- It's hard to overstate the impact Justin Broadrick has left on underground music. Whether we're talking extreme metal, post-rock or techno (most recently as JK Flesh), Broadrick, since joining Napalm Death in 1985, has been a consequential presence. Though he has countless projects across the extreme music spectrum, he's probably best known as one half of Godflesh, whose music combined Napalm Death's grindcore aggression with industrial music. Classic Godflesh albums like Streetcleaner and Selfless brought electronic elements into the death metal and grindcore sound, resulting in records that felt both funky and inhumanly rigid. After a 12-year hiatus, Godflesh returned in 2013, fortifying their sound on two records—Decline & Fall and A World Lit Only By Fire—that, in the process, lost some of that funk. But with their latest LP, Post Self, Broadrick and his long-time bassist G.C. Green rediscover their old sound in exciting and occasionally experimental ways.
Compared to the murk of their last LP, A World Lit Only By Fire, Post Self sparkles—you can hear every layer of guitar, bass and percussion in these tracks. The LP's opening run recalls Streetcleaner, the group's most influential album, only now the production is clearer, the songs more focused. (You can better hear, for example, the rust in the joints of cut-up rhythms like "Parasite"'s.)
Reflecting the broad array of sounds that have influenced Godflesh over the years, Post Self highlights the dance influences that have often nipped at the edges of the project. "No Body" is among the album's hardest and heaviest songs, but it would be as welcome on a dance floor as in a mosh pit. "Mirror Of Finite Light" has a similar spring in its step. If you sped up the synth-drenched crunch of "Mortality Sorrow," it wouldn't be far from something Broadrick might release as JK Flesh.
Because of its occasional bursts of rhythm and melody, Post Self is one of the more accessible Godflesh albums. The sludgy shoegaze of "Be God," for example, hints at another Broadrick project, Jesu. The same goes for "The Cyclic End," which finds a Jesu-like prettiness among the album's chain-gang rhythms. The rough textures melt away on "The Infinite End" into a synth-laden climax with a hint of orchestral grandeur. Out-there moments like these show how Broadrick continues to bring a light touch to heavy music.
With an anything-goes appetite for music comes a history of compartmentalization, which is how Broadrick has ended up with dozens of aliases and projects. Post Self is a rare and welcome moment where the borders blur. So many old metal acts have returned in recent years to make professional, beefed-up facsimiles of what they used to do, a route that Broadrick and Green could have easily gone down here. But they're too restless for that. Instead, with Post Self, Godflesh look back and move forward.
01. Post Self
02. 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