Godflesh (EP)

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Godflesh
Godflesh.jpg
EP by
Released1988
RecordedJune–July 1988
StudioSoundcheck in Birmingham, England
Genre Industrial metal
Length30:48(original release)
52:36(reissues)
Label Swordfish
Producer
Godflesh chronology
Godflesh
(1988)
Streetcleaner
(1989)

Godflesh is the debut extended play (EP) by English industrial metal band Godflesh. It was originally released in 1988 through Swordfish Records and later saw several reissues on Earache Records with two additional songs. An unexpected underground success, the eponymous EP made it onto the UK Indie Chart and peaked at position 20. Though not supported by any singles or music videos at the time, a fan-made video for "Avalanche Master Song" has since been made official by the band.

Extended play musical recording longer than a single, but shorter than a full album

An extended play record, often referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single, but is usually unqualified as an album or LP. Contemporary EPs generally contain a minimum of three tracks and maximum of six tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of vinyl records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

Industrial metal is the fusion of heavy metal music and industrial music, typically employing repeating metal guitar riffs, sampling, synthesizer or sequencer lines, and distorted vocals. Prominent industrial metal acts include Ministry, Godflesh, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails.

Godflesh English industrial metal band

Godflesh are an English industrial metal band from Birmingham, England. The group formed in 1982 under the title Fall of Because but did not release any complete music until 1988 when Justin Broadrick and G. C. Green (bass) renamed the band and decided to use a drum machine for percussion. Melding heavy metal with industrial music and later with electronic music and dub, Godflesh's innovative sound is widely regarded as a foundational influence on other industrial metal and post-metal acts and as significant to both experimental metal and extreme metal.

Contents

Godflesh was recorded and produced over two months in Birmingham by frontman Justin Broadrick and bassist G. C. Green, both of who had played together in an early version of the band known as Fall of Because. Despite often being overshadowed by the critical success of Godflesh's first full-length studio album, 1989's Streetcleaner , the EP was one of the first industrial metal releases and helped define the genre's sound with programmed drum beats, heavy metal guitar and unusual emphasis on bass. Its and the band's title strive to reconcile the potentially deep and meaningful impact music has on people with its harsher, more physical side.

Birmingham City in the English Midlands, 2nd highest population of UK cities

Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, and the most populous city in the English Midlands. It is also the most populous metropolitan district in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 1,137,123 inhabitants, and is considered the social, cultural, financial, and commercial centre of the Midlands. It is the main local government of the West Midlands conurbation, which is the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,897,303 in 2017. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 4.3 million. It is frequently referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city".

Justin Broadrick Record producer, musician, singer

Justin Karl Michael Broadrick is a British singer, songwriter, guitarist and drummer. He is best known as a founding member of the band Godflesh, one of the first bands to combine elements of extreme metal and industrial music. He was briefly in the English grindcore band Napalm Death when he was a teenager in the mid-1980s, writing and recording guitar for Side One of Napalm Death's debut album, Scum. Broadrick has also maintained a parallel career as a producer, producing records and remixes for groups such as Pantera, Isis, Mogwai and Hydra Head labelmates Pelican. Since 2012, he has been releasing hard techno music under the solo moniker JK Flesh. Broadrick has set up record labels such as HeadDirt, Avalanche Recordings, Post Mortem Productions, Lo Fibre and Heartache.

G. C. Green British musician

Ben George Christian "G. C." Green is an English musician, best known as the co-founder and bass guitarist of the Birmingham-based industrial metal band, Godflesh.

