Leaving behind conventions, rejecting the limitations of riding the wave of known sounds, erupting with something different from anything written before. Experimentation has been the distinguishing hallmark of Godflesh’s musical approach for almost 30 years. This industrial metal band from Birmingham, England, kicked off in 1988 by Justin K Broadrick (vocals, guitar and machines) and BC Green (bass), is back three years after A World Lit Only by Fire, published in 2014, with Post Self (Avalanche Recordings).
This album raises the bar of quality in today’s metal scene to dizzying heights. The musical boundaries marked off by metal music are conclusively overthrown in the spawning of an album that marries musical genres formerly kept strictly separate but that work well as opposites. This record is a beast that sows confusion and disorientation in the listener while continuing to confirm Godflesh as a strong musical entity that increasingly pushes the confines of metal music into uncharted territory.
Over two years in the making, Post Self explores the less metal side of Godflesh, taking in their formative influences to conjure something more informed by late 70’s/early 80’s post-punk and industrial. The ten songs on this full-length release are dense in percussion that degenerates into persistent noise and scans the ten stops on a pained, morbid journey. It’s no accident that the album tackles subjects like anxiety, depression, fear and mortality.
The first three songs, “Post Self,” “Parasite” and “No Body,” outline an aggressive, rhythmic sound that is blunted in “Mirror of Finite Light,” forcing us to concentrate more on the vocals and lyrics. “Be God” takes up the theme again and carries the listener to the hypnotic “The Cyclic End.” “Pre Self,” the best track on the album with its dissonant chords, creates a sound wave culminating in a distorted mixture of voice and percussion. The album ends with the disturbing “Mortality Sorrow,” followed by the instrumental “In Your Shadow” and “The Infinite End,” which finishes the record coherently.
If Killing Joke and Joy Division had collaborated, joining the aggression of industrial metal with their sound, this album would have been the result. Post Self is a masterpiece that only Godflesh could have created, however, in which all hope succumbs to chaos and the deepest darkness.