Last updated: 03/22/2003 03:15:55 AM
through a smoke-filled haze, a child approaches a door and enters a room created by the sonic bombardment of apocalyptic proportions. he sees an old man with `napalm death' inscribed on his chest in a reclining chair. as he gets closer to the body, he observes four horsemen slowly don a corroded crown of thorns around his head. he sulks in his chair and reacts grimly as they peel back his flesh... our flesh... god's flesh. out pours a demonic storm at a catastrophic magnitude. cold, desolate rhythms, ripping guitar and bass lines, blood-curdling lyrics and bleak reminders of a world gone bad. the child turns in disbelief as the man's body deflates and his soul rises. he runs out of the room, but turns around once more to pay his respects. he views two men in shrouds, leaving the room. for years these two men have wandered around this labyrinth, scratching, clawing and searching for a way out. finally, they walk down a corridor with a third shadow. the child watches as they leave the corridor and open a door to a white, blinding light. they leave the labyrinth and present themselves to the world. this is GODFLESH.
GODFLESH has been causing chaos since 1988. they began with an idea and a common distaste for the mainstream. it began when two lads from birmingham, england got together and had a mutual affinity to make something hard to comprehend and easy to dislike. justin broadrick was a member of a groundbreaking death metal band, NAPALM DEATH. he left the band to search for something more engaging and less deathly. he was not a guitarist, but a drummer at this time. he met up with g.c. green and GODFLESH was formed. with broadrick on guitar, green on bass and mechanized machines creating the samples, drums and other effects, GODFLESH preached their first sermon on the low-budget, `godflesh' release in 1989. the ep was characterized by muffled vocals, loud bass lines, crunchy guitars with a lot of feedback and ear-shattering samples. GODFLESH displayed their initial furore on tracks like "avalanche master song," "weak flesh," "ice nerveshatter" and "wounds."
in 1990, GODFLESH released their first full-length release 'streetcleaner.' the lyrics and musical style are darker than the ideas they use at present (the cover of 'streetcleaner' is a picture of burning crosses from a movie, altered states). the sound quality is better than the previous release and the music is built by coherant bass and drum sampling with various high-pitched guitar blurbs. on top of this, they layer harsh guitar riffs and distorted vocals, which make the music have more depth to it. their 'love ballads' got their message out to the world with happy, life-reinforcing songs like "christbait rising," "locust furnace," "life is easy," "suction," "pulp," "dream long dead," "tiny tears" and "like rats." there are four songs which appear on the cd version and were to be on the ep, 'tiny tears,' but instead were combined onto on disc.
after this, GODFLESH released 'slavestate,' which is more of a conceptual work than the first two, in which they began to experiment and use other styles in combination with their own. 'slavestate' served to act more as another mini-album. in particular, they experimented with catchy, dance-like rhythms to accentuate their strange and captivating style. justin incorporates the guitars in the body of songs, by adding riffs instead of high-pitched strums. songs like "slavestate," "someone somewhere scorned," "perfect skin," "meltdown" and the remixes of "slavestate," show that they mix in techno-beats and other effects with the hard-pummeling sound of their factory samples and crunchy guitars. this album spawned GODFLESH's first 'commercial' music video, which they made for "slavestate" and is a intricate piece with fractal-like backgrounds and other images, along with colorful, pulsating backgrounds with images of the band and the letters j-e-s-u-s flashing.
their third release, 'pure,' was a mix of all the musical styles that they had used till that point. the cover shows a hand reaching into the ground, with fungus and wildlife growing on it and the booklet has a grey, cold tinge to it. with this album, they gained certain recognition for their musical style, which included a song ("pure ii") that is 21 minutes long and full of guitar feedback and factory samples. the songs on 'pure' show the band's growing maturity through the complexity and intricacy of the guitar rhythms and the drum beats. songs off this album that exemplify this to the fullest are "i wasn't born to follow," "don't bring me flowers," "baby blue eyes," "mothra," "predominance" and "love/hate (slugbaiting)." this album saw the release of their second video for "mothra" and touring opportunities with giants like MINISTRY and SKINNY PUPPY.
