Sunday, April 3, 2011

Album Review: Godflesh - "Godflesh" (1988)


Miserable, misanthropic, painful. These are words I would use to describe Godflesh's debut. A lot like the Swans, actually.
The music is an excruciatingly slow doom-trudge through a disturbing industrial nightmare. Imagine Eraserhead in album form. Also kinda like the Swans, now that I think of it. Seriously, listen to Cop or Greed, and this is pretty similar. Not that that is a bad thing.

The music is pretty simple, but simplicity is all this needs. At the front you've got Justin Broadrick's tortured wailing and some wonderful guitar work that makes some of the best use of feedback I've ever heard. Then you have G.C. Green's booming, roaring basslines, and some subtle (and occasionally less so) electronics duties split between the two of them. Half the time one or both of the instruments sound more like some kind of large machine than a musical instrument, which is great.

So, we make our way through the tracks... They're kind of same-ish in places, which is kind of a problem Godflesh has sometimes, but they're still just fantastic so it's quite easily forgiven. Some stand out for me though for whatever reason. My favorite is "Godhead." One of G.C.'n'Justin's best.
As bonus tracks, we've got two long remixes. "Wounds", the first of them, I especially like, even if most people don't seem to like it. It's an awesome industrial dance sort of thing not too much unlike something you migh hear from Wax Trax.


Overall, I just have to give this album a good score. At first I didn't like it because it was a little *too* noisy for me (I had gotten used to the cleaner sound of stuff like Pure) but it grew on me fast, and now it's one of my favorite albums. I just can't resist going back to this frequently. The grinding bass and guitar, the oppressive production atmosphere and Broadrick's pained vocals just make it perfect. In fact, as someone who *generally* doesn't find Broadrick that great a vocalist (as much as I like his music) I've got to say I think his vocals work best on here by far - doing a Michael Gira-esque moan that sounds like some death-orgasm.

It sucks that this is OOP. I had to fork over some fairly good coin for a copy of it myself (about the most I'd pay for one CD, in fact) but it was well worth it.
Broadrick and Green go on to do some truly fantastic stuff, and break away from the Swans worship to do more original things, but this is the one I always go back to.


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