Throughout his career, Justin K. Broadrick has never been willing to compromise his artistic vision. From the beginning Godflesh laid the groundwork for everyone from Fear Factory to Isis, carving out harsh landscapes of metallic industrial noise steeped in the grim and filth of the Birmingham factories that surrounded them. Since the band’s hiatus from 2002 to 2010 Broadrick indulged his creative muse by lending his talents to ambient music (Final), Techno Animal (Hip Hop) and shoegazing post metal act Jesu.
A World Lit Only By Fire (Avalanche Records) is as bleak and apocalyptic as its title suggests. Swan song record Hymns may have used real drums and incorporated further melodies but this is the sound of Broadrick returning to the harrowing, coldness of old with just his old running mate G.C. Green and their trusty drum machine for company.
The crushing landscapes of Streetcleaner are recalled in the merciless dehumanised beats yet the harshness of the eight string guitar has taken this unforgiving creation an even blacker more disturbing feel.
While this approach will undoubtedly excite fans of the band’s early works this is no mere exercise in nostalgia. The use of eight string guitar has aided the development of the band’s penchant for dissonant minor key melodies strung out over visceral minimalist beats which drive the band’s point home perfectly.
The churning riffs of ‘Life Giver, Life Taker’ and ‘Carrion’ give whole new meaning to relentless nihilistic aggression harnessing the atmosphere of their earliest works while retaining a feel which is unmistakably contemporary.
No quarter is given through this punishing ten song assault. The brutal repetition and feeling of emptiness is embodied greatly on closer ‘Forgive Our Fathers’ where Broadrick alternates from drill sergeant brutal screams to wails of torment that echo true desperation in a way that is almost too close for comfort.
The momentum never lags throughout this fearsome monolith feeling urgent and vital throughout. It may be their first full length in thirteen years but every fibre of the bands DNA has mutated into an even more virulent strain of post-Sabbath paranoia whose icy claws cannot be escaped.