Review: With a palette of sounds from the crumbling mechanical ruins of the world Godflesh create industrial grindcore which utilizes machines for rhythm while keeping a throaty organic voice of tone and timbre to guitar, layering feedback and harmonics with rough cut power chording to bring together the disparate components of thunderous but contemplative music. In organic veils of sound layering contextual positioning noise and notes harmonizing major themes, Godflesh thrusts a gesture of defiance in the face of the world as scenery shifts in multiple planes to reveal a hidden essence or new urgently essential path.
1. Like Rats (4:28)
2. Christbait Rising (6:59)
3. Pulp (4:17)
4. Dream Long Dead (5:17)
5. Head Dirt (6:08)
6. Devastator (3:21)
7. Mighty Trust Krusher (5:26)
8. Life Is Easy (4:49)
9. Streetcleaner (6:43)
10. Locust Furnace (4:44)
11. Tiny Tears (3:24)
12. Wound (3:07)
13. Dead Head (4:07)
14. Suction (3:23)
As if stamping together metal parts a relentless drum machine assault accompanies this music by pounding on the beat and soldering together ongoing fills of flawlessly aligned metals disintegrating in pulse and decay. Within this movable framework of rhythm bass prowls in explosive instability while guitars riff with downtuned power chords sagging into harmonizing tones, or lead playing that echoes accentuated themes while shadowing the whole in a new theme as a means of transition. Sometimes singing but often cursing the skies in the hoarse gruff death metal growl, vocalist/guitarist Justin Broadrick appears selectively to add depth to the sound but feels no compelling need toward insistent vocalization.
In the core of guitar composition, these works are based on melodic isolation, where by subtle introduction of themes songs maintain a balance before cancelling out principles of centering to the choice of tone and structure, forcing to prominence a support structure which will synthesize into the final theme. Emotional in a part-Emo and part-grindcore appeal to anger and then sadness, this work slowly builds a resonant mood across its songs, submerging the listener in harmony and then fading out into an EP of early and lesser-developed works which frame in aesthetic the mind of the listener as it interprets earlier passing songs and their waves of emotion tied to ringing, echoing, unfolding layers of sound.
Where much of industrial music became EBM adapted to violent rock guitars, Godflesh molded music from pure anarchistic sound in a highly evolved grind/hardcore methodology that fires songs from nearly nothing and expands vegetatively, covering a life cycle to match the riff cycle of its major theme before collapsing into chaos or continuity. This album endures for its compositional integrity, screaming unreflected ethic of artistic passion, and unique form of technicality which elevated the stakes for related genres. Its unrecoiling stare into the morbid sewerage of human souls and resounding determination to succeed beyond that karmic feedback loop propel its conceptual delivery into believable spaces of transcendent music.
Review: Slicing angular progressions pull together to form a a metamorphosizing series of phrases, dynamic entities moving radically in a fairly free but sparse shape of sound.
Guitar climbs through tones, pulling them from unconscious corners of musical composition, building a ranging collusion of tones falling over one another, moving in and out of one another. The music moves on its own impulse, a life odd for music made to abrade and destroy, to grind into the nihilistic cynicism and indecision, fear, of the decades of mechanistic darkness the world festers in now.
Godflesh's Selfless chronicles this band in an uncanny way. One can see the delight in drawn-out guitar noises fading slowly over odd industral beats that marked their first album, and then observe both the powerful, shifting riffs and the modulating percussion of Streetcleaner, and then the desire for tightness and a more rock-n-roll riff structure of pure, all melded into a streamlined, simplified, but still living, beautiful package of industrial sound.
1. xnoybis (5:54)
2. bigot (4:33)
3. black boned angel (6:47)
4. anything is mine (3:59)
5. empyreal (6:03)
6. crush my soul (4:26)
7. body dome light (5:31)
8. toll (4:13)
9. heartless (5:33)
10. mantra (7:26)
11. go spread your wings (23:50)
I'd be pushing it to read Slavestate in some of the background low noises and strange samples that fill in the space between notes or beats like hallucinationsfill in the swimming gaps of boredom in reality.
Godflesh were the original industrial grindcore band, with layered, zoned-out guitars drifting across each other in odd electrical precision, with the distorted voice alternately strung over the music like lights at a carnival or percussively entranced with it, playing away from it and to it, coarsely battering out vague images and linguistic capsules of confined abstract thinking. This pace moved on to a more dance-industrial feel on their third album, but at that point, all of the pop-industrial bands in the world had heard the Godflesh sound, and the result shined through, notably with Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, and the vaunted Ministry. As life cycles through its inverses, one can see the cross-influence occur, with the ideas of those influenced coming back to the original creators. This new Godflesh is less guitar, more beat and moving tempo, and has more of an instant-aesthetic than the darker caverns of understanding forced by the older, denser styles.
The drum machine has been taken more seriously as an artistic device than the simple rhythmkeeper it became on parts of Slavestate and Pure. Guitar fades out, but keyboards, static and beautifully subtle samples build up a sound, not as much around the industrial pounding of the drum machine, but with it, integrated into its style to play with what it can do, and to mock it, occasionally.
Justin Broadrick's (guitar, vocals) voice is less of a distorted howl for most of this album, although he reaches moments of vaguely savagery. He works the parts he sings to work within the music instead of laying a pop aesthetic over the sounds, the structure of the art. Let it be said, however, that the lyrics have gotten terrible and mainstream on this album, from the predictable rhymes to the traditional alienation/rebellion song topics. Not all are this way, and in fact, most seem to be innocuous allusions, but those that are stand out as glaring dumbness in a position of grace.
Behind it all, the cheesegrater bass of J.G. Green powers the rhythm, and adds a rust encrusted blast of abrasion, but fails to integrate musically into the new vision constructed here except as previously noted. It doesn't hurt, but it leaves a hanging "why - why not?" question as to the compositional aspects of that instrument on this release.
Selfless wraps itself up in a protracted and beautiful instrumental noise collage, with Broadrick showing the best of his revolutionary spirit wearing a mask of too much world-experiential data, with an adherence to a conception of sound that can be seen struggling to bring its ends together, an idea that powers itself with the need to resolve something without the desire to limit the crazy freedom of the world with that action.
Review: Slavestate extras and some extra tracks from the Pure sessions, released and in the case of the latter reformed through editing. The glories of this sixtrack offering are the two Slavestate songs, Slateman and Wound 91, and the classic Nihil from the later recording date.
1. Slateman (5:58)
2. Wound '91 (4:26)
3. Cold World (5:28)
4. Nihil (5:56)
5. Nihil (Total Belief Mix) (5:38)
6. Nihil (No Belief Mix) (5:37)
Slateman is a harmonic sickness infecting your blood and Wound calls to mind all of the empty, heartless, irrational moments of life under the machine. Nihil is just bleak but enlightened and free, the power of its emotion rising from its refusal to even accept its own word. As in all Godflesh material the work reflects a sense of evolution toward purity, the wayward sons of rotting earth attempting to cast their mechanical tormentors out of their heads.