God’s Army has absolutely nothing to do with religion and everything to do with music. Their sound can be described as traditional NWoBHM style metal with a shot of adrenalin and a dash of hard rock melodic sensibility.
Although the music can sometimes be quite heavy and aggressive, there is a strong focus on catchy refrains and melodic hooks which has helped develop a sound that has attracted attention from many different sources.
The roots of the band go back to about 2005 when John A.B.C. Smith met Mark Cross while both musicians were touring with At Vance. John had some songs and an idea for a band called God’s Army. Mark liked the sound of it all and he was immediately on board. John then contacted his old guitarist colleague from Hallowed, Ian O’Sullivan who was eager to contribute, and to complete the quartet, guitarist Don Amiro was recruited.
Some initial recordings were undertaken in early 2005 and later the same year a song called ‘I Will Survive’ was selected for a Rock Hard Magazine sampler CD. The track caused quite a stir in the German metal scene and drew focus on the band from the media and record labels alike. The fledgling outfit capitalised on the exposure with a string of shows around Germany and even at this early stage had built up a steady and loyal following. With interest in God’s Army building they were invited to play with Paul Di Anno during his German tour. Mystic Prophecy also took the band on the road. At this stage in late 2005 the band had already entered the studio to begin work on their debut album with a number of record labels chomping at the bit to get them to sign on the dotted line.
But just as it looked like God’s Army were about to make their mark, bad luck reared its ugly head and in early 2006 Mark Cross was offered the position with Firewind which he accepted and this led to his departure from the band. Initial attempts to find a replacement for the talented drummer were unsuccessful, probably because Mark’s playing was integral to the formation of the band’s sound.
Lady Luck deserted God’s Army yet again in 2007 when John was involved in a car accident which put him out of action for a while. On his recovery John became disillusioned with the whole idea of being a musician as his brush with mortality had shifted his outlook on life completely. Guitarist, Ian O’Sullivan had returned to his native Ireland by this stage and by now it looked like the members of God’s Army had gone their separate ways. Was this the end?
For a time it seemed to be, but fate wasn’t quite finished with them yet! In 2012 John decided to revisit the original album recordings and rework them as a kind of artistic therapy of sorts but as he did so, the project began to take on a new lease of life. He sent test mixes of the songs to Ian who was immediately impressed with the quality and energy of the reworked material. The pair decided that God’s Army still had a part to play in the world of heavy rock music. Contact with Mark Cross was re-established and after hearing a mix of the album he was delighted to be back on board. The band discovered that music industry interest was still strong and they struck a deal with Massacre Records in the summer of 2013.
The Debut album ‘God’s Army A.D.’ was released on the Massacre label in May 2014 and was very well received by critics and fans alike. Initial live support of the album was hampered however, as Don Amiro had decided at this stage that he didn’t want to continue with the band. While auditioning for a replacement God’s Army continued rehearsing and composing as a trio consisting of John A.B.C. Smith on Bass & Lead Vocals, Mark Cross on Drums and Ian O’Sullivan handling all the guitar work. It was with this line up that the band played their reunion show in January 2015 in support of Scanner at their album release party in the Rockpalast, Bochum, Germany.
Since then the band has recruited a second guitarist, Eddie Van Dahl who was been involved in the creative process for the second album which will be released in the summer of 2016. A single containing two tracks, ‘Free Your Mind’ and ‘Enemy Maker’ will be available in late April.
God’s Army with its current line up and repertoire is a much stronger unit than it was back in 2005 and with an increasing number of live shows on the horizon and a new album in the works, the band will surely become a force to be reckoned with in the realm of heavy rock music.