Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

In All Languages

Released 2001 on Earache
Reviewed by Michael-Kim, 02/07/2002ce

If you're anything like me, the nu metal craze goosesteppin' its way across the nations is a nightmare from which you are trying to awaken, and the mo' money mo' problems jiggy-rap world, cleanly throwing its cash in your dirty face, puts you dreamlessly to sleep in boredom. But if you still need a wake up fix of ultra-heavy guitar music and skull-crushing beats, look no further than Godflesh, one of the original bands that brought the two together, minus the bullshit commercial factor. You should have no trouble waking up completely from your record industry nod in the presence of their music.

In All Languages, a double CD retrospective anthology covering selections culled from Godflesh's discography since their breached birth in 1988 -- except their swan song album Hymns (which was released just after this anthology) -- testify to the potent virulance of their musical vision and the years of sonic mastery accomplished. More modern music than we might realize has been directly or indirectly infected with their overpowering strain. . .you're probably already sick with a debilitating imitation of it, and just don't know it.

Marrying the influences of Throbbing Gristle's ambient noise, the sludging heaviness of Cop-era Swans, killing Joke's rhythmic complexity, and the buzzsaw blues of Black Sabbath -- Godflesh's dark and ferocious body of work became the benchmark and blueprint for the grindcore movement -- that's right, the heaviest of the heavy. Toss into this noisy hydra lyrics that passionately take up Nietzschean values decrying a betrayal of personal independence for the thumb-sucking "herd mentality" and you've got Godflesh's basic thrust.

I guess hailing from Birmingham, England, where Black Sabbath were born and bred, gave them a predisposition toward music that lusts for the ever-harder, ever-louder. Vocalist/guitar strangler/beat manipulator Justin Broadrick and bassist G.C. Green, like their hometown forefathers, show a similar capacity to take stripped down guitar riffs and pack them dense with so much life, you can almost hear blood running through them. And Green, not to be minimized, has one of the most distinct bass sounds in rock -- imagine a humming tanker truck scraping the wall of an underground tunnel and you can begin to approximate the impact of it. Add the powerfully cold and precise big beats of Broadrick's drum machine, or the "inner city" breakbeats he samples, and the sound will crumble you like a detonated building. They even throw a live drummer into the usual undertow during the Songs Of Love And Hate-era tracks, as well as the not included Hymns material, to beat down your already pummelled perceptions to powder, as a jackhammer bonus.

What are you waiting for, a painless invitation?

Also Recommended:

Godflesh's whole discography

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