Godflesh – Purge (Avalanche Recordings)

Monday, 12th June 2023
Rating: 9 / 10

Godflesh broke new ground with Streetcleaner, proved themselves with Pure, influenced bands ranging from Isis to Korn, and then fizzled out in 2002. They came back in 2010, with a renewed vision and purpose: to show these young upstarts how industrial metal is done. What makes the duo of Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green so vital in the world of heavy music is that they’re willing to explore the core Godflesh sound without sacrificing the gravity of their sound. 2014’s A World Lit Only By Fire was a punishing, monolithic record and 2017’s Post Self was an introspectively moody record, so one wonders where do they go from here?

The answer, it seems, is to go back in the past, specifically their Pure LP. Purge is billed as a record that ‘updates the concepts explored in Pure’ but it would be a mistake to label their latest effort as proof that they ran out of steam. Opener “Nero” blatantly punishes the listener’s eardrums with pulsatile drumbeat and 7-string riffage. The vitriol of Broadrick doesn’t seem to have waned as he ages, and in fact, it just seems as seething as ever. “Land Lord” should be blasted right outside predatory property owners for maximum effect. The disorienting guitars and subterranean basslines really propel this track to the top of all-time favorite Godflesh hymns. “Army of Non” is explicitly the most hip-hop tinged track and Godflesh doesn’t waste a single moment in this absolute rager of a song, showing the ersatz bands like Korn how the melding of metal and hip-hop really should sound like.

Purge slows down the pace with “Lazarus Leper”, a moody track that doesn’t feel out of place in Post-Self, but it quickly gets an electric shock with “Permission” and it’s hypnotic bass lines coupled with Justin’s underwater vocals. What makes Purge such an engaging listen is that Broadrick and Green never compromise, and age hasn’t slowed them down one bit. This record is testament to the lasting power of two Birmingham natives who set out to create honest music and have always stayed true to that ideal.

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