Hymns (Godflesh album)

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Released23 October 2001 (2001-10-23)
RecordedJune 2001
StudioFoel Studio, Llanfair Caereinion, Wales
Godflesh chronology
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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 . [2] 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. [3] It was the band's second and final album to feature a live drummer rather than a drum machine.

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.

Music for Nations is a British independent record label focusing mainly on rock and metal. It was a subsidiary of the larger label distributor Zomba Records, which was a division of BMG and later Sony Music Entertainment.


Background and composition

"This turned out to be a really long record for us. We put everything on this record that we had recorded ... We racked our brains on what should go and what needed to stay and it was just so hard to decide so we kept it all on. In this end, we said "fuck it!" We did eventually cut just one song, but that was more of an experimental song with beats that sounded like something from Us and Them . I didn't want anything like that on the record 'cause I absolutely fucking hated that album."

Justin Broadrick on the album's content. [1]

Following the under-promoted [4] release of Us and Them (1999), Godflesh left Earache Records and was without their support for the first time since the band's self-titled debut EP in 1988. Despite already having some Hymns demos completed, Godflesh had difficulty finding a new label. [1] After being repeatedly turned away, they eventually settled on Music for Nations, a "mainstream" label where frontman Justin Broadrick felt out of place. [1]

<i>Us and Them</i> (Godflesh album) 1999 studio album by Godflesh

Us and Them is the fifth studio album by English band Godflesh. It was released through Earache Records on 17 May 1999 in Europe and on 8 June 1999 in North America. As with Godflesh's 1997 remix album Love and Hate in Dub, Us and Them is influenced by breakbeats, drum and bass, oldschool jungle, trip hop and hip hop.

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.

<i>Godflesh</i> (EP) 1988 EP by Godflesh

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.

Hymns was the first Godflesh album with Ted Parsons on drums, who Broadrick called the band's "driving force" and inspiration to continue, [1] and was the group's second album (after 1996's Songs of Love and Hate ) to feature a non-mechanical drummer. [4] It was also the band's first album since 1989's Streetcleaner to be recorded in a professional studio. [3] [5] Parsons later revealed that the band recorded in the studio due to label pressure and described the decision as "a mistake". [6] Broadrick said he found studio jamming refreshing but simultaneously depressing. He called the comparatively traditional recording process "primitive." [1]

Ted Parsons is an American drummer most notable for his membership in bands such as Swans, Prong, Godflesh, Killing Joke and Jesu.

<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.

Despite Broadrick preferring the album's original demos to the final products, [1] the 13-track, 74-minute album was released on 23 October 2001. Broadrick stated that Hymns was a reaction to the previous album because he "lost sight of what Godflesh should be". [4] In contrast, he described Hymns as "a new beginning" that was intended to counter the "watered down" rock associated with the popular nu metal genre. [4] Musically, Hymns is a more conventional take on heavy metal than Godflesh had ever done before, [1] which was a deliberate choice, according to Broadrick. [7] Fact described it as "a strikingly spartan record, boiling the band to its bare bones and adding a little more light into the mix", [8] and Gary Suarez of Consequence of Sound said, "Hymns is as pure a hard rock record as Godflesh ever made." [1] While Godflesh's sound is often described as minimal, the album was particularly highlighted as a turn to the simplicity of the classic "guitar, bass, human drummer lineup". [9]

Nu metal is a subgenre of alternative metal that combines elements of heavy metal music with elements of other music genres such as hip hop, alternative rock, funk, industrial, and grunge. Nu metal bands have drawn elements and influences from a variety of musical styles, including multiple genres of heavy metal. Nu metal rarely features guitar solos; the genre is heavily syncopated and based on guitar riffs. Many nu metal guitarists use seven-string guitars that are down-tuned to play a heavier sound. DJs are occasionally featured in nu metal to provide instrumentation such as sampling, turntable scratching and electronic backgrounds. Vocal styles in nu metal include singing, rapping, screaming and growling. Nu metal is one of the key genres of the new wave of American heavy metal.

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.

<i>Fact</i> (UK magazine) UK music magazine

Fact is a music publication that launched in the UK in 2003. It covers a wide range of UK, US and international music and youth culture, with particular focus on electronic, pop, rap, and experimental artists. Fact was named “music website of the year” by The New Yorker in 2007, and has been described as “influential” by The Guardian.

