Godflesh – Post Self

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: Avalanche Recordings
Distributor/label URL: http://avalancherecordings.tumblr.com 
Released: 2017
Buy Album [URL]: https://godflesh1.bandcamp.com
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/jkflesh/

Band line-up:

JKB

Tracklisting:

1. Post Self
2. Parasite
3. No Body
4. Mirror of Finite Light
5. Be God
6. The Cyclic End
7. Pre Self
8. Mortality Sorrow
9. In Your Shadow
10. The Infinite End

Review

Industrial and experimental metal legends Godflesh have recently released their 8th album, ‘Post Self’. This was through Justin K. Broadrick’s Avalanche Recordings for CD, digital and LP formats, and through Hospital Productions for the cassette version. You may know that they’ve been going strong since as far back as 1988. So… Why is that? What’s their latest effort like? Well, one of the most instantly striking features of this music, are the pummelling bass lines. It’s almost hard to imagine they come from an instrument, and not some kind of huge beast. They really do sound massive, and if they were any lower in pitch they would be almost imperceptible to the ears, (but not the violently rumbling body).

The pleasantly unpleasant, dissonant semi-lead guitar parts produce an effective contrast to the typically driving musical backing when they appear; less creative artists would simply have everything in unison most of the time. Because of the combined musical depth of the band’s ideas, they can get away with a great deal of repetition and write more hypnotic rather than monotonous music. However, sometimes their predictableness does get taken a little too far, and one wants to hear something more unexpected. Having said that, after a few listens, one will likely come to the conclusion that quite a lot is actually going on.

Whilst instrumentally and harmonically these guys are very intriguing, (what the hell are some of the names of the guitar chords??) rhythmically things are usually very straight forward. Some of the highlights of the album, are when hooks get ever so slightly twisted in metre. Songs such as ‘Be God’ may still be mostly pretty primitive, but the partially off-beat, monster of a bassline is surprisingly addictive. More of that kind of stuff would greatly be desired, even though greater complexity could spoil the routine, nighmarish factory style atmosphere Godflesh creates, if not utilised properly. But it’s a risk worth taking.

When it comes to production, Godflesh are again rather refreshing and filled with character. They certainly aren’t a band that wants to obtain impossible levels of perfection. Instead, they embrace the naturally flawed nature of man and play just that tiny bit out of time, like all bands of the past did. Furthermore, not all instruments are played at the exact same level, and the electric ones sound like they have just come out of amplifiers that almost anyone can own. Nice and raw. Such rawness adds to the feel of a more human kind of misery, as opposed to mechanical. Mankind is suffering because of mechanisation, it’s not the machines themselves that are suffering, as it were.

In conclusion, whilst ‘Post Self’ has a wonderfully despairing and distinctive vibe, that’s the only real vibe on offer. The songs also have a disappointing tendency to just end without development. If the musicians weren’t sure how to end their works, even just fadeouts would have been a lot more effective. Negatives out of the way, this music has quite an emotionally powerful effect on the mind. Many may perceive it as undesirable and neurotic but obviously the fans – of which there are many – wouldn’t. Godflesh have achieved their goal of writing true artful music, and aren’t afraid of sounding a little different. These people are not sellouts.

Review by Simon the Mighty
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