Three years on from ‘A World Lit Only By Fire’, Godflesh deliver their best record since 1994’s ‘Merciless’ EP.
A while ago, I wrote that the later “…releases either suffered from filler (‘Selfless’), lack of inspiration (‘Songs of Love and Hate’), good ideas poorly executed (‘Us and Them’) or just boring songs (‘Hymns’).
While there were always good moments on each release, a band like Godflesh should be delivering solid albums on a daily basis …Chopping and changing the formula is to be applauded, but sometimes you need to stick to the basics.”
I’ve had arguments with people about this for years, but I stand by this view.
And while I was glad that ‘A World Lit…’ was certainly a welcome return, it didn’t feel like an essential record.
It didn’t feel like Justin Broadrick and Benny Green had poured their heart and soul into it the way they had with ‘Streetcleaner’ and ‘Pure.’
Of course, the first record from a band returning after a long break is usually never going to be anything more than a starting point. A moment where they assemble themselves to relearn the basics, but the magic comes later.
And I am delighted to confirm that it has with ‘Post Self.’
We’ve all heard the title track by now, and it’s safe to conclude that it’s an utter corker.
That seven note riff that sounds like their cover of Loop’s ‘Straight to Your Heart’ gone full on doom.
Broadrick’s anguished, distorted cries of stress and frustration. The properly heavy drum programming. It’s classic Godflesh, simple as.
‘Parasite’ keeps the momentum going with some classic Green bass rumbles, and ringing, almost awkward guitar melodies reminiscent of Killing Joke that Broadrick does so well. Like a steamroller, it keeps going and flattens all around it.
‘Mirror of Finite Light’ is an unusual, post punk type number which favours an almost enigmatic atmosphere instead of the usual bludgeoning.
The melody is more (dare I say) jaunty than normal. It kinda feels like they’re channelling the mysticism of Coil with the more upbeat elements of The Pop Group. Definitely striking in the context of the album, and maybe one that people might consider filler. But I love it.
‘Be God’ updates the apocalyptic juggernaut of ‘Streetcleaner.’ I love the sparseness of just the one note bass thump and drum machine in certain parts of the song.
The distorted, layered vocals sound immense with earphones, capturing the grim feeling of modern life and it’s alienating nature.
As the song builds, it gets heavier and it feels like it’s about to collapse under it’s own weight, which it does towards the end, but the sustained end note cushions the blow.
‘The Cyclical End’ is a Jesu track in all but name: the yearning vocals and heavenly sounding noise which build up are a dead giveaway.
Having said that, if ‘Be God’ saw the collapse of the western world, then ‘The Cyclical End’ works as a more reflective, melancholic reaction.
‘Mortality Sorrow’ is another post punk influenced number, featuring a Glitter Band style beat and some Gary Numan style synth action. An eerie and catchy track, it sounds utterly fucked up and all the better for it, especially with the guitar and bass grinding away in the background.
A possible direction for them to head down in the future.
Closer ‘The Infinite End’ is another apocalyptic number, but this one feels more restrained compared to ‘Be God.’
It feels somewhat icicle, like they’re recording in a cave in the Himalayas as a snowstorm engulfs everything around them. A mellow, melodic and atmospheric way to end the album.
No doubt about it, this is a concise, bludgeoning album that stands up there with ‘Pure’, and showcases one or two potential directions for them to explore on later releases. It has everything you want in a Godflesh record and more.
Album of the year. No question.
4.5 / 5 -Christopher Owens ::: 12/11/17