during the recording of 'pure,' they wrote others songs, which they released on an ep, 'cold world.' this is an interesting release, because it is mellow and contains some of their best work. "cold world" is filled with instrumental samples, the basic GODFLESH elements and justin's wailing voice. "nihil" is techno-dance oriented, with fast beats and the aforementioned GODFLESH style. the ep also contains two mixes of "nihil." the (total belief mix) is less charismatic, but the (no belief mix) is even less charismatic and is more muffled than the original.
after a sixteen-month hiatus from the stale music scene, the band released the ep, 'merciless' in august '94, which consisted of "biomechanical remixes" of songs from their last album. in doing so, they deconstructed the songs into basic elements, isolated pieces that they liked and combined them into song form and released this ep. the only actual 'remixes' were on "unworthy," which is an interesting combination of grinding machine samples, pummeling bass lines, drum beats and broadrick's echoed voice and "flowers," which is an ambient mix of "don't bring me flowers." "merciless" and "blind" are new songs, but "merciless" is a reworked fall of because song, whereas "blind" is comprised of low bass, machine samples, drums beats and justin's lovely voice. ‘merciless’ was to be the precursor to a new style that they were leaning towards, with their new inked deal with columbia records.
this new change was evident on `selfless.' the album was a guitar-oriented effort and slightly disappointing. the band stated that this was the rock record that they needed to get out of their system. with many intriguing images, including the colorful blue and yellow cell on a microchip cover, the band stretched their talents, as they seemed to take more time on the guitar riffs, bass lines and lyrics and less time on the drumming sequences, which could have been more intricate. in the past, their drum rhythms have been quite intricate, but on this release, they overloaded the audio with guitars, bass and vocals. they do impress on some tracks, including "xnoybis," "bigot," "crush my soul," which is one of the fastest GODFLESH's songs and it has a video for it, "anything is mine," "body dome light" and "mantra." they chose to work with a long, extended song once again, creating the 24 minute epic, "go spread your wings." like "pure ii," this one doesn't fail to impress as they delve into 10 minutes of guitar riffed music and 14 minutes of feedback and sample work. they toured and then holed up once again.
the band took some time to work on side-projects like ICE, TECHNO ANIMAL, GOD, and various others. after they lost their deal with columbia, they were brought back onto earache and the label began to re-release GODFLESH’s older material. with this, GODFLESH began work on their first release for earache records. in the past, they had licensing deals with combat and relativity. the people saw the light as GODFLESH unleashed their newest weapon, containing aggressive rapid fire drive and a passionate, mechanized and motorized conception in the form of ‘songs of love and hate.’
GODFLESH’s fourth album is a display of pure anger, disgust, greed, lust, empathy, selfishness and hope. there are differences on this album from the others in that they put the lyrics in the cover and they used a ‘live’ drummer, where in the past they relied on a machine to create their background rhythms. the album features a balanced attack of acidic guitar riffs, biologically enhanced bass lines, broadrick’s lovely voice and hell-thumping drum beats. the band, joined by brain mantia on drums, conducts its destructive symphony on tracks like "wake," "sterile prophet," "circle of shit," "hunter," "gift from heaven," "time, death and wastefulness" and a love song in the form of "frail." in support of the monumental release, GODFLESH embarked on their first headlining tour through the u.s. and brought the hell, fire and brimstone to american ears.
after they finished touring, the band went back to the studio and remixed the entire album. the end result was a manifesto of loud, bass-thumping beats, samples, high-pitched guitars squeals and an overall hip-hop feel. 'love and hate in dub' is the most innovative release in sometime as GODFLESH brings the world of rock, a little closer to that of hip-hop and other forms of experimental music. on this release, they deconstructed most of the songs and tweaked them. broadrick and green added some new samples and sounds in certain places, but overall, the album is a dismantled version of 'songs of love and hate,' with contorted beats and an emphasis on the rhythms without guitars and vocals. remixes like "circle of shit (to the point dub)," "sterile prophet (version)," "kingdom come (version)," "time, death and wastefulness (in dub)" and "domain." GODFLESH was supposed to come back around on a dub version of the tour, called "the GODFLESH soundsystem," but they only played a couple of shows in europe and then went back to work on their side projects.
