Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Godflesh- A World Lit Only By Fire

This is going to seem like I'm not actually talking about the music, but I assure you, that's what's on my mind.
I hate the cover for the new Godflesh record. It's a monochromatic picture of some dude stripped to the waist and clutching a sword to his heart, gripping it by the blade.
This is not a Godflesh image. It's more like an Iced Earth image.
See, Godflesh to me is something specific- imagine the last group of Terminators manufactured by Skynet before the humans destroy Skynet somehow survive. They are barely programmed- they're hostile, and Artificially Intelligent, but that intelligence is feral, and the programming has no master plan, anymore. They are not human, and apart from the basic hostility baked into their circuit boards, have no real concern for Humanity , or other robots for that matter. They'll never eat, never have sex, but never die, either. They would develop a culture unlike anything ever seen before, right? No Thanatos , no Eros- but an endless capacity for information, and fantastic strength, endurance, and energy. So, imagine this small, alien culture develops into a cult-like aesthetics. Some strange mechanical paganism that helps them to explain a world they were not built for, but can easily outlive. Imagine the music they would make. That's Godflesh. The code made metal. Do what you can process shall be the whole of the law. Vaguely hostile to humanity, but operating from concerns other than fear ( based on death) and desire ( based on the need to procreate). Get the idea?
So, some dude with a sword is far too human, far too motivated by our greasy, grubby id to fit in with the lightless IR world of our would-be Android Overlords. That image fits more with a demographic that it would be financially wise for Justin and GC to court- Extreme Metal fans. It's the kind of image that plays well in Terrorizer magazine.
My point is this- While I like this LP, and I'm glad to have another Godflesh LP- it seems at several points that this is fulfilling some kind of contract with the Heavy Metal Kids of today. There are some moments of grandeur, and a kind of alien beauty to be found, but I can't help but get the feeling that this is a bit of a cash-in on their cachet. I guess I can't blame them. Everybody's got to eat, after all- but still, I was hoping for something more like the Godflesh of old in "spirit" rather than just in form- but then, again, what else would one get from a soulless machine, right?
Again, I like some parts, and musically- this is Godflesh. But it still doesn't quite fit, if you know what I mean....

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