Background

Fall of Because, the band that would eventually become Godflesh, [1] temporarily dissolved in 1987 when Justin Broadrick left to drum for the English experimental group Head of David. [2] [3] After only six weeks with that band, Broadrick was fired for being, according to him, "too noisy" of a drummer. [4] In April 1988, he and Fall of Because bassist G. C. Green reformed their project under the name Godflesh and set to work on a self-titled EP, [5] [6] which would be recorded in June and July of the same year at a studio in Birmingham; Broadrick and Green undertook production duties themselves. [7] Crucially, it was in this reunion that Broadrick shifted from acoustic drums to vocals and guitar and that the percussion was instead programmed on an Alesis HR-16 drum machine. [8] [9] The decision to employ stiff, mechanical beats rather than a traditional human drummer would prove pivotal for Godflesh and industrial metal at large. [9] About the title of the EP and of the band at large, Broadrick said, "I heard someone once say that music is the voice of God. The word 'God' conjures something immense and inconceivable. The 'flesh' part is what effects you on a physical level. Our music is loud and destructive." [10]

Experimental music is a general label for any music that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions. Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilites radically opposed to, and questioning of, institutionalized compositional, performing, and aesthetic conventions in music. Elements of experimental music include indeterminate music, in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. Artists may also approach a hybrid of disparate styles or incorporate unorthodox and unique elements.

Head of David is a British heavy metal band that features vocalist Stephen R. Burroughs and ex-Napalm Death member Justin Broadrick. The band's sound paved way to various music genres, including industrial metal, grindcore and noise rock.

Record producer Individual who oversees and manages the recording of an artists music

A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has many, varying roles during the recording process. They may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements.

Composition

As one of the first releases to merge the genres of industrial and metal, [11] [12] the music of Godflesh is defined by its programmed drumming, Broadrick's low guitar and growls and Green's pummelling bass. [8] [13] The EP's sound, informed by Swans, Big Black, Killing Joke and Throbbing Gristle, is notably heavy and slow, built upon the deliberately repetitive pounding of the drum machine. [14] [15] [16] Simon Turner of Melody Maker highlighted the EP's discipline and restraint as its greatest asset, praising its so-called "cruelty of denial". [16] The songs are often glacially paced, focusing on exploring chords through repetition, and Broadrick's vocals (either screamed or wailed) are sparse. [11] [17] Martin Walters of AllMusic described the guitar as "explosive", [14] and Jason Birchmeier of the same publication called the tempo "lumbering". [9] Alternative Press 's Jason Pettigrew characterised the EP as "oppressive and brutal". [18]

Industrial music is a genre of experimental music which draws on harsh, transgressive or provocative sounds and themes. AllMusic defines industrial music as the "most abrasive and aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music" that was "initially a blend of avant-garde electronics experiments and punk provocation". The term was coined in the mid-1970s with the founding of Industrial Records by members of Throbbing Gristle and Monte Cazazza. While the genre name originated with Throbbing Gristle's emergence in the United Kingdom, concentrations of artists and labels vital to the genre also emerged in Chicago.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Swans (band) American band

Swans are an American experimental rock band formed in 1982 by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michael Gira. One of few acts to emerge from the New York City-based no wave scene and stay intact into the next decade, Swans have become recognized for an ever-changing sound, exploring genres such as noise rock, post-punk, industrial and post-rock. Initially, their music was known for its sonic brutality and misanthropic lyrics. Following the addition of singer, songwriter and keyboardist Jarboe, who first appeared on the 1986 single "Time Is Money (Bastard)" and debuted as a songwriter on the 1987 album Children of God, Swans began to incorporate more melody and intricacy into their music. Jarboe remained the band's only constant member except Gira and semi-constant guitarist Norman Westberg until their dissolution in 1997.

Unlike many metal releases with guttural vocals and downtuned instruments, the EP's tone is not overtly masculine. About this subject, Melody Maker's Simon Reynolds described Godflesh as "terminal", or at the end of musical development, writing, "Rather than feminise themselves, they'd rather their masculinity was defeated, their strong bodies crushed and pulverised." [15] Broadrick has often noted this himself, referring to the band as defensive instead of offensive. [19] [20] When asked directly about the topic in 1990, he answered, "We despise the celebration of male ego that comes with most metal. It's pathetic; all these guys with their penis extension guitars just make us laugh." [21]

Simon Reynolds English music critic

Simon Reynolds is an English music journalist and author who began his professional career on the staff of Melody Maker in the mid-1980s, and has since gone on to freelance and publish a number of full-length books on music and popular culture, ranging from historical tomes on rave music, glam rock, and the post-punk era to critical works such as The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock 'n' Roll and Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past (2011). He has also contributed to Spin, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Guardian, The Wire, Pitchfork, and others.

