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Godflesh might not be everyone's idea of musical bliss, their music is a pretty acquired taste that may not even appeal to most metal fans. The 80s Napalm Death line up spawned numerous outstanding musical acts when they went their own ways - Carcass, Cathedral and last but not least Godflesh are just some of those bands. Justin Broadrick was very much the driving force behind Godflesh, having played on Napalm Death's now legendary 1987 "Scum" album, he opted for a slight change in musical direction but was undoubtedly as equally creative.
Godflesh's self-titled album was originally released in 1988 and sounds ahead of its time, other than a bit of Stahlhammer, I rarely listen to much industrial metal and to be honest I don't really consider Godflesh's debut to be industrial metal as we know it today, it was a pioneering album and one that stands apart with the band's 2nd album "Streetcleaner".
Over the last couple of years I've become besotted with deep bass lines, which usually ends up taking me in to the realms of doom metal but Godflesh do it easily as well if not better. The vocals are devoid of growls and instead you'll hear a booming almost hymnal quality to them, they sound distant almost as if they are in another realm.
A powerfully precise drum machine is used on the album that almost feels as though someone is chipping away at your head with a chisel, compliment that with dampened guitar playing that manages to remain catchy despite trudging along like a train to hell and epic bass lines and you have a real stonker of an album.
The band use all manner of effects and tape loops to create a sort of cross-over between Christian Death, Napalm Death and Kraftwerk, in it's own way this is outstandingly heavy and they managed to create something that would inspire bands for years to come.
Lyrically the album is good, although I had to actually read the lyrics online to make sure because it's not really the focus of the album. Heavier than most metal and heavier than most techno, Godflesh are in a league of their own.
Godflesh were one of the more subtly influential metal bands of the late eighties to early nineties, the first to combine industrial electronic music with a heavy metal style in a creative and naturalistic manner, unlike the excess of other bands such as Fear Factory. Their first self-titled E.P. contains six high quality songs that carry off a gloomy and coldly mechanical atmosphere, possessing all the heaviness and intensity of Justin Broadrick's previous band Napalm Death, but without the focus on speed and anger.
The music is based around repeating electronic drum rhythms and heavy guitar riffs, but each track is kept distinct enough to appreciate in isolation. 'Veins' is perhaps the most easily accessible song here, comparatively upbeat and mellow, while 'Godhead' is a moody track saturated with echo and 'Spinebender' and 'Weak Flesh' both offer something harder for death metal fans. The final song 'Ice Nerveshatter' is the peak of the album's industrial side, led by a dominant drum beat, but it never crosses too far into electronic territory for the listener to forget that this is primarily a metal album.
1. Avalanche Master Song
5. Weak Flesh
6. Ice Nerveshatter
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Avalanche Master Song
5 Weak Flesh
6 Ice Nerveshatter
8 Streetcleaner 2