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Godflesh – A World Lit Only By Fire

Avalanche

Godflesh - A World Lit Only By FireGigantic oxygen-snatching riffery, scorched parabolic vocals… Godflesh are back, as strong as ever. 2000’s Hymns seems in comparison a mild precursor to an all together heavier rebirth, something that June’s Decline And Fall EP hinted at. This is an unbelievably loud album even by Godflesh standards, a holy trinity of bass, guitar and drum machine whose energy is always pushing against its own thresholds without caring what lies beyond, escaping potential sink holes through sheer physical force.

A momentum tailored to grab your attention, sometimes winching like a salted wound, a beast greasily caught in its own convulsive knots, other times more adrenalin-poured, thumbing holes for zither fruit to prod their frosty fingers through. The bass always goading the machine’s clean lines in sandpapery recoil, wire

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Godflesh – Decline and Fall

Avalanche

Godflesh - Decline and FallSo I defrosted my fridge yesterday. Inches thick in ice, it was. Had to take a hairdryer to it in the end. Scalding hot air. Huge expanses of frozen water. A lot of wrenching, smashing and cries of frustration. All in all, it was a lot like the new Godflesh EP.

Decline And Fall is the first new material from the reactivated Godflesh project in thirteen years, and right from the start, “Ringer” sees Broadrick and Green going back to their roots in chuggy minimalist brutalism. The drum machine’s back, and it restores to Godflesh that sense of cybernetic onslaught that their last release, Hymns, was missing. When they’re on it, as they are here, it’s impossible

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Loop/Godflesh (live at Heaven)

Loop live at HeavenLondon 4 June 2014

“In case of sonic attack,” warned Hawkwind, “follow these rules,” before advocating such crazy measures as “try to get as far from the sonic source as possible.” One assumes, therefore, that the combined onslaught of Loop and Godflesh doesn’t technically count as an “attack,” what with being consensual. More like sonic S/M play, maybe. Because the urge here definitely seems to tend towards getting as close to the sonic source as possible.

Godflesh live at HeavenAnd the first sonic source tonight is Godflesh, the UK’s pioneers of industrial rock and things that go “RRRRRRRRR AAAAAAGHHH!!!” in the night. And they haven’t

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Godflesh/Ramleh (live at The Fleece)

Ramleh live at The FleeceBristol 6 June 2014

Ramleh live at The FleeceReally enjoyed those colour-blind psychedelics Ramleh were plying, being partial to a bit of nihilistic zeal. All that top-heavy primary and scuzzy nail-throwing does you no end of good, run through with copious amount of feedback roughage, a storm of grainy monotonies stabbing your ears and hitting the spot. Both Anthony di Franco and Gary Mundy looked in their element and seemed oblivious to the fact there was actually an audience in attendance. Gary’s vocals skating the fray like a glass-paper garnish, his back bent into the yells. The overall intensity tweaked, toyed with like a cat with a sparrow, the density relentlessly rooting you to

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Godflesh/Cut Hands (live at The Hawthorne Theater)

Portland, OR. 18 April 2014

The Evolution Of Bass

Every time a band reunites, it raises the cynical question: is this mere nostalgia, a quick cash grab? Musicians with nothing new to say, relying on former glories to make a quick buck? Or is it merely that their time has come and people are in a place to finally hear and understand what they were going for in the first place? With the recent interest in MIDI-fuelled rock by the likes of Factory Floor and the destroyed electronic textures summoned by Emptyset and some of the Hospital Records roster, it seems that the time is right for audiences to revel in Godflesh‘s ruin.

I arrived just in time for Cut Hands, (perfect timing, although I deeply regret not getting to see House Of Low Culture. Seriously, who puts a sludge metal band on at 8:30? Sorry readers; and HOLC. Next

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Godflesh/Philippe Petit (live at Le Korigan)

Aix-en-Provence 19 May 2013

Godflesh at Le Korigan A night of metal and more in one of the heartlands of Provence; not an area generally well-known for its enthusiasm for all things dark and loud. Luynes is a placid near-suburb of Aix-en-Provence, and close enough to Marseille to bring a decent audience from the current European Capital of Culture and beyond, but Le Korigan (a mischievous Breton elf-like creature – none more metal a name) is also far enough from the neighbours to avoid putting them out of sorts.

The venue, part rehearsal studio, instrument repair centre and music school and part sweaty rock club, is also a haven of noise and subcultural bandname-swapping among the crowd gathered outside to smoke and chat patiently while awaiting the opening of the doors. Lurking nonchalantly among the picturesque villas of a well-to-do town which is

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Godflesh – Hymns

Music For Nations

Godflesh - HymnsHi there. Can we talk about Justin Broadrick again? I like talking about Justin Broadrick. What’s that? Hymns remaster? That’ll do nicely. OK, let’s talk!

Justin Broadrick has been responsible for more amazing music under more identities and in more bands than I have written pieces praising them, which is quite a lot. Final, Jesu, Techno Animal, Napalm Death, Pale Sketcher… the list goes on, and keeps expanding. But for most people the primary association on hearing his name will be Godflesh. And that’s no bad thing.

Godflesh were legendary. Godflesh were legendary for a bloody good reason. Godflesh were phenomenal. Between 1989’s Streetcleaner and 2001’s Hymns, they pumped out music like a severed artery, relentless, crushing and, most of all, EXTREMELY fucking heavy.

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Godflesh (live at The Forum)

London 16 June 2011

Returning to the London stage after testing the waters at Hellfest, Roadburn and the redoubtable Supersonic festivals (the latter of course taking place on their home ground in Birmingham), GC Green and Justin Broadrick make an admirable choice to not overdo their stage dressing at The Forum tonight. One modestly-large amp stack each, and a screen for projections, plus some smoke. Actually, a lot of smoke; not in the SunnO))) fashion, where the audience cannot see more than a metre in front of their faces, but enough to make for a constant swirl of thick atmospherics under the colour-switching lights.

Starting off as they mean to proceed for the rest of the night, “Like Rats” blasts out its vitriol and barely-concealed contempt for humanity, Broadrick’s guitar shredding in what is at once

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Godflesh – Pure/Cold World/Slavestate

Earache

Godflesh - PureDespite having been involved in probably about 90% of all British manifestations of all that is heavy, grindy and noisy in the last twenty-odd years, from Napalm Death to Jesu, Justin Broadrick is still only fourteen years old; or at least that’s how he appears. And given that my job here as a critic, is indeed to judge things on appearances, then to all intents and purposes, Mr Broadrick is in fact fourteen years old. Which is why it’s all the more startling to see the dates on these re-released classics. Not only are they actually temporally impossible artifacts, they make me feel really, really old. Definitely at least nine or ten times older than the ever-youthful Mr Broadrick.

Never anything short of prolific, he’s currently trancing out at Kevin Shields-scaring volumes with Jesu as well as nuking the

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Various Artists – Grind Madness at the BBC

Earache

Grind Madness at the BBC

This takes me back. Sometimes innovations can be pinned down to very specific musical moments. In the same way that Eddie Van Halen‘s tapping on “Eruption” spawned a legion of followers, Mick Harris‘ death blasts on “Scum” set the pace and tone of metal drumming for decades to follow. Its hard to overstate the impact of “Scum” and late 80s UK hardcore. Suddenly everyone was listening to it (well maybe not the 80s pop dullards with their heads burried in the sand) because it was just so extreme. Napalm Death and E.N.T. records (yes records) cropped up in unlikely places like the collections of goths and indie kids, as well the collections metalheads and punks. It was

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