloan and Richard were both pleasantly surprised by this post which is pretty fucking cool.  Might we be able to hear the first Atomic Gods demo digitized sometime in the future?  We shall see.


I've had problems with links to download the whole folder.  Try and download all these songs in a folder with a single click here.

If that don't work download each song individually below.

2. Crucify Ronnie
3. Funk You
4. Unanswered Questions
5. Fat Rich Pigs
6. P.S.D.I.
7. Crisco Strip Twister
8. Doomsayer
9.  ?????
10. Excuses
11. Needle Freak
12. World Peace Though Beer
13. ?????? 
14. Modern Rome (live)
15. Attitude (Bad Brains cover live)
16. PicNic In Hell (live)

I have not digitized Side 2 yet!  Please come back soon to find Side 2 which is mandatory listening!


  1. Didn´t Atomic gods have a tune called Dolphins?

    1. CJ, I do not recall any songs with dolphins in the title or as a subject matter but thanks for asking. Perhaps its another band with the word "Atomic" in its name?

  2. I am so excited that I found this. Searched Atomic Gods before but failed. I remember slam dancing at the water reservoir in Vegas at least thats where I think I was. Going to the Spa I believe it was called for other good shows. Not sure if Atomic Gods where their. Any ways good memories of desert gigs. Great made me relish the memories. An old fan.