Classic Album Review – Godflesh “Selfless” 1994
Selfless occupies a sweet spot between Godflesh’s sludge industrial and drum ‘n bass periods, and it contains an embarrassment of riches. “Xnoybis” sounds like a child’s pot-and-pan marching band as interpreted by construction machinery, “Crush My Soul” is as infectious as it is twitchy, and “Anything is Mine” is still a perennial contender for Heaviest Riff Ever Made. Don’t believe me? Here it is:
All this is capped off with “Go Spread Your Wings”, a mammoth dirge of terrifying empty landscapes containing nothing but a Hitchcockian level of dread.
It’s obvious what charms this album had for a younger me, what with its bottomless pit of nihilism and whalloping sound, but it wasn’t until very recently that I figured out the secret at the dark heart of Selfless: It’s a stoner rock record.
Sure, it’s what stoner rock would sound like if Stanley Kubrick got hold of it. The guitars hold no fuzzy warmth, only loose-stringed snarl, but the riff-based construction and reliance on trance-like repetition are tried and tested weapons of the druggy doom set. And I think that’s the real magic of what Selfless did for us back in 1994, it showed us a new way to be heavy. Heavy didn’t have to be bombastic, it could also bleak, or trippy, or even uplifting (Justin Broadrick’s post-Godflesh project Jesu leans even further in this direction, creating almost worshipful sounds from the same instrumentation).
Selfless is truly a special record. Do yourself a favour and give it a listen, and if you come across the accompanying EP Merciless, so much the better. It is also a work of genius, but for me pride of place must go to Selfless for making an album-length statement of earth-shattering heaviness. 10 out of 10
This entry was posted on July 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm and is filed under Album Reviews, Perfect Tens with tags Doom Metal, Godflesh, Heavy Metal, Industrial, justin broadrick, Metal, Reviews, stoner rock. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.