Reviewed By Simon Milburn
After an absence of a dozen odd years, the return of U.K. based industrial pioneers Godflesh was welcomed with open arms by fans and many reviewers alike. Three years ago, after the release of a teaser EP dubbed Decline and Fall, mastermind Justin Broadrick and long standing companion in industrial crime Ben “G.C.” Green unleashed A World Lit Only by Fire, heralded by many as a triumphant return. After touring here and there, including sensational performances on what would be Australia’s last ever Soundwave tour in 2015, the band would continue to appear at festivals and gigs around the world. Never was there any mention of a follow up effort in the works.
A somewhat random message from a fellow Godflesh fan and longtime friend first brought to my attention the possibility of new Godflesh material although neither of us could find any concrete evidence of this. A couple of days later, a Facebook post by Broadrick confirmed that impending doom, er I mean new material was forthcoming. The lead single, if you even want to call it that, being the title track itself. The press release hinted that the band have shifted focus a little towards their “less metal” side and more towards late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s post-punk and industrial sounds.
The title track is not exactly what I would consider “less metal”, that’s for sure. It feels like trademark Godflesh and there is no doubt it sets off album number eight in spectacular fashion. As the album progresses however, those “less metal” influences clearly appear and it makes for quite the diverse album overall. “Be God”, for all of it’s dark, heavy moods, shows Godflesh really pushing out well past the “return to Streetcleaner” like vibe that their previous album relied heavily upon. It almost has a remix vibe to it with the level of fuzz that emanates throughout as it and most of the album showcases Broadrick’s pained vocals as his most extreme and distorted to date.
Elsewhere, tracks are often more simple or for want of a better phrase, more accessible. For instance, “Parasite” could have easily appeared on 1992’s Pure or even 1999’s Us and Them. It’s undoubtedly signature Godflesh in every way. “In Your Shadow” could slot in alongside the remixes that made up the Slavestate EP, and “The Cyclic End” delivers spacious, droning guitars and is clearly more Jesu than Godflesh. Funny enough though, it works when dropped right in the middle of the album as whole.
As has always been the case with Godflesh’s career, just when you think you know what to expect from them, they one-up us all and deliver the unexpected. On top of that, the do so in a no bullshit, straight to the point manner of dropping a single and a press release which is swiftly followed by the album’s official release. It’s actually very refreshing in this day and age of people wanting everything yesterday, tours big and small being announced months ahead of time and artists pushing out studio diaries, blogs, videos, online live chat sessions et cetera, to have an artist just get in and get the job done. No fuss, no bells and whistles, no big teasers and associated fluff. Godflesh, as they’ve always done, have just got down to the task at hand and churned out another corker of an album. It’s dark, dense, expressive, and ultimately heavy as hell. There’s no doubting the band’s relevance after all these years especially as they continue to push not only their own boundaries but those of their fans as well. When the result is as good as Post Self, it’s clear that Godflesh aren’t done yet and that can only be a good thing.