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Music / Godflesh

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Godflesh is a band from Birmingham, England, one of the Trope Codifiers of Industrial Metal and an influence on many other bands, including Isis, Faith No More, Converge, Korn, Ministry, and Fear Factory. The band's core line-up generally consists of vocalist / guitarist Justin Broadrick and bassist GC Green; the band usually uses a drum machine, though they have also used real drummers in their music.

The band's original incarnation was formed in 1982, under the name Fall of Because, by Green and guitarist Paul Neville. Justin Broadrick, who had played guitar in the legendary Grindcore outfit Napalm Death, joined the group as vocalist and drummer in 1985; two years later, the band fell apart. In 1988, Broadrick contacted Green and they reformed Fall of Because, Broadrick taking up the position of guitarist and deciding to use a drum machine. The band also changed its name to Godflesh. Throughout their career, Godflesh was known for its crushing guitar riffs, plodding bass, robotic percussion, and Broadricks's Harsh Vocals and minimalistic lyrics.

In 2001, Green left the band. During this time, Broadrick's relationship with his girlfriend had dissolved, and Broadrick suffered a nervous breakdown; he disbanded Godflesh in 2002.

In 2009/10, the band reunited, and released an album: A World Lit Only by Fire, in 2014. A follow up, Post Self, was released in 2017.

As stated above, the primary line-up of the band consists of Broadrick and Green; however, they have had other, temporary members. These include:

  • Paul Neville - Guitars (1989-1991)
  • Robert Hampson - Guitars (1991-1992)
  • Bryan Mantia - Drums, percussion (1994-1996)
  • Steve Hough - Guitars (1999)
  • Diarmuid Dalton - Samples, moog (1999)
  • Ted Parsons - Drums, percussion (1996–2002)
  • Paul Raven - Bass (2002)

Studio Albums:

  • Streetcleaner (1989)
  • Pure (1992)
  • Selfless (1994)
  • Songs of Love and Hate (1996)
  • Us and Them (1999)
  • Hymns (2001)
  • A World Lit Only by Fire (2014)
  • Post Self (2017)
  • Purge (2023)

Broadrick is also the man behind the post-metal band Jesu and the dark ambient project Final.

This band contains the following trope examples:

  • Call-Back: Purge is a call-back to Pure in terms of both name and sound, with the latter album’s hip hop-influenced beats making a prominent return.
  • Doom Metal: They count as Sludge Metal and a possible Ur-Example of post-metal, specifically.
  • Epic Rocking: In chronological order according to release, "Christbait Rising" (7:00), "Streetcleaner" (6:50), "Wounds" (13:06), "Streetcleaner 2" (8:42), "Perfect Skin" (7:29), "I Wasn't Born to Follow" (7:22), "Monotremata" (9:21), "Don't Bring Me Flowers" (6:48), Love, Hate" (9:57), "Pure II" (21:04), "Blind" (7:16), "Unworthy" (7:14), "Flowers" (7:34), "Black Boned Angel" (6:47), "Mantra" (7:27), "Go Spread Your Wings" (23:50), and "Gift from Heaven" (7:45).
  • Genre Mashup: As well as combining industrial and metal, Godflesh also took influence from Hardcore Punk, drone music, noise, power electronics, ambient, dub, EBM, breakbeat techno, and hip-hop.
    • Similarly, Techno Animal (one of his many, many, many post Godflesh projects) combined hip-hop with industrial, noise, dub, ambient, drum and bass, electro, and minimal techno.
  • Harsh Vocals: Broadrick's main vocal style.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Possibly Broadrick and Green, depending on how you see this comment Broadrick made after dissolving the band:
    Broadrick: "I found that without GC Green, Godflesh is not Godflesh, and him leaving proved to be an omen for me."
  • Industrial Metal: One of the seminal acts of The '90s.
  • Lead Bassist: Green's plodding, percussive basslines form a prominent part of the band's sound.
  • Lighter and Softer: Post Self dials back the brutality in favor of a more atmospheric sound, sounding like Jesu in some places.
  • Metal Scream: Broadrick's vocals are a Type 1.
  • Post-Rock: Again, they are often considered the Ur-Example of post-metal.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Godflesh titled Songs of Love and Hate after the Leonard Cohen album of the same name, and also lifted two of his lines for the lyrics of the song "Mothra" (on Pure).
    • The cover of Godflesh is a still from the film Seconds (1966).
    • The cover of Streetcleaner is a still from the film Altered States. Other photos in the album's packaging are taken from Eraserhead.
    • The cover of Merciless is a still from the film Meshes of the Afternoon.
  • Single Stanza Song: The vast majority of their songs.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Broadrick occasionally balanced out his growling with clean singing.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: The second half of "Jesu," which was pretty much a preview for the band Jesu itself.
  • Titled After the Song: Not Godflesh themselves, but both Jesu and Black Boned Angel took their names from Godflesh songs.
  • Voice of the Legion: Used liberally in Streetcleaner.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Used a lot.