Godflesh
Us and Them


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brendan M. USER (38 Reviews)
July 7th, 2014 | 30 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite Justin’s hatred towards it, Us and Them is still a satisfying listen worthy of the mighty Godflesh name.

Godflesh was quite possibly one of the most influential bands of the 90s, whether it was realized or not. Countless acts have cited them as an influence since the 90s, and their sound is certainly evident in bands such as Neurosis or Isis. As for Godflesh themselves, Justin Broadrick has always been a very important creative force in all of his projects. Whether it be his immature, brutal beginnings with Napalm Death, the beautiful “doomgaze” of Jesu, or the robotic walls of sound incorporated in Godflesh, Justin Broadrick really is a visionary when it comes to creating an atmosphere. Up to this point, Godflesh had gone under many changes in sound, including the groove of Pure and the more accessible route of Selfless, and Us and Them is yet another drastic change in sound.

Right when the opener “I, Me, Mine” kicks in, you know that Godflesh have reinvented themselves once again. Instead of using the groovy drum machine rhythms that almost mimicked a real drummer, they’ve decided to use drum and bass-influenced rhythms. Now, this mix of techno and metal sounds like it might not work, but it actually does quite well, giving the album a very intense and racing feel to it. On top of that, Justin still uses his growls and dissonant guitar leads, but there is still a focus on electronics that is quite new to Godflesh. The Swans influence is coming out as normal, with the very nihilistic approach to lyricism and the rhythmic vocal approach reminiscent of Michael Gira. The giant amount of noise is also rather new for Godflesh, with nearly every song ending or starting with a wall of noise. Of course Godflesh had noisy tendencies, but they’ve really used them to their full potential this time.

This could perhaps be the most experimental and diverse Godflesh record, with every track being at least slightly different from the one that came before it. Certain songs will be danceable the way they were on Pure, some will be crushing the way Streetcleaner was, and some will be sort of accessible the way Songs of Love and Hate was. Most of them seem to be based around groove and noise though, which isn’t unlike their past material, but the scatterbrained approach is new. Justin Broadrick has called this album an identity crisis; something that he made in a hermit state. The album seems to partly prove both of these statements, but the end result is still rather fulfilling. Sure, certain ideas don’t quite gel together, but the mix of techno and industrial metal actually sounds good most of the time. The aforementioned techno rhythms are new, which pick up the pace by Godflesh standards, but the hallmarks of former Godflesh releases are still inside this beast. Overall, this is easily the most electronics-based Godflesh album by far.

Us and Them will serve as an interesting place in the career of Godflesh, but it certainly won’t attract any new fans. The overall approach to songwriting is interesting, but it sometimes feels unfocused or undeveloped. Justin sounds like he’s doing most of the work due to the overwhelming use of electronics compared to former releases, with house influence being evident. One interesting way to describe it would be Aphex Twin and Godflesh collaborating; the techno-esque beats, noisy passages, extreme metal vocals, and overall dense atmosphere make this perhaps the most unique Godflesh release. To end it with one final thought, this a peculiar place for Godflesh, but an ultimately satisfying listen in the end.



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user ratings (123)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
BMDrummer
July 6th 2014


9888 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally wrote this, feedback welcome as always

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2014


6559 Comments


pos'd. Never heard these guys before but I suppose I should change that.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

BMDrummer
July 6th 2014


9888 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Start from Streetcleaner, this album is completely different than anything else they've done. Thanks for proofreading btw :]

Judio!
Contributing Reviewer
July 6th 2014


6559 Comments


Will do. And no problem, always happy to help!