Release

Godflesh was released in 1988 through the independent label Swordfish Records. [22] Distributed only on vinyl at first, the EP was a surprise underground hit that reached position 20 on the UK Indie Chart; [23] Digby Pearson of Earache Records took notice and acquired Godflesh, promising them wider circulation since Swordfish could not fulfil international demand. [24] [25] In 1990, a year after the acquisition, Godflesh was reissued on CD with two bonus tracks. [26] These songs, "Wounds" and "Streetcleaner 2", were in-house remixes of songs from the band's debut full-length album and first release on Earache, Streetcleaner (1989). [15] Godflesh was remastered and again reissued in 2014, this time as a gatefold double LP. [27] On all versions of the EP, the cover artwork was taken from the 1966 John Frankenheimer film Seconds . [28]

Underground music musical genres beyond mainstream culture

Underground music comprises musical genres beyond mainstream culture. Any song that is not being legally commercialized is considered underground.

Digby Pearson, also known as "Dig," is a British musician, producer, and businessman. He is the founder of independent record label Earache Records.

Earache Records is an independent record label, music publisher and management company founded by Digby Pearson, based in Nottingham, England with offices in London and New York. It helped to pioneer extreme metal by releasing early grindcore and death metal records between 1988 and 1994. The label roster has since diversified into more mainstream guitar music, working with bands such as Rival Sons, The Temperance Movement, Blackberry Smoke and The White Buffalo. The company also hosted the 'Earache Express' stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2017 and will be hosting 'The Earache Factory' at Boomtown Fair 2018.

A still frame from the video for "Avalanche Master Song" that depicts religious imagery typical to Godflesh Avalanche Master Song image.png
A still frame from the video for "Avalanche Master Song" that depicts religious imagery typical to Godflesh

"Avalanche Master Song", the EP's introduction and a track that MetalSucks described as a "classic", [29] is one of few Godflesh songs accompanied with a music video. Directed by three fans of the band (Jack Sargent, Julian Weaver and Stephanie Watson) who had followed Broadrick since his days drumming with Head of David, the video comprises bootleg recordings of early Godflesh concerts. [30] Some of the footage is from the band's first public show in Brixton, London. [30] Interspersed among performance clips are brief shots of Christian iconography, something typical to Godflesh. This video was officially released for the first time in 2001 on the compilation In All Languages . [30] The title "Avalanche Master Song" is derived from two Leonard Cohen songs, "Avalanche" and "Master Song" from 1971 and 1967 respectively. [31]

Critical reception and legacy

Godflesh received positive reviews, but it was mostly overshadowed by the band's later releases. Martin Walters of AllMusic called the EP "one of the most influential recordings in the industrial metal scene", but suggested that new fans should listen to Streetcleaner, Slavestate (1991) or Pure (1992) first. [14] Walters went on to describe the EP as "pioneering" and said that it "undeniably marked a high point in avant metal". [14] Also from AllMusic, Greg Prato said Godflesh helped "pave the way for countless copycat acts", [8] and Jonathan Gold of the Los Angeles Times suggested that the EP influenced the sound of many metal groups, especially Ministry. [12] Melody Maker published three discrete reviews of Godflesh from 1988 to 1990, each from different authors. In the first, Simon Turner praised the EP's focus on a drum machine as well as Broadrick's "huge but overawed" vocals. [16] Turner appreciated the vulnerability of the music contrasted against its harshness and weight. [16] In 1989, an author credited as 'P.O.' favorably contrasted Godflesh against then-current music trends, expressing a struggle to find what genre the band fit into. [17] In 1990, Simon Reynolds reviewed the Earache reissue of Godflesh, admiring its extreme weight and blend of diverse influences. [15]

Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, Godflesh's reputation has grown and critics have retrospectively looked at their debut EP in a favorable light; Joe DiVita of Loudwire called Godflesh one of the "most exciting releases ever in heavy metal" [32] and in their book The New Metal Masters, H. P. Newquist and Rich Maloof wrote that Godflesh was, at the time, the most ominous and malevolent music in existence. [11] BraveWords called the EP "genre-defining". [33]

Track listing

All tracks written by Justin Broadrick and G. C. Green.

Original release
No.TitleLength
1."Avalanche Master Song"5:14
2."Veins"4:30
3."Godhead"5:01
4."Spinebender"5:07
5."Weak Flesh"4:23
6."Ice Nerveshatter"6:31
Total length:30:48
1990 reissue bonus tracks
No.TitleLength
7."Wounds"13:06
8."Streetcleaner 2"8:41
Total length:52:36

Personnel

Credits adapted from Godflesh liner notes [7] [34]

Godflesh
Technical personnel

Charts

Chart (1988)Peak
position
UK Indie Chart [23] 20

Related Research Articles

<i>Streetcleaner</i> 1989 studio album by Godflesh

Streetcleaner is the debut studio album by English industrial metal band Godflesh. It was released on 13 November 1989 through Earache Records and was reissued with a second disc of previously unreleased material on 21 June 2010. The album is widely acclaimed by critics and is often cited as a landmark release in industrial metal; though not the genre's first release, Streetcleaner helped define what industrial metal would become.

<i>Slavestate</i> 1991 EP by Godflesh

Slavestate is an EP by industrial metal band Godflesh. It was released in July 1991 through Earache Records. The EP saw the band experimenting with more samples and electronic sounds than their predominantly industrial metal prior releases.

<i>Pure</i> (Godflesh album) 1992 studio album by Godflesh

Pure is the second studio album by English industrial metal band Godflesh. It was released on 13 April 1992 through Earache Records. Though originally labeled only as industrial metal, the album has since been recognised as one of the earliest post-metal releases. Musically, Pure is harsh and mechanical, with protracted songs and an abundance of deliberate repetition. Like much of Godflesh's music, it is regarded as particularly heavy and aggressive.

<i>Songs of Love and Hate</i> (Godflesh album) 1996 studio album by Godflesh

Songs of Love and Hate is the fourth studio album by English industrial metal band Godflesh. Released on 20 August 1996 through Earache Records, it is the band's first album to feature live drums, played by drummer Bryan Mantia, and a more traditional heavy metal sound, generally lacking the experimental and mechanical elements of previous releases. The cover is a photograph of Cancer Alley, Louisiana.

<i>Hymns</i> (Godflesh album) 2001 studio album by Godflesh

Hymns is the sixth studio album by English industrial metal band Godflesh. It was released on 23 October 2001 through Music for Nations and was the band's final album before breaking up in 2002. In 2010, Godflesh reformed and in 2014 released their comeback album A World Lit Only by Fire. Hymns had a troubled production and was intended to be distinct departure from Godflesh's intensely regimented industrial sound to something more traditionally hard rock. It was the band's second and final album to feature a live drummer rather than a drum machine.

Paul Neville is an underground experimental industrial metal guitarist and musician from Birmingham, England.

Slateman 1991 single by Godflesh

"Slateman" is a song by industrial metal band Godflesh. It was released as a 7-inch single in 1991 through Sub Pop and later reissued on Earache Records as a CD, a 7-inch and a 12-inch. In 1996, the single was repackaged alongside Cold World (1991) on one disc by Earache Records as the compilation Slateman/Cold World. Both "Slateman" and its b-side, "Wound '91", were appended to the end of most issues of Godflesh's 1991 EP Slavestate.

