[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
You never notice how much you’ve missed something until you get it back after years apart and this is what makes the return of Godflesh such a special event. Pay no mind to how it ground down all those years ago and forget the identity crisis which began to manifest towards the end. Just go back… back… further back and farther to the dim days of yester-century when Justin Broadrick first birthed this beast. The triumph of ‘Streetcleaner’, the manifest destiny of ‘Pure’ and that pure jolt of aggression which came though so magnificently riddled with grit: ‘Godflesh’. There’s a direct line between those records and this new EP.
An appetizer for the new album due out later in the year, ‘Decline & Fall’ has sparse hostility oozing out of it’s pores; combined with a voice that means and does the business. There’s nothing complicated transpiring on any of these four songs, just a disconnect to humanity. A tune like “Playing With Fire” is a no-nonsense boot to the throat, excellently arranged and disturbingly approachable at first it turns on you like a cornered, rabid dog. The teeth sink in to your flesh and they’ll stay there until a crowbar dislodges them, which is about as perfect a description as I can muster for what I’m taking in on here. Junkyard dog? Pit bull off the chain? One sting may burn but a million of them will kill and if you’ve any idea what this band have gone through then this comparison is entirely valid.
I’ve always admired Godflesh for not taking the quick cash-out of nu metal when it was in it’s heyday, this group could have all too easily begun incorporating hackneyed hip-hop influences and catch-phrase lyricism but they didn’t. While mtv pumped out clone after clone of what would get middle class teens into the mall to hot topic our heroes opted out. They wisely avoided the ensnaring lure of easy money and world-wide exposure, keeping their heads down until at last their leader could stand it no more. I know he’d appreciate the comparison between where he was at in 2002 to how burnt out M. Gira was with Swans by 1996. Year after year of beating one’s head against an apathetic, arrogantly overconfident wall of public indifference. I cannot imagine how much courage it took for Broadrick and G.C. Green to be one of the opening acts for Skinny Puppy’s ‘Last Rights’ tour in 1992. The crowd at the show I saw were not only unfriendly, they were downright hostile.
It’d all be enough to give one a nervous breakdown.
So now that they’ve returned, you who don’t know them would be advised to investigate. They are one of the most uncompromising and engaging acts you’re going to come across. Just in the span of this brief release, they supply enough punishing drums and guitar to sate even the most hardened of doubters. Don’t even get me started on the level of bass they unleash or we’ll be here another six or seven paragraphs. Just go get this thing and if you haven’t already, dive into their catalog. Your sanity will thank you.