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VARIOUS ARTISTS  Fathers Of Our Flesh: Tribute To Godflesh  CD   (Fobofile Productions)   12.98
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    Available on both CD and double LP in gatefold packaging, the latter limited to three hundred copies.

    There's no denying the immense influence that pioneering British band Godflesh had on countless bands since the release of their self-titled debut in the late 80s. The band almost single-handedly created the "industrial metal" sound, and would help shape numerous other directions in underground metal, rock and electronic music in the decades to follow. Enlisting a bunch of bands to pay homage to Godflesh is a breeze (and has been done before), but while we've seen a couple of tribute anthologies to Godflesh in the past, the new Fathers of Our Flesh compilation is by far the best. It succeeds not only because of the strong lineup of bands that were assembled for this project (including the likes of Knut, Nadja, Gnaw, Omega Massif, Author & Punisher and Wormed), but also because each band offers an interesting re-interpretation of the music rather than just running through by-the-numbers renditions.

    The line-up is a who's-who of contemporary avant-garde metal and extreme experimental rock: long running Swiss math-metal/noise rock outfit Knut transform "Merciless" into their own jagged, droning image, the melancholic vibe of the original meshing nicely with Knut's crushing down-tuned lurch while definitely putting a different spin on the song, and one-man machine-orchestra Author & Punisher forges a pulsating dancefloor monstrosity out of "Body Dome Light" that at first resembles a super-heavy version of Wax Trax-era industrial, before dropping into a wicked blast of bone-rattling bass-bin destruction and ultra-distorted mechanized heaviness that leaves the song only barely recognizable. And the covers keep getting more imaginative. Italy's Ovo deliver one of the compilation's most harrowing tracks with their cover of "Like Rats"; they throttle it into a bizarre blend of wobbly dub-step rhythms, droning industrial metal and tribal percussion, singer Stefania spitting out the lyrics in a spiteful wheeze that gives this an even more demented vibe, especially towards the end when the band start to unleash an avalanche of rumbling noise and juddering percussive power. And ex-Iceburn power-sludge dup Eagle Twin likewise put "White Flag" through a ringer, extrapolating on the song's haunting melody as they stretch it out and pull it apart over a crushing saurian dirge, Gentry Densley's almost Tuvan croak soaring through a fog of delay and echo, turning this into a majestic wash of searing BrŲtzmann Massaker-esque feedback obliteration and skull-warping dub-sludge delirium.

    You get Drugs of Faith running "Paralyzed" through their ferocious grindcore discordance, followed by some band called Mandemiurgeshit whose contribution here is apparently their only release so far; it's a pounding rendition of "Predominance" that strips away the concrete-mixer riffage of the original for throbbing electro-industrial rhythms and doom-laden, heavily distorted synthesizers. Unsurprisingly, Gnaw's appearance makes for the most terrifying moment on Fathers, as they transform "Life Is Easy" into a nigh-unrecognizable rotting carcass of shrieking electronics and putrid screaming, that stirring melody from the original almost obliterated by the shambling, slow-motion horror that the group drag out across the floor. And in the hands of French sludge metallers Omega Massif, "Don't Bring Me Flowers" is reconstructed as a monumental slab of hypnotic, instrumental doom awash in layered guitar noise, while Spanish avant-deathgrinders Wormed counter with their savage intergalactic death metal vision of "Tiny Tears", one of the fastest tracks on the record as they send it hurtling through a vicious storm of off-kilter blastbeats, psychedelic shred and bowel-beast vocalizations.

    One of the covers I was most interested in hearing was Transitional's take on "Avalanche Master Song", seeing as how the band is fronted by frequent Broadrick collaborator Dave Cochrane (God, Head Of David, Ice, Greymachine); his crew sticks pretty close to the original, while casting some interesting dark textures across their version, bathing it in an additional wash of cinematic ambience and some trippy dub-informed effects. Very cool. Wasn't familiar with the two bands that followed, though both are impressive; Japanese breakcore/grind maniac Maruosa with his hyperspeed glitched out take on "Defeated", shooting it through a cyclotron and spitting it out into a zonked-out speedcore assault threaded with acid-damaged Hammond organs; and Warsawwarsaw turn "Pulp" into an abstract mass of misshapen metallic clank, acoustic strings and sinister post-punk that becomes quite gripping, and probably the furthest afield anyone goes on this comp in re-interpreting Godflesh's music.

    Which leads to the sprawling epic closer, a fifteen minute rendition of "Go Spread Your Wings" from dreamsludge duo Nadja. Their presence here makes perfect sense, as Godflesh's music has been a major influence on Nadja's sound from the start, but here Nadja diffuse Godflesh's heaviness into something different from the Jesu-like shoegazer crush you might expect, instead stretching this out into a fuzz-drenched dirge that smolders and crumbles across it's length, Aidan Baker's murmured vocals almost lost beneath the static-crackle of the guitars, the minimal pulse of the drum machine buried beneath waves of blissful, bleary drone and somnambulant, saturated dirge. A perfect closer to this collection.


Track Samples:
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Fathers Of Our Flesh: Tribute To Godflesh
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Fathers Of Our Flesh: Tribute To Godflesh
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Fathers Of Our Flesh: Tribute To Godflesh
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Fathers Of Our Flesh: Tribute To Godflesh