after justin and benny spent more time with their side-projects, they regrouped and recording their fifth studio album, 'us & them'. released in 1999, the album has a much different feel to from that of 'songs of love and hate,' but it does show the progression of the band. the songs on the album meld some of the synthetic, hip-hop like elements of 'love and hate...' with the natural corrosive sound quality of 'songs...', but there is a lower count of guitar-riffed anthems. instead, the band has superimposed thumping bass beats, more pronounced bass lines and elements, previously thought unimaginable with a guitar. there are a plethora of styles that are experimented with like hip-hop, some parts of electronica and some drum and bass. once again, the band included the song lyrics so that the listener can follow along on tracks like "endgames," "witchhunt," "bittersweet," "descent," "control freak" and "the internal." following the recording, GODFLESH toured in europe for a little bit and then brought on ted parsons on drums and inducted him as the official third member of the band.
the band had thoughts of doing a tour to support the album and an accompanying 'dub' release as they had done with 'song...', but tensions between earache and GODFLESH had risen to a point where it decided to leave the label. the duo formed avalanche recordings and through it, they began to release some of their side-projects, including a unreleased GODFLESH ep. the 'messiah' ep was recorded in '94 and wasn't released because broadrick and green were apparently unhappy with the quality of the recordings. they finally released the ep on their label and only through their website. available in cd-r format, 'messiah' is reminiscent of 'pure' and 'cold world' in that it's methodical and calculating style is simple and cold, but rich with flavor. the ep contains four original tracks and four dub versions, including "wilderness of mirrors," "sungod" and "scapegoat".
there had been talk of a GODFLESH anthology and with the band's departure from earache, there was no better time to follow through than in mid 2001 with the release of 'in all languages'. the cd is a two-disc affair: the first disc (flesh of god) is a best-of package, containing GODFLESH's greatest hits and the second disc (beyond the flesh) is filled with obscure and unreleased songs from the band's vault. some of the surprises included are "love is a dog from hell," "newspite," "empyreal 2," live bbc versions of "tiny tears" and "pulp" and two remixes from "us & them". although these were great additions to the fan's collections, certain rarities such as "my own light," "pure spite," "absorber," "hunted and consumed" and many others were left off the collection. the cd comes with a colorfully written piece about the band by raffi ouzounian. accompanying the cd was a dvd with the same title, featuring music videos that had been released for "crush my soul," "mothra," "slavestate," and two largely promotional videos for "christbait rising" and "avalanche master song". the promo videos feature live footage, the latter containing material from some of GODFLESH's first shows in 1988. the releases closed the earache book of the GODFLESH bible and allowed the band the begin a new psalm.
with every ending, there is a new beginning and so it has begun again for GODFLESH. after signing on with the music conglomerate, music for nations, GODFLESH re-created itself in a sense to re-present itself to the world. ted parsons was officially brought in as the third member of the band and in august '01, GODFLESH presented 'hymns' for the masses to all praise. 'hymns' is sixth official release for the band and from the start, the band essentially picks up where 'songs...' left off. there was some sad news, as founder and long time member, g.c. (benny) green decided to hang up his strings after 13 years of musical mayhem. in his place, the band inducted paul raven, previously or KILLING JOKE/ PRONG fame. as an overall piece, 'hymns' is rock-oriented album, which refocuses the gears in the GODFLESH machine, while retaining its storied past. from the beginning rhythms of the crushing "defeated," GODFLESH proves once again that they are the benchmark and pedestal dwellers by which all nü-metal bands have spawned and still look up to. other verses which dictate to the masses come from "deaf, dumb & blind," "paralyzed," "tyrant, "for life," "animals," "antihuman," and "jesu". the fans are given an extra treat as well, as there is an untitled, unreleased song following "jesu," which is warmly reminiscent of "frail" from 'songs...' this is warm sounding album, as opposed to the decandent and cold releases of the past and while the past has been a great, one can only see good things to come in the future.
unfortunately, GODFLESH will not be able to provide us with the love and energy that we have come to enjoy from them for over 12 years. just days before the band was the arrive in the u.s. to tour for 'hymns,' justin broadrick had a breakdown and cancelled the whole tour. many rumors circled as to the reasons, but ultimately, he felt that his heart was no longer in it anymore and disbanded GODFLESH. GODFLESH has been a true innovator and godfather of industrial metal and their influence can be seen everywhere in many of the bands of today. they will be sorely missed, but justin has vowed to resurface in his new project, which he calls JESU. hopefully, it won't be too long now. as for GODFLESH, justin has met his compatriot benny once again and they have stepped into the light as the beams blind all others looking on and the doors close for the last time.