Reviews : Albums : Godflesh, "Hymns"

Godflesh, "Hymns"
Koch Music
2002, Koch Music
Godflesh, "Hymns"

The most polished outpouring in some years from this highly overlooked British band of all things heavy. Sometimes loved, sometimes hated, often imitated, Godflesh brings to the world Hymns, an inquantifiable collection of slow churning, chugging ecstacy that will crush your body into oblivion while dissolving your spirit into the aether.

Never content to stick to a formula and not for the faint of heart, Godflesh can honestly say that they've never made the same album twice - and rarely with the same band twice, either. Former Swans and Prong drummer Ted Parsons joins the roster on Hymns, providing an organic backbone for the heavy combined groove of Broadrick's guitar and Green's bass. After the dubious release of Us & Them in 1999, Godflesh has literally reinvented itself as a band. Hymns sounds nothing like Us & Them, which mixed Godflesh and dance-trip-house-whatever like oil and water. On Hymns, Godflesh comes full circle with a realized sound, and it's clear and brutal.

Parsons compliments this album well, considering it's his first run with Godflesh. His splash fills and cymbal rides are particularly thrilling and add just the right amount of high-end to their sound. It's a constant amazement to me how much this band as a whole has evolved over the past 13 years, while still remaining consistent to the same themes, both musically and psychologically. Broadrick's vocals, screamed or sung, reiterate humanity, frailty, spirituality, repression, fear, escape... it's the intense emotional backdrop to the musical bludgeoning that keeps me coming back to this band over and over again.

This is an album [and a band] that takes a lot of listening to fully appreciate, unlike most of the imitation-rock now saturating the market. I can say personally that Godflesh drove me to the edge of sanity with their last release, and have proved my salvation with Hymns. Most importantly, they embody what music is: not fluffing out a genre, but creative conveyance of a universal emotional message, which is an accomplishment that words cannot convey.

Standout Tracks

   White Flag
   Jesu / Hidden Track