GODFLESH  Songs Of Love And Hate  CASSETTE   (Earache)   9.99

Warehouse find of the original, still-sealed cassette edition of Songs, which features the same track listing as the LP version.

Ever since these Brits dropped their classic debut Streetcleaner on an unsuspecting underground in the late 80's, Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green continued to carve out their own unique language of pummeling riffage and unbelievably crushing drum machine programming, developing their sound into something that became increasingly obsessed with repetition and rhythm. The drum machine was one of Godflesh's most prominent identifyers, anchoring the hypnotic chugging bass and discordant riffage to a machine-like grind that took the Swans influence into even heavier, mechanistic territory, and there were few bands back then that came anywhere close to matching the sheer fucking heaviness of Godflesh. So when the band came out with Songs Of Love And Hate in 1996 and introduced their first album with an actual flesh-and-blood drummer behind the kit, it was surprising, as if the band was suddenly turning into an actual "rock" band.

The drummer on Songs... is Brian Mantia, one of the founding members of the avant-funk/metal supergroup Praxis and a former member of Bay Area funk rockers Limbomaniacs (am I the only person that actually remembers that band?), and here he lays down a massive breakbeat-heavy groove across the eleven songs, pumping old school hip-hop beats with steroids and creating an undercurrent of pummeling industrial rhythms that are funkier than anything Godflesh had recorded up to this point. It ain't no fun, though, as the entire album seethes with a dystopian negativity that stretches from the hallucinatory image of the statue of Christ against a backdrop of a twilight nightmare world of endless cemeteries and fire-belching factories that is featured as the album cover, to the jackhammer endtime anthems like "Sterile Prophet", "Circle Of Shit", "Angel Domain", and "Frail". The guitars are MASSIVE, Broadrick's detuned guitar grinding out huge quasi-Sabbath riffs locked into infinite trance-states, and clusters of atonal chords that churn and squeal like gears in some hellish machinery. Greene's bass grooves slither through each track, a menacing monolithic low-end presence that never relents. Jesus, this stuff is still as heavy as ever, a paranoid, apocalyptic vision sculpted out of industrial hip-hop rhythms and harsh slow-motion riffage. Essential.