Godflesh Purge

Godflesh - Purge


Is a review even worth attempting if the band and its record are already up on a pedestal many colleagues have built over the last 30+ years of Godflesh’s career? Answer: probably not. Do we do it nevertheless? Yes! Why? Because Purge might be the best thing 2023 has seen in the sense of comeback records!

Justin K. Broadrick is a regular guest here on VoS – either in connection to his own music (think of our review of Empty Homes, the collaboration he did with Dirk Serries who also thankfully gave us an an interview on the record) or as a pivotal point of reference for other people’s work. The latter of course stemming from the undeniable influence Godflesh has had on the scene. Or his other projects and bands you might have heard of: Napalm Death. Jesu. Greymachine, and those are just three of them.

So, Godflesh is releasing a new album, the first one since 2017’s Post-Self, which was the second one released on Justin’s own label, Avalanche Recordings. Purge is of course, as indicated by its title, connected to 1991’s Pure which is one of the manifold correct answers to the question “What is Godflesh’s best album to date?” And blimey, I am sure that in a few years, some people will start throwing Purge into that discussion, because it is simply such a good record. It permeates a strong 90s vibe paired with a very state of the art-production, which has always been one of Broadrick’s strong holds, hasn’t it? His production has been striving many times for as cleanly as possible, oftentimes bordering or jumping into the sterile. On the other hand, how to deliver industrial metal? Has anybody been complaining when Fear Factory gave us Demanufacture or Pitchshifter spun our heads with www.pitchshifter.com? No, and righteously so; hence we should also not complain about that with the godfathers of that sound, Justin and his brother-in-crime Ben Green.

What the accomplished here is kind of unique for people like me, who were raised with hard and heavy music in the 90s but who mostly didn’t get the bigger picture: Many Nu-Metal atrocities cited Godflesh (among others) as an influence on their sound, these low-tuned guitars looking for the heaviest sound around – this might raise the question to what extent Nu-Metal guru Ross Robinson was influenced by Godflesh when producing?! And here on Purge this becomes a bit clearer, because never (at least to me) has Godflesh sounded so bouncy, so much like HipHop. ”Army of Non” sounds like it’s the best track off the Judgment Night OST but it was simply too good to fit on that record as it would outshine the others way too much (okay, maybe not all of them as there were some mindblowingly good tracks on that one, right?!). No one would be surprised if B-Real, Sen Dog or Muggs would be jumping out of the corner, grab the mic and spits some weed-loving lines on that track. So, there are some seriously good killer beats on this record, which might also be seen as a reference to Justin’s lifelong love for dub music, which can also be heard on the somewhat less bouncy but seemingly slightly off-beat rhythm pattern behind ”Lazarus Leper”. Do you see the pattern here already? JK and Ben have compiled something like a mixtape of the band’s history and development. Many different styles, many different genres all held together by the instrumentation and the vocals.

I am pretty sure, that some of you are now thinking “Okay, fine – but is there and Streetcleaner on it?” referring to another of the possible answers to the “best of Godflesh”-question. Do not worry, my friend. Many tracks breathe some of the qualities that made that second Godflesh an instant classic and the final song ”You are the Judge the Jury and the Executioner” has a lot of the qualities of that record and really radiates the vibe of the band’s Earache debut.

To put it in a nutshell, for all of you are surely eager to get back to the record itself: The record is the best mixtape between Industrial Metal, Dub, HipHop and loads more you can get in 2023 as it shows a band not selecting different elements from its vast oeuvre but using all of the elements, throwing them in the Godflesh blender and then garnishing each track with a very distinct sound according to the genre which fits it best. Oh and by the way, there might also be some traces of Jesu on it. Thus only you can answer the question, dear reader: Did it make sense for us to review the new record by Godflesh? Drop us a line!