Godflesh
Songs of Love and Hate


3.5
great

Review

by GenericRant USER (4 Reviews)
June 12th, 2012 | 52 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An often overlooked facet of Godflesh's discography that deserves a listen, especially if you're a fan of Justin Broadrick's other side projects.

Music critics usually refer to the seminal industrial metal band Godflesh either when referring to “Streetcleaner” or their body of work as a whole. More often than not, Godflesh is praised for their sharp brutality, ingenious experimentation, and nihilistic atmosphere vis-*-vis songs like “Christbait Rising” or “Like Rats”. While Justin K. Broadrick and company do get their deserved praise, it comes across as empty or superficial, especially when Godflesh expands past the oppressively bleak “Streetcleaner”.

A prime example of Godflesh’s experimental streak is the often overlooked album “Songs in Love and Hate”, an eclectic collection of hip-hop and dub influenced metal tracks that expound upon the idiosyncratic Godflesh sound. Part of the expansion stems from Broadrick’s use of a human drummer, namely Bryan Mantia, as opposed to a drum machine, in order to add a distinctive groove to the songs on this record. Groove is a word I would have never thought to use when describing Godflesh’s music, however groove manifests as the experimental factor on this record. Eschewing the cold, mechanical beats of “Streetcleaner” and “Pure”, Godflesh brings a whole new dynamic to this record, particularly in “Sterile Prophet”, “Circle of ***”, and “Time, Death, and Wastefulness”, where Bryan drives the songs and Justin just adds textual accentuation with hypnotic riffs.

Godflesh has always been about hypnotism and meditation, whether through percussive sounds or through layers of guitar feedback, and all of the songs on this album follow that tried and true formula to a much greater extent that before. Quite a few of the songs here, specifically “Hunter”, “Amoral”, and “Almost Heaven” base themselves around two or three different parts that alternate for mind pacifying effect. Even with the changes within those songs, melodically speaking, the riffs aren’t all that different from each other, but what these songs lack in variety (which honestly does not bother me) pales in comparison to what they do emotionally.

Though the range of emotion shown in Godflesh really only spans the negative spectrum (hate, anger, alienation, disgust, etc.), Broadrick does something different with this album. Yes, the songs here are angry (“Angel Domain”, “Circle of ***”, “Wake”), however they approach anger in way that does not convey estrangement from society, but an active challenge of exploitative society as evidenced by specific lyrics scattered through the album. For example the lyrics: “Feel weak, you just mean nothing/Feel owned, just feel like nothing” and “You corrupt, you enslave/Enforced taboos, to the grave/Make me right, to fit your mould/Make me right, like your moral code” from “Circle of ***” and “Amoral” respectively, go beyond authorial individualism (i.e. his feelings) into broader statements of awareness of evils in society.

As a side note, the song “Frail”, in my opinion, is the first song written by Justin Broadrick that truly encapsulates what he will go on to do in Jesu. The lyrics are introspective and come from a very personal place of self-awareness and self-empowerment. Though not overly positive, the song sounds like a Jesu song: a slow, meandering track that builds with a minor key riff that builds an atmosphere of longing and regret. This song shows a particular maturity to Justin’s writing that he did not showcase before, which makes “Frail” my favorite song from the album.

Overall, I think this album has been vastly underrated by mainstream metal critics because it’s buried deeper into Godflesh’s career. The songwriting here, albeit experimental, shows Justin’s Techno Animal experience coming to the forefront of his main musical project. The hip-hop influences are obvious, but welcome bits of experimentation that help this album stay fresh. Overall, this is a solid offering from Godflesh, although it is far from their best work. The lack of melodic variation may be a turn off for some listeners who prefer their music to capture their attention with an onslaught of memorable riffs and catchy vocals. Also, hardcore fans of “Streetcleaner” may not enjoy how Godflesh scaled back their brutality on this record in favor of exploring music from non-metallic genres. Is this album the end-all, be-all Godflesh record? Absolutely not, however this album does put forth an interesting take on industrial metal that I haven’t really heard since this record.


user ratings (127)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Steven28
June 12th 2012


85 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review... I really need to check this one out; I loved Streetcleaner.

Graveyard
June 12th 2012


5817 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

FINALLY THIS GETS A REVIEW!

It's also very well written, pos'd

evilford
June 12th 2012


22992 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

holy crap a review for this album

nice job

GenericRant
June 12th 2012


10 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

thanks. i'm just writing reviews again to distract me from my job

macadoolahicky
June 12th 2012


1835 Comments


Damn, this didn't have a review yet? Nicely done.

evilford
June 12th 2012


22992 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

only LP left without a review is Us and Them. it's all you man

GenericRant
June 12th 2012


10 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i need to get my grubby hands on it first.


evilford
June 12th 2012


22992 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol I don't think you need to hurry

Acanthus
June 12th 2012


9545 Comments


This really has dub in it?

Digging: MO - No Mythologies To Follow

GenericRant
June 12th 2012


10 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

i've never listened to us and them, but i've been meaning to anyway.

i would consider the dub influence to be cursory, but i hear it in the drumming and frequent use of heavy reverb.

evilford
June 12th 2012


22992 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's interesting. probably my least favorite LP of theirs but it's good

Wizard
June 12th 2012


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Huge props for the review and this:

While Justin K. Broadrick and company do get their deserved praise, it comes across as empty or superficial, especially when Godflesh expands past the oppressively bleak “Streetcleaner”.

Fuck all you posers who think Godflesh began and died at Streetcleaner.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

evilford
June 12th 2012


22992 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed

eternium
June 12th 2012


16340 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Now someone needs to review Us and Them.

FadeToBlack
September 8th 2012


11034 Comments


didn't think I'd like this or Us and Them but they both rule

evilford
September 19th 2012


22992 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

band needs more love

evilford
September 21st 2012


22992 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you disappoint me sputnik

evilford
September 27th 2012


22992 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Amoral has to be one of Godflesh's best songs

MrElmo
June 25th 2013


1955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally got this, it's like a mix of an improved Selfless and a bit of Us And Them, awesome! (the dub remix album is also killer)

Wizard
June 25th 2013


19644 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Probably the best band this site doesn't pay attention to.



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