It is no secret that I am a big fan of all music Justin K Broadrick related, and I’m not alone. As such, the return of Godflesh to the fray left many people drooling into their beards or down their chins. The new EP ‘Decline & Fall’ whet the appetites earlier this year, and this here reviewer enjoyed the EP but expressed a desire for a little more experimentation on the forthcoming album.
So the album has landed. I can safely say that die hard and new fans alike will be lapping this up like rabid cats at a blood bank spillage. You need more info? OK….
The album simmers to life with a short build into ‘New Dark Ages’where the grind begins. The kick drums are almost lost under the sludgy and mechanical weight of the guitars and bass though Justin’s barks cut through the mix nicely. Deadened does not let up, with a snails pace bludgening the listener into cowering submission with monlythic riffs. Next up is perhaps the album’s highlight for me, ‘Shut Me Down’ which has perhaps the biggest snare drum sound I have ever heard. All other snares can run away and hide, including those on the rest of this album. ‘Life Giver Life Taker’ changes the gears up and puts a size 11 work boot on the gas until the chorus yields a gargantuan riff which is another album highlight. ‘Obeyed’sounds deliciously lofi at times, calling to mind, not for the first time, the brutal work of Controlled Bleeding offshoot Skin Chamber, yes it is that dense’ though the track also contains an entertaining ‘gallopy (is that a word?)’ riff. The stabby riifs of ‘Curse Us All’ pave way for the more dynamic sounding ‘Carrion’ which contains a chorus that is almost cathcy and uplifting when set against the oppressive gloom of the rest of the album. ‘Imperator’ contains additional harmony thanks to a sung vocal section while ‘Tower of Emptiness’ gallops into battle before winding down into perhaps the slowest moments of the album, a grind that paves the way to album closer ‘Forgive Our Fathers’. This closing chapter yields an atmospheric mopurnful sound with a chant that could very well be the chant of the last man standing at the end of the world.
Now you, dear reader, may conclude from the enthusiastic and effusive narrative of the album that I have provided above that I LOVE this album. Don’t get me wrong, it is spending a lot of time blasting out of my speakers and headphones, and it is a GREAT Godflesh album, but perhaps the varying and diverse creative outputs from the Broadrick stable in the years since Godflesh first retired from the limelight left me hoping that there might be more obvious experimental elements to be found in ‘A World Lit Only By Fire’. Perhaps it is wrong of me to expect that, at the end of the day, Godflesh is a vehicle for anger and oppression in a heavy form, and the new album delivers. I shall be content to look for those other elements in the continuing output of Final, JK Flesh and who knows what other guises and collaborations the future will bring.