Post Self

Last updated

Post Self
Post Self cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released17 November 2017
Recorded2016–2017
Genre
Length46:38
Label Avalanche
Producer Justin Broadrick
Godflesh chronology
A World Lit Only by Fire
(2014)
Post Self
(2017)
Singles from Post Self
  1. "Post Self"
    Released: 31 October 2017
  2. "Be God"
    Released: 11 November 2017

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.

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.

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.

Contents

Musically, Post Self explores less of the metal side of Godflesh and instead focuses on the band's industrial and post-punk elements; thematically, it covers anxiety, fear, loss of self and similar topics. The album was critically acclaimed, appeared on several publications' year-end lists and peaked on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart at 23. It was followed by various scattered tours across Europe and North America.

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 America, namely in Chicago.

Post-punk is a broad type of rock music that emerged from the punk movement of the 1970s, in which artists departed from the simplicity and traditionalism of punk rock to adopt a variety of avant-garde sensibilities and diverse influences. Inspired by punk's energy and DIY ethic but determined to break from rock cliches, artists experimented with sources including electronic music and black styles like dub, funk, and disco; novel recording and production techniques; and ideas from art and politics, including critical theory, modernist art, cinema and literature. Communities that produced independent record labels, visual art, multimedia performances and fanzines.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

Background

After Godflesh released their return album, A World Lit Only by Fire , in 2014, frontman Justin Broadrick formed the band Zonal (a continuation of a previous project, Techno Animal [1] ) and created a number of solo albums; under the moniker JK Flesh, Broadrick released two albums, two EPs and a series of remixes. Jesu also released two collaborative studio albums with Sun Kil Moon. During this period of activity, Broadrick and Godflesh bassist G. C. Green were simultaneously working on Post Self. [2] In a February 2017 interview with Vice , Broadrick said the then-upcoming album, recorded from 2016 to 2017, [3] would be "more ambient, experimental, less riff-oriented. It should be a very interesting album, the next one." [4] It was Broadrick's plan from the beginning to approach the new music as sampled and electronic tracks rather than as typical metal compositions. [5]

<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.

Techno Animal is an industrial hip hop duo formed in 1990 in London, England by British composers and musicians Justin Broadrick and Kevin Martin. The name addresses the concept of a technological animal and is not a direct reference to the techno genre.

JK Flesh English musician

JK Flesh is a moniker of English musician Justin Broadrick employed for his solo work within "heavy" or "brutal" electronica music. Broadrick's usage of the title spans back to his work in the 1990s with Kevin Martin in Techno Animal, but he first released a solo studio album as JK Flesh in 2012. Unlike Broadrick's most well-known projects, Godflesh and Jesu, his work as JK Flesh is electronic and lacks metal riffs. Over the years, the project has shifted into a more minimal and dub sound while retaining its industrial influences.

Composition and style

"A World Lit Only by Fire was a heavy riff piece, a Godflesh minimal metal record. This new album is a mood piece, offering an all-encompassing vision of Godflesh."

Justin Broadrick on the band's direction for Post Self [6]

Tonally, Post Self is centered more on atmosphere and noise rather than the discrete riffs of its predecessor, A World Lit Only by Fire; [7] Joe DiVita, a writer for Loudwire , said that the music "hinges less on burly, cement-cracking grooves from the overdriven distortion of Green's bass and more on lurching low-end that provides the foundation for abrasive layers of swirling, droning notes." [8] Multiple critics compared the album to previous Godflesh releases, most notably 1999's Us and Them for its experimentation and hip hop influence, [7] and 1992's Pure for its sparse, desolate atmosphere. [9] As Broadrick wrote in the album's original press release, Post Self was an exercise in mood, compiling previous experiments under the Godflesh title into a new, more coherent package. [2] With the album's focus on generating a bleak tone, comparisons were drawn between it and one of Broadrick's other projects, Jesu. [10] [11] [12] As Stephen Wyatt said in his review of the album for Under the Radar , Post Self balances the shoegaze qualities of Jesu with Godflesh's mechanical beats and thick guitar sounds. [10]

Noise music is a category of music that is characterised by the expressive use of noise within a musical context. This type of music tends to challenge the distinction that is made in conventional musical practices between musical and non-musical sound. Noise music includes a wide range of musical styles and sound-based creative practices that feature noise as a primary aspect.