<i>Merciless</i> (EP) 1994 EP by Godflesh

Merciless is an EP released by industrial metal band Godflesh in 1994 through Earache and Columbia. In 1996, the EP was reissued along with the Selfless (1994) album as the compilation Selfless/Merciless.

<i>Love and Hate in Dub</i> 1997 remix album by Godflesh

Love and Hate in Dub is remix album by industrial metal band Godflesh released on 24 June 1997 through Earache Records. The remixed songs are sourced from their 1996 album Songs of Love and Hate, and they adopt a more ambient, dub and drum and bass flavor.

<i>In All Languages</i> (Godflesh album) 2001 compilation album by Godflesh

In All Languages is a compilation album by British industrial metal band Godflesh, released on 24 July 2001 through Earache Records. It is a double album, and a companion music video DVD was also released in 2001. In All Languages' first disc acts as a greatest hits collection spanning from Godflesh's 1988 self-titled EP to their 1999 studio album, Us and Them. The second disc compiles rare and unreleased tracks.

Godflesh discography

The English industrial metal band Godflesh have released eight studio albums and six extended plays along with a number of singles, compilations and remix and live albums. The group formed in 1982 under the name Fall of Because, but they did not release any music until 1988 when Justin Broadrick and G. C. Green changed the project's name to Godflesh and recorded a self-titled debut EP. That EP, released through the independent label Swordfish, was met with underground success and has since been recognised as one of the first industrial metal releases, if not the first.

<i>Decline & Fall</i> (EP) 2014 EP by Godflesh

Decline & Fall is an EP by English industrial metal band Godflesh. It was released on 2 June 2014 through frontman Justin Broadrick's own record label, Avalanche Recordings. The EP is the second release by Godflesh since Hymns (2001), following the 2013 single "F.O.D. ". It precedes the group's seventh studio album, A World Lit Only by Fire (2014), and the two were recorded in the same sessions.

<i>A World Lit Only by Fire</i> (album) 2014 studio album by Godflesh

A World Lit Only by Fire is the seventh studio album by English industrial metal band Godflesh. It was released on 7 October 2014 through frontman Justin Broadrick's own label, Avalanche Recordings, and was the band's first full-length album since 2001's Hymns. It was preceded by the digital singles "New Dark Ages" in August 2014 and "Imperator" in September 2014, and it was followed by several international tours.

<i>Streetcleaner: Live at Roadburn 2011</i> 2013 live album by Godflesh

Streetcleaner: Live at Roadburn 2011 is the first live album from English industrial metal band Godflesh. The release was recorded on 14 April 2011 at the Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Netherlands. Apart from being the group's debut live album, it was also the first time they played Streetcleaner in its entirety.

<i>Post Self</i> 2017 studio album by Godflesh

Post Self is the eighth studio album by English industrial metal band Godflesh. It was released on 17 November 2017 through frontman Justin Broadrick's own record label, Avalanche Recordings, and was the band's second album since reforming in 2010. The single "Post Self" was released for streaming on 31 October 2017, and a second track, "Be God", was released for streaming on 11 November 2017, six days in advance of the full release. Godflesh avoided interviews in the wake of Post Self, hoping to retain some of the album's purity and give listeners a chance to digest the music in a vacuum.

<i>Life Is Easy</i> 1999 studio album by Fall of Because

Life Is Easy is a compilation album by Birmingham-based industrial metal group Fall of Because, compiling songs recorded in 1986 and 1987 before the band became Godflesh. Released on 24 August 1999 through Alleysweeper and distributed by Martin Atkins' label Invisible Records, Life Is Easy contains many songs that went on to be rerecorded and turned into Godflesh tracks.

Mothra (song)

"Mothra" is a song by industrial metal band Godflesh. It was taken from their 1992 album Pure and saw release as a radio promo and music video in the same year. The track's title is derived from 1961 Japanese film of the same name by Ishirō Honda. Musically, "Mothra" is a grinding, mechanical song with shouted vocals and heavily distorted instruments.

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