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Slavestate Review

by Ned Raggett

For this EP, actually compiled from a somewhat scattered number of original singles, Godflesh tackled what the members saw as its inaccurate ‘death metal' labeling head-on, explicitly embracing an electronic body music/industrial dancefloor approach. Some disgruntled fans even went so far as to call the collection techno, which isn't so surprising considering that the core rhythm sample of the brilliant title track is in fact taken from Stakker Humanoid's late eighties classic "Humanoid." The rampage of guitars and Broadrick's own way around singing and lyrics are still very much Godflesh in excelsis, though, as is the other, blunter drum machine burst which makes up the song. Two further versions of the song appeared on the EP as well, a wryly titled ‘radio slave' edit that's actually even more on the edge, and the ‘total state' mix, more a general exploration of the track instrumentally with different arrangements. Another number that appeared in multiple guises was "Perfect Skin," more in the vein of previous Godflesh songs but with an almost epic, airborne backing guitar arrangement nearly hidden by the crunching beats. Broadrick's own singing here is actually fairly restrained, while the ‘dub' mix is much fiercer and unfriendlier, removing all singing and sounding very much like a mechanical musique concrete symphony plus guitars. Two other numbers surface without attendant mixes -- "Someone Somewhere Scorned," which has a notable electronic bass part breaking up the usual piledriving assault, and "Meltdown," a strong number that's the most reminiscent of the earlier band, though with a surprisingly lovely coda. The EP is rounded out by two further tracks from a separate single release, "Slateman/Wound '91." As might be guessed, the latter is another version of the Godflesh track, but "Slateman" is something else again, Broadrick's mournful, drawn-out singing infusing the music with a melancholy air.

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