Review Summary: It may not have the Lo-fi appeal of "Streetcleaner," or the death disco of "Pure," but Selfless is a great album from a band in their prime.
When I listened to music as a teenager, I wanted emotional. I wanted to hear a marketable sound in a direct style and feel it. Rinse and repeat. I traced my lineage from Deftones, to Tool, to Acid Bath, and then in desperation and luck, I stumbled upon Isis. Now, what does this previous history have to do with Godflesh? Without Isis, a band so influential on the modern metal scene, with roots running thick in every vein of my body, I would never had know Godflesh.
See, I wanted to be a writer. And music, having grown to an adult, had not said enough to inspire any literary spark or dare me to dream of any idea. And then, there is Godflesh.
They broke me.
I listened to Streetcleaner in the middle of winter, with my depression at the lowest ebb of the wave, and my desperation for stimulation at the highest. Streetcleaner ruined my body and brain, but fed me intelligence. It did not belittle me, instead it beat me with sheets of concrete in musical form. It was aggression, anger, and release. And dammit the anger was beautiful in the dissonance.
So, what does this have to do with Selfless? Selfless is Godflesh in perfect form. Streetcleaner, Pure, and the vast array of music recorded between and beyond grew into this. As the first album released on Columbia, you can hear every dollar spent to produce a perfect piece of industrial hell. Tracks on here range from downbeat pulses of machines to sheer factory meltdown, with machines colliding and crushing. This is "Tetsuo the Iron Man" and "Eraserhead" colliding with Jack London's Star Rover to end the universe.
The sound sometimes hurts, hell, it hurts most of the time. But I guarantee with this album you get the best sound Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green can give you. This is before the drummers grew flesh. This is before Jesu and medication. This is the patient that accepted the diagnosis but never knew the cure. It has grooves and power and a refined style that will grind and crawl. This is Godflesh, the peak of Godflesh. Take it or leave it.