Godflesh – Hymns – Review


Hymns (Koch)
by Paul Lee

After 12 years as a fan, it’s hard to be objective about the mighty Godflesh and this 73-minute, 13-song work of extreme art. As much as I try, I can’t find fault in it. Some people (including the mastermind Justin himself) found their last outing, Us and Them, to be over-ambitious. Personally, I loved it. So the fact that Justin and Benny jettisoned the high-tech elements for a more basic “rock” album took me by surprise.

What Godflesh achieves with Hymns is a more direct and intense effect in the vein of their underrated album Selfless. Songs of Love and Hate (from 1996) still tops my list as the best of the ‘Flesh, but with the addition of drummer extraordinaire Ted Parsons (formerly of Swans and Prong), Godflesh may be at a new pinnacle of strength with Hymns. There’s a bit of a Prong influence that peeks through on the riffage of songs like “Animals,” but for the most part, it’s all Godflesh and the boys blaze a new trail of destruction.

One of the most enduring qualities about Godflesh is their diversity, and on Hymns, even without the high-tech frills, they prove that they’re a real “rock” band capable of awesome harshness and an amazing melodic beauty. In time, this may become my favorite album. If you haven’t yet been baptized by their fire, Hymns would be a great place to start.