The final song on the album, "Jesu", became the name of Broadrick's next project after he dissolved Godflesh on 10 April 2002.

Jesu (band) British post-metal band

Jesu are a British experimental band formed in 2003 by Justin Broadrick following the 2002 breakup of his band Godflesh. It is named after the last song on Hymns, the final album of Godflesh's initial run. Jesu's sound is heavily layered and textured, incorporating a diverse mix of influences. Broadrick himself has stated that "...it's very loosely speaking pop/rock/metal/electronica ... I'm intentionally writing what I consider to be coherent "pop" songs".

Live performances

Two weeks before Godflesh was set to tour in support of Hymns, G. C. Green, bass player and cofounding member, left the band to focus on his personal life. [1] Broadrick, devastated by the departure, focused his efforts on finding a replacement. Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven ultimately filled the void, and he, Broadrick and Parsons played a handful of shows. [10] In these concerts, "Requiem", a cover of the introductory track from Killing Joke's self-titled debut album, was performed. [11] At one of those performances, Killing Joke singer Jaz Coleman joined Godflesh on stage. [11] After those shows, a tour of North America alongside High on Fire and Isis was planned, but ultimately fell through when Broadrick experienced a nervous breakdown. [12] The Hymns era proved to be tumultuous, resulting in few concerts played and the end of Godflesh.

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.

Killing Joke English post-punk band

Killing Joke are an English rock band formed in October 1978 in Notting Hill, London, England. The original line-up included Jaz Coleman, Paul Ferguson (drums), Geordie Walker (guitar) and Youth (bass).

Paul Vincent Raven was an English bassist best known for his work in the post-punk group Killing Joke. He later played in the industrial music bands Prong, Ministry, and Zilch.

After the band reformed in 2010 and began to play shows again, the set lists were focused on early Godflesh material that Broadrick considered best. [11] As such, no songs from Hymns were performed live, though Green suggested they rework and play "Defeated" and though Broadrick was interested in playing "Jesu". [11]


Hymns was released on 23 October 2001 through Music for Nations. A remastered version of Hymns containing bonus tracks was released on 19 February 2013. Unlike most remasters, Broadrick's goal was to make the album closer to its original demos. [3] Regarding the final sound of the original Hymns release, Parsons said, "We were produced by this kind of typical metal producer. He had done a lot of Fear Factory, and bands like that, and you know, he kinda watered it down a little bit." [13] Included among the bonus tracks is the non-album song "If I Could Only Be What You Want", which was recorded during the Hymns session and was previously available on the Loud Music for Loud People compilation. [14]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [9]
Exclaim! Favourable [15]
The Wire Favourable [16]

AllMusic reviewer Jim Harper wrote, "If you can't stand Godflesh and their minimalist approach, then Hymns is unlikely to change your mind, but, for the already converted, this is the best album the band have released in recent years." [9] In 2001, Chris Ayers of Exclaim! wrote that Hymns was Godflesh's "most ambitious album yet". [15] Blabbermouth.net said that Hymns is "often called [Godflesh's] finest album". [17] Iain Currie with Bring the Noise described Hymns as "brilliant" and contextualized the album as "a reminder of how bands of real calibre reacted to that nonsensical period ... when nu-metal was picking up its destructive and soul destroying pace". [18] In a retrospective review of the album, Treblezine writer Jeff Terich said, "Hymns sounds more relevant than ever, having perfected the art of the beautiful slaughter." [19] In a 2015 interview, Parsons reflected on the reception of Hymns, saying "It got good reviews and it got really bad reviews. But I liked the album. I thought it was good." [13]


2001 Terrorizer United Kingdom "Albums of the Year"13 [20]
Rock Sound "Critics' Poll 2001"32 [21]
2010 Decibel United States "The Top 100 Greatest Metal Albums of the Decade"91 [22]

Track listing

2."Deaf, Dumb & Blind"4:26
7."White Flag"6:27
8."For Life"5:13
13."Jesu" (ends at 6:03 and is followed by a minute of silence before an untitled track begins at 7:03)12:51
Total length:74:00


Credits for Hymns adapted from 2013 reissue liner notes [3]


Additional personnel

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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.

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