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Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire album artwork

A World Lit Only By Fire

7th October 2014 – Avalanche Recordings

01. New Dark Ages
02. Deadend
03. Shut Me Down
04. Life Giver Life Taker
05. Obeyed
06. Curse Us All
07. Carrion
08. Imperator
09. Towers of Emptiness
10. Forgive Our Fathers

You’re eclectic and unique. You don’t just go with the mainstream crowd, man. You blaze your own trail through society. Those other kids at school don’t even get it. Fucking Celine Dion. “The Macarena“. The freaking SPICE GIRLS?! What is that crap, man? I swear.

Kicking off your Doc Martens, you look over just as the movie ends. Ghost In The Shell. So rad. There is no way those posers would understand this. The VCR auto-rewinds, and you decide to fire up some Quake. The soundcard is going out on your computer, so you gotta find some tunes. Reznor’s soundtrack is rad, but you can find something else that works. You flip through your book of CD’s, knowing full well what you’re gonna pick: Godflesh’s A World Lit Only By Fire.

This album just has it all pegged. The shit on the news today, like these psychos like Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski, it’s all in there. You can just hear the rage and the despair. There is no better soundtrack to these crazy times of Bill Clinton, JonBenet, and sheep cloning.

Those first thunderous chugs hit right as you finalize your OpenGL settings. “Pray to God. They’re not here. We’re not here”. Fucking exactly. Justin Broadrick is so locked in. It’s almost hard to tell whether these are guitars or just all basses. So crushingly low. Your friend Kurt said the programmed drums are kinda weird, but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Tons of heavy bands these days are doing programmed drums: Prong, Ministry, Fear Factory. I think this album tops all of those because it’s also got this groovy, slow thing kinda like Helmet are doing right now. It’s really badass.

You’re fragging dudes left and right, blazing through a couple of maps and the music is pumping you up. A few tracks in, you’re noticing there are lots of chunks of what kind of feel like unfinished bits. The guitars will repeat the same riff for what seems like a long time. If you weren’t preoccupied trying to get past the Chthon, you’d probably say it was verging on boring in some spots. ARGH. Bullshit! You had that. Fuck this game.

You decide to flip through some Spawn comics instead. The CD is about halfway through and is still just so thick and sludgey. The steam-valve sounding drum samples of “Obeyed” churn along, driving the arpeggiated augmented chords of what would usually be a chorus, but is actually one of many vocal-less parts. The vocals are really sparse on the whole album which helps to not distract reading your comics.That’s cool, but the large swathes of bare and somewhat simplistic riffing could easily get boring if you weren’t preoccupied with something else.

You lose yourself in your reading, but you’re pulled out at just over 2 minutes into “Imperator”. What the fuck is this? This is stunning. You put your comic down and move closer to the speaker. Lush minor chord structures float over a straightforward beat and grooving bassline. It’s absolutely gorgeous and unlike anything else that’s been on the album so far. Unfortunately, it’s short-lived. You’ll have to wait through the rest of this track and all through another one before a moment like this happens again. On the album closer, “Forgive Our Fathers”, roughly four minutes in, there’s another dissonant-but-pretty guitar line on top of droning, chugging bass and drums. You wish this was a much more frequent feature of the album.

As the album comes to a close you scan the room, feeling purged. That album has such an amazing creepy vibe throughout, and you’d gladly start it over if you felt like reading or playing a game again. But by itself, it’s too sparse and droning to hold your attention for very long. Those few moments of transcendence highlight why you’ve been telling your friend that Godflesh are gonna be legends in the scene some day, but the rest of it just isn’t enough.

Then you remember it’s actually 2014, not 1996, and you’re super confused at what the fuck just happened to you.