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About Godflesh
Godflesh lyrics

Godflesh were an English industrial metal band from Birmingham, England. They formed in 1988 by Justin K. Broadrick (guitar, vocals, and programming) and G. C. Green (bass) and disbanded in 2002. The band is regarded as one of the pioneers of industrial metal and post-metal.


History


Formation (1988)

In 1982, Green founded Fall of Because (named after a Killing Joke song) with Paul Neville. Broadrick, who had been playing guitar as a member of Napalm Death, joined the group in mid-1985 as drummer and vocalist. The band fell apart in 1987. Broadrick then spent a couple of years (1986-1988) as a member of Head of David. In 1988, he contacted Green about reforming Fall of Because. Justin decided to take over on guitars and they chose to use a drum machine to help out. They also decided to change their name to Godflesh.


Career trajectory (1989 - 2001)

Godflesh established a presence in underground music with albums such as Streetcleaner and Pure, which demonstrated the effectiveness of lo-fi production values in heavy music. A brief flirtation with major label Columbia Records in 1994 for Selfless and the Merciless EP saw the duo take on a more high-end production approach. In 1996 Godflesh released Songs of Love and Hate, which featured the drumming of Bryan Mantia (Guns N' Roses, Primus, Praxis). The next album, 1999's Us and Them, saw the group experimenting with a more electronic, drum and bass-oriented sound in which the guitar played a less central role. In 2001 Godflesh released the double album retrospective In All Languages. That same year they released an album of new material, Hymns, which featured the precise drumming of new band member Ted Parsons (formerly of Swans and Prong) and brought the band back to its slow and heavy roots while retaining elements of its experiments with electronica.


Dissolution (2002)

Green left the band in late 2001. It was announced that he would be replaced by former Killing Joke and Prong bassist Paul Raven; however, Godflesh disbanded in 2002 when Broadrick suffered a nervous breakdown just before departing for a tour of the U.S. As a kind of parting gift, the group released a remastered version of their extremely rare 1994 EP Messiah, which was doubled in length with all new remixes. Broadrick and Parsons went on to form Jesu in 2003.


During its fourteen year lifespan Godflesh toured with numerous bands, including Danzig, Front Line Assembly, L7, Loop, Ministry, Napalm Death, Nirvana, Prong, Revolting Cocks, Skinny Puppy, Type O Negative and Strapping Young Lad.


"On April 10 2002, I disbanded Godflesh. This was something I had painfully been pondering since GC Greens' departure from the band in Oct 2001. Regrettably it took until the day of leaving for a lengthy U.S tour for the realization to finally take its toll on me. Unfortunately the finality of the decision and the responsibilities of making the decision proved too much for me to bare, and I collapsed under the weight. I found that without GC Green, Godflesh is not Godflesh, and him leaving proved to be an omen for me. I also feel that everything we originally intended or even imagined with Godflesh we have done. My only regret has been the hurting of both remaining band members Ted Parsons and Paul Raven, and disappointing those that believe in Godflesh worldwide... In the near future, my new rock project Jesu will surface. So this is by no means the end of my songwriting/guitar/vocalizing. Simply the end of a chapter. Endless gratitude to all those that have believed in and supported Godflesh throughout the 14 year history. You know who you are... Long live the new flesh..." Just hours before a mid 2002 tour was about to begin Justin Broadrick suffered from a nervous breakdown. He was broke, tired of playing in his pioneering industrial metal band, and his girlfriend of thirteen years, Liz, had left him. But he was still unsure on how to end it Broadrick recalls it as a 'real Brian Wilson moment' and said that he 'felt paralyzed by the stress, which had been building for several months, and I literally couldn't get out of bed. I was numb and couldn't move, so when the car came to pick me up to take me to the airport, I ran and hid at another friend's house in Birmingham {England}.' The incident had substantial consequences. Ex-Killing Joke bassist Paul Raven had been brought on for the two-month tour, as had ex-Swans drummer Ted Parsons. Bus companies had been hired, High on Fire and Halo had been booked to support. And everyone who lost money came after Broadrick. 'I was getting death threats from the bus company in L.A.,' Broadrick said. 'I lost close to $35,000, which I did not have at all. I was broke and had to sell my house and pay off all my debt on credit cards. I pretty much did nothing for four months besides drink heavily.' On a poster promoting Jesu's first EP Heart Ache, the caption read as follows "Godflesh is dead, long live Jesu."