BMDrummer
July 6th 2014


9888 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

T

H

A

N

K

S

TheBarber
July 6th 2014


2169 Comments


YAY! I really like this one, hasn't got much to do with Godflesh but it's über solid and really has these 90's underground acid-punk basement feels or whatev to it. also Control Freak is one of their best imo, dat bass

Digging: Ulver - Trolsk Sortmetall 1993-1997

Relinquished
July 6th 2014


25844 Comments


since the 1990s

stick with either "90s" or "1990s" (plus their influence spreads presently)

The "his projects" and Napalm Death relation is a stretch since most of his involvements were of his own creations.

the robotic walls of sound

I think you mean "industrial"

including the groove of Pure

empty description of the album

the more accessible route of Selfless

*personal note: I'd say Go Spread Your Wings is nothing but accessible haha

but Us and Them is still a very drastic change in sound

the "but" is saying that it's in opposition of your previous argument when it's not.
more like "and Us and Them is no different in their evolution"... or something.

Instead of using the groovy drum machine rhythms that almost mimicked a real drummer

understandable sentence but it's awkward

they’ve decided to use techno rhythms

and this is where your electronic noobiness shows my friend. the term you're looking for is "drill n bass" (on that song anyway), the rest have a strong drum n bass/industrial techno rhythmic influence. add this info as you see fit.

The Swans influence is coming out some more as well, with the very nihilistic approach to lyricism

the lyrics always had that approach though

and the rhythmic vocal approach reminiscent of Michael Gira

*personal gripe since Swans are relevant again and mentioned to death nowadays

there is still a focus on electronics that is quite new to Godflesh

explain

The amount of noise is also rather new for Godflesh

nope

the scatterbrained approach is new

is it diverse or scatterbrained? which?

The aforementioned techno rhythms are new

maybe to that point in electronic history but Godflesh had fused techno before

So in conclusion

never use this again

Relinquished
July 6th 2014


25844 Comments


overall this is filled with generalities but gets the point across, pretty good review but proofread
to tighten and brief up your ideas and points.

BMDrummer
July 6th 2014


9888 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok thanks man

Chortles
July 6th 2014


18094 Comments


great band

Digging: Cocteau Twins - Treasure

Riviere
July 7th 2014


723 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pos, thought about reviewing this one for a while since it's my favorite of theirs but you did a better job than I would have.

The beats are sick, album is sick.

Wizard
July 7th 2014


19640 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty much what Relinquished said, just proofread this beast and it will read smoother. It almost sounds like your writing as if you were actually having a conversation with me.

As for the album itself, my least favourite of his by far. Also, have you ever heard of Broadrick's side project called Ice? He incorporated a lot of hip-hop beats into it and I guess it spilled over into this which in turn generated a shit-storm of rap/ nu-metal bands.

Digging: Ash Borer - Cold of Ages

TheBarber
July 7th 2014


2169 Comments


Ice ain't a Broadrick but a Kevin Martin project, also this record is kind of a prelude to Broadrick's amazing JK Flesh project, anybody that hasn't jammed Posthuman needs to jam asap

Cimnele
July 7th 2014


360 Comments


damn I need to absorb the other Godflesh discs

Streetcleaner is a part of me

CaptainDooRight
July 7th 2014


30331 Comments


nice review, pos'd

This review just reminds me how badly I need to discog these guys. I've heard a few releases though. And can someone tell me what that is on the cover? A polar bear dog man?

Relinquished
July 7th 2014


25844 Comments


it's some statue but unknown where from

CaptainDooRight
July 7th 2014


30331 Comments


hella trippy, i mean look at that face

evilford
July 7th 2014


22978 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

nice rev, pos'd.

least fav flesh tho, but this band deserves to have reviews for all of their LPs

Wizard
July 7th 2014


19640 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ice ain't a Broadrick but a Kevin Martin project, also this record is kind of a prelude to Broadrick's amazing JK Flesh project, anybody that hasn't jammed Posthuman needs to jam asap

Broadrick did the guitar work for Ice and I always get the vibe that Broadrick did this record because of his work in Ice. And this sounds nothing - and I mean nothing - like Posthuman so I don't get the prelude vibe. I agree though, everybody should jam JK Flesh, one of my favourite projects he's done to date.

Relinquished
July 7th 2014


25844 Comments


there's no prelude vibe but I understand the connection

this has dnb influence where posthuman has dub



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