I have music on the mind and on the stereo and so I want to do a little rant.
I’ve been on this big ‘Industrial’ kick as You loyal readers know and I wanted to continue down the path with an often ignored spawn of the genre: Justin Broadrick and the mighty GODFLESH.
I dare you, no I double-dog dare you to go out right now and buy a Godflesh album. On what grounds you might ask?
Justin Broadrick began in NAPALM DEATH in the early 80’s (yessss) as a guitarist. I don’t think he was ever on a proper released ND album, but then I’ve never followed them that closely, so I may be wrong. All I know is thank god he left because shortly after he did he formed Godflesh and began recording a slew of amazing albums.
As I’ve spouted in recent posts, ‘Industrial’ eventually began to colloquially embody any band that used a drum machine, and there you have Godflesh’s only criteria for being considered so. Yet there is a certain sound to their earlier albums, somewhat machine-like, well maybe not machine-like, but perhaps better said they sound like music written and performed by a band who woke up to find humanity’s soul ciphoned off by a machine uprising. I hate the terminator series, so I hate to reference it, but yeah, Godflesh might be the band that John Connor listens/listened to in the future, trapped in war torn field bunkers, bandaging together buddies and psyching himself up for one last suicide run on the machines.
Strange metaphor, maybe, but accurate, I think.
I’ve had the album STREETCLEANER for years, first hearing it via a good friend in high school who based an art project around it’s amazing cover art (hello Cap’m, if You might be reading) but it was only within the last two or three years that I started actively seeking out more of this band’s stuff. And one of the things that intrigues me so much about them is that even though I’ve bought six or seven since, there are always more I encounter online or browsing in Amoeba out here or the good ol’ Disc Replay on LaGrange road back home.
It seems like a lot more.
How many albums can a band record?
Another fascinating thing here is the evolution of the group. By the later albums, such as 1999’s US AND THEM, we are actively hearing Godflesh consuming the post-halucinogenic wasteland of the dying rave scene and regurgitating it in massive, jarring whirlwinds of sonic fury. Or take 2001’s HYMNS, where we’re hearing early strains of JESU, the band Godflesh would eventually dissolve into. Hymns sounds like Broadrick wrote and recorded half the album drinking gasoline and slaying futuristic knights and the other half stoned amidst his native Welsh countryside, smoking gallons of hash and staring at the gray British sky swirling with clouds and rain and generations of fairytale aesthetics.The twisted cyber-thrash of Streetcleaner makes a perfect artistic path straight through to the modern works of Jesu, who I unfortunately continually miss live. Jesu reminds me of what music like MY BLOODY VALENTINE (yay!) or even, god help me, the smashing douchebags sounded like for about 3 seconds in the mid 1990’s with tracks like ‘Drown’, only without the bald dickhead as a whiney singer.
And that’s another thing I love about both Godflesh and Jesu – Broadrick is an incredible frontman. Not because of his range – no. He typically buries his vocals in the mix (esp. in the much mellower, swirlier Jesu). But it’s the raw emotion and the simple fact that he does deliver the vocals, flaws and all, in such an honest, dare I say beautiful way that really ties the final draw on his music. Whether deadly serious and pissed off or heartwarmingly introspective, Broadrick delivers exactly what his music needs.
Thanks Mr. Broadrick, for all the great music.*
* An entire post with no astericks!!! Well, almost.