In 2001, Godflesh were riding high on their new album, Hymns. It was their 7th album in 11 years, and had no signs of slowing down. But later that year original bassist and founding member Ben GC Green quit the band due to creative differences. It was a crushing blow, because Godflesh had been a partnership between Green and guitarist and lead vocalist Justin Broadrick since its incarnation in 1988. Through the years the two of them have experimented with drum machines, and have had live drummers, but the one constant was seeing the two of them in the line-up.
Broadrick seemed to find a suitable replacement in Paul Raven, bassist for Killing Joke and Prong. However, on the eve of a national tour in May 2002, Broadrick had a nervous breakdown. Very soon after that happened, he disbanded Godflesh, stating the band just wasn't itself without his founding partner. As a farewell parting, Broadrick rereleased the extremely rare Messiah EP.
Originally released in 1994, it had been out of print for years. It was previously available only to members of the group's fan club. The LP included the original four tracks, plus re-recorded dub versions that the band did in 1995. Without the dub tracks the album would run just 23 minutes. The dub tracks gave the album a length of 51 minutes, and added much more to the EP than what was initially there.
This album is a much more laidback, less fierce album than their last proper album, Hymns. While Hymns had better songwriting and structure, you get the better effect out of these older songs. Messiah is essentially outtakes and spare ideas that never found their way onto any album. The production is accountable for most of the success of Messiah. Although a little muddy, the minimalist songs need that kind of sound in order to work. It's not so much music to critique while attentively listening, but rather to sit back and let the waves of sound surround you.
The Godflesh standards are all found on the album: plodding bass lines, distorted, heavy drumming, and a screeching guitar. However, one of the things that will not be found is Broadrick's signature yelp. There is, to my knowledge, no screaming to be found. The vocals appear in the background, fading in and out when they feel like it. Since this was recorded in 1994, back when they didn't have a human drummer, the drum tracks have been done with a machine, like many other of their releases feature.
Godflesh has always been industrial, but have also had a tendency to show their electronic side. The guitar is turned down, the drums are quieter, but the bass is more prominent. Along with some static and some sound effects, this is the bands most electronic release. And since it is their less fierce, these songs work both as an industrial metal and an industrial electronic album. The dub versions are what solidifies the experience. The dub versions, contrary to what one might assume, don't take away from the original songs. The songs feature recognizable elements but are woven into almost entirely new compositions, and stand as separate songs. They are just as good, if not better than the original tracks.
Overall, there are no tracks that seem different from any of the other tracks on the album. But there isn't a bad song to be found. It is good listening to a couple songs, but even better when you sit down and listen to it in its entirety.