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Godflesh Review

by Martin Walters

Godflesh formed in Birmingham in 1988 after Justin Broadrick quit drumming for Head of David and playing guitar for Napalm Death. Enlisting bassist G.C. Green, previously in Fall of Because along with Broadrick, the duo injected a fresh new approach into the metal scene with their extraordinary debut, which would subsequently become one of the most influential recordings in the industrial metal scene. Originally coming out on the Swordfish label, the album was reissued on Earache after the group signed on for their second album, the indispensable Streetcleaner. Hailed as a pioneering fusion of metal, electronica, and industrial -- and commonly noted for championing an experimental hybrid of influences from Swans, Foetus, and Big Black to hip-hop and dub -- Godflesh initiated an entirely new approach and thus revolutionized the metal scene. While on their 1988 debut the duo's explosive guitar and bass riffing over pounding drum machines and samples still had roots in the grindcore scene that spawned them, it still undeniably marked a high point in avant-metal. It's safe to say that when the genre reshaped to embrace industrial and electronica, Godflesh was at the forefront. The group went on to produce a string of landmark albums throughout the '90s that expanded on the abrasive sound of the debut tenfold, resulting in a machine/organic sound closer to My Bloody Valentine and Main than to the pummeling grindcore of their beginnings. This album is, of course, essential to Godflesh fans, yet the uninitiated should look to the albums Streetcleaner, Slavestate, or Pure for an introduction.

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