Head of David
Godflesh is dead. Sad as it is to say, but the musical
act that's managed to single itself out in the industrial
metal genre has finally called it quits. Release posthumously,
Messiah is an EP recorded between 1994 and 1195 and
finally available for public consumption. The album features
four previously unavailable tracks that hearken back to older
days for the band and four dub versions of the same tracks.
On an album that's already dark and depressing, the dub tracks
can take the listener to a really dark place.
The title track, Messiah, is Godflesh in its
purest, most classic form. For those who were a big fan of
Streetcleaner and the band's older efforts, Messiah
really feels like a return to older styles. The smooth undertones
of basslines works wonders in the lulls between chaotic vocals
that fall in line with the rest of the brash madness. This
is followed by Wilderness of Mirrors, an amazing piece
of work that reminds us why Godflesh will be missed.
The drumbeat loop is powerful, yet intricate. Accenting this
is a mournful guitar and bass combo lightly garnished with
hauntingly pale vocals. Track three, Sungod, comes
as kind of a letdown after Wilderness of Mirrors, though
it tends to feel like it was ripped straight from the album
Streetcleaner. Fans of that album will be sure to enjoy
this wailing piece that surges forward under its own power.
The final non-dub track is Scapegoat, which features
a looped drumbeat that can prove to be disorienting as its
pretty intricate while refusing to fall into traditional molds.
As if it wasn't obvious, the songs on Messiah really
serve as a bit of nostalgia. Because they were written and
recorded over ten years ago, this album acts as a history
lesson of sorts. To follow up the four main tracks are dub
versions of each. While these dub versions do drag the songs
into a darker, more bare place in the musical spectrum, they
tend to suffer a bit of repetition. The problem with making
an album that features remixes or dub versions of all of the
tracks is that you have to find a ground between recognizability
and variety. In Messiah, the dub tracks sound so much
like the originals that the album just feels like a loop of
the same four tracks. Because of this, the album feels pretty
repetitious. If Godflesh had just released the four tracks
without dub alternatives, I think the album as a whole wouldn't
feel as tedious by the time you reach the end.
For those who loved the older Godflesh music, this
EP is worth the time to hunt down, especially for Wilderness
of Mirrors, which may be one of the best tracks the band
has done. Fans of the band in general will want to pick this
up to fill out their collection. If you're new to the act,
I can't recommend this disc over the likes of Streetcleaner
or Pure, even though it's
not a bad album by any respect.