People have been using the term “post-punk” to describe the latest offering from legendary industrial/metal/noise outfit Godflesh. While Post Self isn’t as dramatic a sonic change as that term might convey, the album does arrive where it seemingly set out to go. Decades ago, vocalist/guitarist Justin Broadrick and bassist Ben George Christian Green created an aesthetic language that was built upon volume, density and double-digit BPM counts to offset the better-shred-than-dead mindset that defined most metal trends 30 years ago. Fast-forward to 2017, and the duo have taken those signifiers and made dynamic inroads to create dialects that frame their own existential/nihilistic crises. At the right volume, the sharp chiming guitars (“Mortality Sorrow, “Pre Self”) make your body feel like your blood was replaced with freon. The machine beats and grinding bass (“No Body,” “In Your Shadow”) feel closer to Godflesh’s mid-period metal/ambient experiments (see 1992’s Pure) but with the kind of melodic vistas Broadrick conveyed so well in his post-’flesh outfit Jesu. The most chilling moments (particularly the closing track, “The Infinite End”) make you feel like you’re witnessing a horrible aftermath not long after the perpetrators have fled.
On their eighth album, the breadth of Godflesh’s influences are wider than ever, and their capacity for psychological excavation runs deeper. In a world where we keep adjusting the speed and volume of our respective political echo chambers, Post Self is probably the best record to have around when all the bombs finally land. What does come after our personal post-self periods, anyway?
CHECK OUT: “Mortality Sorrow”