<i>Loudwire</i> Online magazine

Loudwire is an American online magazine that covers hard rock and heavy metal music. It is owned by media and entertainment business Townsquare Media. Since its launch in August 2011, Loudwire has secured exclusive interviews with Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Judas Priest, Guns N' Roses, Megadeth, Mötley Crüe, Suicidal Tendencies and many others. Loudwire has also exclusively premiered new material from Judas Priest, Anthrax, Jane's Addiction, Stone Sour, Phil Anselmo and many more of rock and metal's biggest acts.

<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.

In the album, Broadrick's guitar takes on many different tones and styles, but rarely does he use it to create a traditional metal riff. [7] Instead, Green's bass provides the order and much of the musical direction; [11] this technique was also used in the group's debut album, Streetcleaner (1989), when the band employed a second guitarist to create the warbling background noises while the bass was left to guide the songs. [13] [14] As such, Post Self eschews many trademarks of both the heavy metal genre at large and of Godflesh's most commonly-attributed subgenre, industrial metal. [15] The label post-punk is often applied to Post Self, [12] [7] and Broadrick's vocals show similarity to Jaz Coleman, singer of the influential post-punk band Killing Joke. [16]

<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.

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

Jaz Coleman singer, keyboardist, songwriter, conductor

Jeremy "Jaz" Coleman is an English musician, composer, singer-songwriter and record producer. He came to prominence in the early 1980s as the lead vocalist and occasional keyboardist of post-punk group Killing Joke.

Structurally, Post Self's first three songs are the album's most metal-oriented. [17] [10] [18] PopMatters saw the album's opening and title track as a microcosm of Post Self at large, saying that the song's structure "begins to transform, becoming more abstract as each second passes. The guitars slowly melt away, the rhythm subsides, and abstract notions appear molded through noise and feedback. This introduction presents the narrative that Post Self follows, stripping away its metal side and focusing on atmosphere, industrial structures and electronic elements to a higher degree." [19] In keeping with that progression, Post Self expands into many experimental territories; "Mirror of Finite Light" discards the conventional metal heaviness of the first three tracks in favor of drone, [11] "Be God" is bleak and reminiscent of doom metal, [8] "The Cylic End" follows an unusual structure and employs spectral guitar tones, [20] "Pre Self" and "Mortality Sorrow" showcase the abrasive industry of Godflesh and the final two tracks return to hip hop and introspective experimentation. [21] [18] Thematically, Post Self stems from, according to Broadrick, "loss of self" and "feeling like an alien in one's own skin," something that he has experienced throughout his life. [22] According to the press release, "The album deals with themes of anxiety, depression, fear, mortality, and paternal/maternal relationships." [2]

Touring

Godflesh performing in support of Post Self Justin from Godflesh.png
Godflesh performing in support of Post Self

A few weeks prior to the release of Post Self, Godflesh performed all of Streetcleaner at a special Hospital Productions 20th anniversary show. [23] Despite this proximity to the album's release, the band would not go on road again until April 2018. The first concert of a loosely connected, "selective" [24] series of Post Self shows was in Rennes, France on 12 April 2018. [25] At that show, most of the songs had never been played before or had not been played since the 1990s; the first five tracks from Post Self were performed, as well as "Gift from Heaven" from Songs of Love and Hate (1996), the title tracks of the Merciless (1994) and Messiah (2000) EPs, "Spinebender" from the band's 1988 self-titled EP, "Head Dirt" from Streetcleaner and "Mantra" from 1994's Selfless . [26] Outside of a 20 April 2018 performance at Roadburn Festival where most of Selfless was performed, [27] this set list remained mostly constant through the Post Self shows. [28] The band played nine European shows as well as Maryland Deathfest during the first half of 2018 and six North American shows in August. Godflesh then followed with a Spanish and four Scandinavian shows before heading back to North America to do a six date West Coast tour in December. [29] [30] [31]

