Godflesh | Khost
Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
11th December 2014
After the release of their first album for thirteen years, the stunning A World Lit Only By Fire, Godflesh have brought their play on industrial metal across the UK. Louder Than War’s Adrian Bloxham was in Nottingham last week and was blown away.
Khost are on when we arrive, two forbidding figures, hidden behind hoods and hats making a sound that is at once as heavy as anything you have heard before but with the added beauty of an array of samples that penetrate the doom and make it far more open and interesting, the vocals are not upfront, but almost lost in the mix. They are slow, so very slow, but the riffs are massive. A band to watch out for.
Godflesh wander onstage and plug things in, tune up and fiddle with a macbook before CG Green picks up his bass and rotates his shoulders as if he’s about to start a fight and Justin K Broadrick takes off his hoody, straps on his guitar and feedback erupts. The backdrop is a wall of flame. Justin doesn’t look at the audience. He taps the macbook and those drums start.
The drums, hammering like sheet metal workers in the depths of some dark, black factory, pound on and on, dragging you into the beat like some massive robotic heart. Then the bass sound starts, layered over the clinical industry sized percussion all it needs is the guitar, sharp, pure and so very very loud and Godflesh are here again. Justin sings and the world stops. How can that skinny frame make that demonic noise.
They are brutal, and as hard as a concrete wall. Green is a rock solid foundation for Justin’s noise. They look over at each other but they have some sort of connection that is beyond words. This music should be everywhere. The soundtrack to a world falling apart. They are driven forward by sheer force and power. The music transcends industrial metal, it’s so aggressive that it moves beyond violence into something much more primal.
Justin doesn’t let up at all during the songs, he’s either torturing his guitar to make ever more devastating sounds or growling into the mic. He gets angry with the volume not being right on the monitors which leads to a song being restarted but that’s a perfectionist at work.
Green just looks like he wants to punch something, staring belligerently into space, as if tempting someone to have a go, at one point he just punches the bass, over and over again,hard.
They finish with Like Rats, just as vital sounding now as it did all those years back. Then Green takes his bass off, stands waiting for the feedback to finish, turns his amp off and without a backward glance walks off stage. Justin thanks us and then is gone. There is no encore. They don’t need one. Godflesh just played what could quite possibly be the perfect gig. Brutal.
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All words by Adrian Bloxham, all photos © Martin Ward. You can read more from Adrian at his author archive.