Industrial metal powerhouse Godflesh return with massive four-song EP ‘Decline & Fall’

GodfleshI’ve had a chance to write about some truly legendary, untouchable bands doing this site. That’s something never lost on me, and the fact that sometimes those bands later reach out and thank us for doing a story on a new record is stunning. It really never loses its luster.

But today, we’re going to talk about new music from one of the most influential bands alive, who I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to write about. It’s not like it was a given we’d ever get new music from Godflesh ever again, despite the band’s reunion and playing shows semi-regularly the past few years. Kind of like when Carcass first got back together, it was great that they were doing shows and giving people a chance to hear their classics live, but a new record never was a given. Same with Godflesh. Witnessing them play major festivals such as Maryland Deathfest, and even getting smaller tours always was nice, and there was no reason to expect anything above all of that if the band wasn’t into that idea. Luckily, as time has passed, they have geared back toward recording new music, and now we have the new four-track EP “Decline & Fall” at our disposal.

Godflesh coverThere hasn’t been new, original Godflesh music in 13 years from this duo of guitarist/vocalist/programmer Justin Broadrick (Jesu, Palesketcher Greymachine, ex-Napalm Death) and bassist CG Green, that being 2001’s “Hymns.” They made their mark as an industrially powered, noise-infested metal force on classic records such as their legendary 1989 debut record “Streetcleaner,” as well as other stops along the way including “Slavestate” (1991), “Pure” (1992), “Selfless” (1994), “Songs of Love and Hate” (1996), and “Us and Them” (1996). “Decline & Fall” blends nicely into their back catalog, as it keeps their touchstone sounds in place, so that longtime fans can grab this thing and instantly feel right at home. Their savagery and intensity are there in full, and hearing these four songs bleed out and pulverize your senses is a great feeling. It’s awesome to have an active Godflesh back and bringing us music that gives a stark reminder of what “heavy” really means, and they sound as dedicated and relevant as ever. I can only imagine what their upcoming new full-length “A World Lit Only By Fire” is going to be like.

“Ringer” open the EP with a deep static wave, and then the crushing begins. The vocals sound like they’re swimming in chaos, driving against the waves and always holding up their end of the bargain. The pace is devastating and calculated, as the drumming punishes, and the guys head into a blistering section of thrashing before a mucky finish pelts extra helpings of mud onto everything. “Dogbite” is thick and riffy, with barked vocals that are authoritative and slightly tyrannical, kind of like you’re being hollered at with Broadrick’s finger poking your chest like a drill sergeant. The guitars simmer, the noises taunt, and the howl of, “Nowhere safe to hide!” seems to act like this EP’s prevailing statement. “Playing With Fire” bristles and burns early on, with Green’s meaty bassline leading you right into the conflict. The singing is a little cleaner on this track, through the music is sludgy and swaggering, with riffs that sound hellbent on maiming. Broadrick calmly sings, “Born of water, born of fire,” as the grimy tones take this song out into the night. The closing title cut has more barked vocals, sleek programmed beats that give a trip-hop shade to the song, and clobbering, humid guitar work that’ll grease your face. There is a techy feel to the guitar playing, delving just a bit into death metal territory, and the sounds penetrate and lace you until the track finally bleeds out, certainly leaving you breathless.

So there we go, new Godflesh music in 2014. Not only is this an incredible thing to behold based on its existence alone, but it’s also pure, honest Godflesh, which is all anyone really could ask for. They sound as devastating and channeled as ever before, and it’s a great thing to have such an important band back and creating new anthems of devastation. It won’t be long until we have that new full-length, so until that time, we have these four great new Godflesh songs to remind us that it won’t be too tough to find a perfect soundtrack for the end of the world.

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