Release

Upon release on 17 November 2017, Post Self was available as a black vinyl LP, a white vinyl LP limited to 1,000 copies, a CD and a digital download. The album was later released as a cassette through Hospital Productions. [32] Supported by two singles, the title track and "Be God", [33] [34] Post Self placed on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart; it was Godflesh's second album to do so after A World Lit Only by Fire. [35] Broadrick deliberately avoided most interviews after the album's release in an attempt to help the music maintain a sense of mystique. [36] About the choice, he said, "It did give listeners a chance to form their own opinion about what you’re trying to achieve, which was something I loved about records in the late ’80s, particularly post-punk albums. Having no context; coming to it completely clean. Everything is so overloaded these days. I just wanted to do the polar opposite and shroud it in mystery." [36]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic 84/100 [37]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [7]
Alternative Press Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [12]
Blabbermouth.net 9/10 [38]
Exclaim! 9/10 [39]
Metal Hammer Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [40]
Metal Injection7.5/10 [18]
MetalSucks Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg [17]
Pitchfork 8.1/10 [11]
StereoboardStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg [21]
Under the Radar Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [10]

Post Self was met with critical acclaim; it received an average score of 84/100 from 8 reviews on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim". [37] Initial reception of the album's two singles, "Post Self" and "Be God", was positive. Brock Thiessen of Exclaim! magazine said that the title track is "right in line with what you'd expect from Godflesh, and that's definitely not a bad thing." [41] Regarding "Be God", MetalSucks co-founder Axl Rosenberg said, "You can’t tell if everything is getting bigger or just closer, and the fact that you can’t tell only adds to your sense of panic, your total loss of control." [34]

Reception to the album proper was highly positive. AllMusic reviewer Paul Simpson said, "Post Self is more moody than direct, and isn't the most hard-hitting, immediate album in the Godflesh catalog, but for anyone who equally appreciates Broadrick's metal and electronic sides, the album is as stunning as one would expect." [7] Denise Falzon of Exclaim! wrote that Post Self is "a masterful release from two musicians who seem to be incapable of creating anything short of exquisite." [39] Jason Pettigrew of Alternative Press appreciated the sonic variety of the album and highlighted its "chilling" atmosphere. [12] Writing for Pitchfork , Zoe Camp said, "brisk, 47-minute runtime aside, Post Self is a daunting listen, as well as an essential one, even by Godflesh’s sterling standards." [11] The PopMatters review for Post Self was highly positive, praising how the album remains true to Godflesh's sound while still breaking new ground. [19] Similarly, Resident Advisor writer Andrew Ryce highlighted the album's ability to simultaneously reference old Godflesh material while still innovating. [20] Juan Edgardo Rodríguez of No Ripcord wrote, "Simply put, Post Self is another stunning addition to Godflesh’s uncompromising thirty-year run"; [42] Metal Hammer's Tom O'Boyle, on the other hand, wrote a more lukewarm review of the album, criticising its spare minimalism and lack of innovation. [40] Jami Morgan of the band Code Orange suggested that Post Self was Godflesh's best album. [43]

Accolades

After its release, Post Self appeared on several year-end lists. On The Quietus' 2017 Albums of the Year breakdown, Patrick Clarke positively noted how the album was a more refined, "spartan" approach to nihilistic music than previous Godflesh records, and decided that the gloom of it all was "even more sickeningly intense for it". [44] The same publication put Post Self at position 9 on their Best Metal Albums of 2017 list, praising the album's subtlety and writing that it is "extraordinary that, almost 30 years after the release of their first EP, Godflesh are still releasing utterly vital records that continue to reshape and reimagine their sound". [45] For both Revolver's and Rolling Stone's year-end summaries, Dan Epstein and Kory Grow respectively appreciated how the bleak, "dystopian" soundscapes of Post Self managed as much impact as the band's earlier, heavier material. [46] [47]

YearPublicationCountryAccoladeRankRef.
2017 The Quietus United Kingdom "Albums of the Year 2017"59 [44]
"The Best Metal Albums of 2017"9 [45]
Revolver United States "20 Best Albums of 2017"6 [46]
Rolling Stone "20 Best Metal Albums of 2017"10 [47]

Track listing

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

No.TitleLength
1."Post Self"4:28
2."Parasite"3:40
3."No Body"3:49
4."Mirror of Finite Light"4:23
5."Be God"5:09
6."The Cyclic End"4:51
7."Pre Self"5:08
8."Mortality Sorrow"4:46
9."In Your Shadow"5:08
10."The Infinite End"5:16
Total length:46:38

Notes

Personnel

Credits adapted from Post Self liner notes [49]

Charts

Chart (2017)Peak
position
US Billboard Heatseekers [35] 23

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