17th November 2017 – Avalanche Recordings
01. Post Self
03. No Body
04. Mirror Of Finite Light
05. Be God
06. The Cyclic End
07. Pre Self
08. Mortality Sorrow
09. In Your Shadow
10. The Infinite End
The prospect of a new Godflesh record is better than Christmas in some circles; their return as a legacy act as been buoyed by Justin K. Broadrick’s consistently excellent output outside of their main project. Their experience here has had a positive, if slightly unexpected effect on their new release, and holds interesting prospects for future records.
Post-Self is rather a telling title: musically, the record sits between vintage Godflesh and Broadrick’s softer experimentations; a step adjacent from their classic body of work. It’s still as wonderfully abrasive, but with hints of post-metal bleeding through. Unsurprisingly, Jesu‘s shadow haunts the less-violent sections, but there’s also a hefty Isis influence; unsurprising given Broadrick’s work with Aaron Turner in Greymachine.
Album opener “Post-Self” still has the grime and hiss we expect, but it delves into some heavy, textured ambience. Following track “Parasite” has a bit more of their vintage sound. By the time we get to “The Cyclic End” there’s a distinct hint of Jesu hanging over the proceedings, which escalates as the record advances. Later, “Pre-Self” has the trademark low-fi grimy quality but with a bit of a lighter skeleton; this works well with their harsh, scratchy industrial sound.
The familiar rhythms, textures and noises are all here, but some of the song structures have been augmented with a liberal attitude to ambience. In many ways, Post-Self sounds like a reaction to the bands who were initially influenced by Godflesh; Isis’s Celestial sounds like a twinkly Streetcleaner, and in turn, Post-Self sounds like it has been influenced by Turner’s later work. Crucially, the progression of their sound is achieved without sacrificing the things that made them so compelling before, and the softer sections mesh with their bleak hypnosis.
The record isn’t a complete re-invention of their sound but is an interesting augmentation to a band who were previously immune to compromise. Post-Self sounds fresh, mature and well-realised when it could have been lazily formulaic. It’s encouraging to see an incredibly influential band be in turn inspired by the experiments that appeared in their wake.
Godflesh may be defined by unyielding aggression, but even though they’re still pissed all these years later they’ve found new means to express themselves. On the flip side, committed fans may be lightly perturbed by the mild softening. And it is mild – I mean, it’s no Locust Furnace – but Post-Self still has the caustic Godflesh magic. There weren’t many heavier records this year.