Following 2012’s spread of shows opening for Neurosis and tearing it up Damnation Festival it had appeared Justin Broadrick was going to focus his efforts on his JK Flesh and the shoegazing soundscapes of Jesu. Fortunately that turned out only to be a diversion and while this new release, Decline and Fall (Avalanche), from the seminal industrial metal project may only be a four song EP it is a worthy release which stands up against the cannon of punishment to which Godflesh has given birth. This may be the first Godflesh release for 13 years but any preconceptions of rust or decay can be laid to rest immediately. All the hallmarks this Birmingham outfit are visible for all to see. Like ugly scars which have been left weeping and festering tracks like ‘Dogbite’ exude all the paranoia and intensity which brought Broadrick to the dance. Snarling vocals atop icy electronics and a maelstrom of ostinatos which pulverise your brain to mush.
It’s an unsettling and deeply harrowing experience but frankly the twenty minutes of music present on this release fly by such is the immersive nature of the material. Guttural bass ushers in the bruising ‘Playing With Fire’ which is as frosty and unwelcoming as anything on the band’s Streetcleaner (Earache) debut. Tim Parson’s contributions to the band’s latter work fit well enough with the band’s modus operandi but Broadrick has made an effort to separate his projects more effectively by going back to basics with the drum machine supplying all the percussion. On reflection it is a gamble which has paid off in spades, this EP is quintessentially Godflesh something which will surely delight the band’s existing fanbase although that is something which will be of scant regard to the man in question. Visceral, focussed and harrowing the eerie harmonies compliment the driving rhythms and wounded vocals. As bleak as anything the band has ever recorded with scant regard for any musical evolution other than their own, ‘Decline And Fall’ is a more than worthy taster for any upcoming full length for which expectations have now been raised even higher!