[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
For being gone as long as they were, Godflesh have lost none of their trademark heaviness nor has Justin Broadrick mellowed as a vocalist. The rage remains, which is a remarkable feat to achieve given the length of time this pair have been at it. I know, I know, enough with the synopsis. Get to the money shot, press boy; permit me just one more brief rumination… oh to hell with it, here we go.
Guitars melded to heavy bass and a drum machine which by this point has to be on it’s last legs. The abuse it has suffered imparts serious flavor, like a primordial stew composed of stinging nettles and scrap metal there is no respite; when one song ends another begins and continues doing what this band have always done so well: hammer nails into the corpse of popular culture. While a bunch of Ministry clones here in America experimented with metal in the 1990s and christened themselves some kind of flaccid wave, Godflesh did the unthinkable. They introduced a whole lot of awkward social introverts to a much wider array of metallic abilities, slowing things down and coating whatever they did in a blinding, impenetrable cloud of dubby soot.
They ground out their songs, as though the act of creating was based more on attrition than composition. I suspect it takes a lot out of them to do this sort of work. In a world full of secrets and shit G.C. and Broadrick tied their tracks down and pounded them into shape; a white hot testament of skill and mercurial power.
When I put on their newest, I was instantly transported back into their world. A place where tempos pulverize expectations and the low end of things boils over into everything else; the voice barks out vengeance, it tears away the niceties of etiquette like a barbarian loosed on fine bone china. Godflesh have no time to put on any kind of pretense, their music is a full on assault. You cannot win against their combination of body pummeling production and viciously corrosive message, the best you can hope to do is to survive. I mean, look at the title of this thing and consider what that world would be like. The crumbling remnants of civilization groaning as yet another layer of bile is thrown on for good measure.
There’s a scene out of Carlito’s Way where Benny Blanco from the Bronx takes a trip down some metal stairs and has the shit kicked out of him which the song “Imperator” is perfect for. Love the riffs on this one, man they’re brutal. We’re talking body in a wood chipper sort of malice with blood, bone and marrow spewing out in a cacophonous melody. Who wants steak?
Yes it’s a very heavy business going on with our duo, uncompromising attitude. Music with all the subtlety of a back alley mugging and if you’re a non-believer don’t bother praying, your god is tied up in the basement with railroad spikes being driven into his eyes. Life is throttled into submission and to even consider rebelling only gets the boot put to the throat harder. No need for solos, no need to sing about the pretty people, the one constant is unrelenting anger; ‘A World Lit Only by Fire’ keeps the burn at a steady throb so don’t wait for them to emerge from that fire because it isn’t happening. They like it there and so do I; the fans are going to love this one, it doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is which is fine. Just fine.