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For their seventh studio album, Brit grindcore crew Godflesh returned to the relative simplicity of a guitar/bass/human drummer lineup. Justin Broadrick even sings on a number of songs without the aid of distortion. This isn't to imply that they've lightened up or lost their brutal, pessimistic outlook. The angst and the cold, mechanical feel are still present and correct, but the band sound better than ever. The incredible "Anthem" sees Broadrick in an emotive mood, something he's not been known for on earlier releases, and it works surprisingly well. Opener "Defeated" proudly displays their Sabbath roots, deep and slow, with an atmosphere of menace, while "Paralyzed" out-riffs anything Korn can come up with. As usual, most of the songs come in at over five minutes, with closer "Jesus" stretching out to nearly 13 minutes. 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.

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