Godflesh – A World Lit Only By Fire (2014) & Japanese Dubs

Godflesh’s return was one of the most exciting things ever. I traveled to France in 2010 to catch their first ever live appearance since splitting up years before, and then I fanged it over to Roadburn the following year in order to catch them slamming out Streetcleaner in it’s entirety. I unfortunately missed the performance of Pure live at Roadburn two years later but after catching a few more live appearances around the UK I was like a baying hound for new Godflesh material.

The Decline & Fall EP appeared; a bizarre mix harking back to not only the glory days, but the Us and Them era, but this was only 4 tracks. So when A World Lit Only By Fire dropped, I wrapped my head around it the day it was released and listened to about nothing else for about a week straight. Unsurprisingly, I was quite burned out on Godflesh at this point so I shagged off writing a post about it for a while. That “while” became well over a year, so it’s about time I finally face up to this.

What came with A World… was more of the dirgy 8-string compositions from Decline & Fall, but with less hip hop beat and more industrial devastation. It is a modern day, fine-tuned crushing machine in the form of industrialized drum machine metal. “New Dark Ages” features a riff that would cause the downfall of many a boring nu-metal act; chugga-chugga-chugga it goes, over and over and over, with an almost unhealthy disdain for every other string and note available from the guitar. But here, under the guidance of Godflesh’s punishing simplicity, it works like a sledgehammer to the face.

“Shut Me Down” and the excellent “Life Giver, Life Taker” stand out to me from the digitized bog, as well as the sinister “Carrion”, which boasts the rarely-used but pant-shittingly heavy pitchshifted vocal style that popped up now and then in the early days. Don’t get me wrong, this ain’t no Streetcleaner, no Pure or Slavestate – but it’s pretty fucking heavy. It’s a sad reality that when bands have such a titanic back-catalogue (I’m talking life-changing, genre-defining records), the “new shit” is always going to pale in comparison, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that this shits on most of the stuff that came out in 2014.