Collaborators and side projects


Several other musicians have recorded and played live with Godflesh. Paul Neville rejoined Broadrick and Green for the Streetcleaner and Slavestate albums. Robert Hampson, former guitarist for Loop, appeared on Pure and Cold World. (In 1991 Loop released the split 7" single Loopflesh covering the Godflesh song "Like Rats" while Godflesh performed Loop's "Straight to Your Heart".)


Members of Godflesh have been involved in numerous side projects, allowing them to explore interests in other musical genres, including electronica, ambient, dub, industrial hip-hop, and digital hardcore. Broadrick has collaborated with Kevin Martin and Alec Empire, among others. Broadrick's current projects include Jesu and Final.


Musical style


Drawing influence from power electronics forefathers Whitehouse, noise rock band Swans, ambient music creator Brian Eno and fellow Birmingham heavy metal band Black Sabbath, Godflesh were among the pioneers of industrial metal.


Godflesh is known for their unique mixture of drum machine beats with droning, discordant guitar and powerful, intermittent bass. (On their earlier albums, the rhythms, synths, and samples are credited to "Machine" or "Machines". Later, Godflesh would make use of human drummers Bryan Mantia and Ted Parsons.) Their eerie, slow, and repetitive style is commonly described as "apocalyptic". The Godflesh sound was once described as "Pornography-era Cure on Quaaludes".


Broadrick's vocals are often guttural, making use of something akin to the death grunt technique, yet they also at times show a softer, more melodic side, as in "I Wasn't Born to Follow" from 1992's Pure. Godflesh lyrics are terse, cryptic, and bleak, often emphasizing duality or opposition. Paranoia and martyrdom are also common themes in Godflesh's music and cover art.


Broadrick has also taken inspiration from Leonard Cohen; both artists have albums titled Songs of Love and Hate. In the song "Mothra" (from Pure), Godflesh borrows the lyrics "Your pain is no credential here / It's just the shadow of my wound" from the song "Avalanche" on the aforementioned Cohen album.


Legacy


Godflesh has been cited as an influence by Korn, Metallica, Danzig, Faith No More, Fear Factory, Converge, Isis, Pitchshifter, and Ministry, among others. Justin Broadrick was asked to join Danzig and Faith No More as a band member full time, but Broadrick wanted to be focused on Godflesh.


Cinematic connections


The image on the cover of Streetcleaner is a still from the movie Altered States, a 1980 horror film by director Ken Russell in which the film's protagonist, played by William Hurt, explores other states of consciousness with the aid of hallucinogenic mushrooms and an isolation chamber. Photos from the insert sleeve for the album are taken from David Lynch's Eraserhead (another major influence cited by Broadrick).

Godflesh showed the video for "Crush My Soul" (by Andres Serrano) to Kirk Hammett and he loved it. Metallica later used a piece of footage by Serrano for their cover on the album Load. In a later interview with Hammett, he is asked where the band got the idea of the cover. Kirk tells the interviewer that he saw something on television about Andres Serrano and that is how it came about, not giving any credit to Godflesh. Justin says, "There's no copyright on Serrano. We'll be the first to admit that. But we planted the seed, and unfortunately we're not getting the credit, obviously." Hammett once gave Broadrick a custom Fender Stratocaster after his was stolen on tour, and has commended the band by stating that they are the "heaviest band in existence".

After Earache merged with Sony (Columbia), Godflesh got the chance to do soundtracks. In 1995, they appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Hideaway. They also appear in the movie itself. During one of the club scenes, they are playing onstage in the background, performing the song "Nihil".


Members


Primary lineup
Justin Broadrick - guitar, vocals, programming (1988-2002)
G.C. Green - bass (1988-2002)
Ted Parsons - drums (1996-2002)
Former members
Paul Neville - guitar (1989-1991)
Robert Hampson - guitar (1991-1992)
Bryan Mantia - drums (1995-1996)
Steve Hough - guitar (1999)
Paul Raven - bass (2002)
Diarmuid Dalton - samples, moog (1999)

 

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