ALBUM REVIEW: Godflesh – Purge


Thirty-one years after the release of their sophomore Godflesh album Pure, Justin K Broadrick and Ben Green (and Machines) allude to this one aspect of the band’s crushing history with new album Purge, releasing on June 9th on Avalanche Recordings.


As the band’s press release states, the title is also a reference to how songwriter Justin K. Broadrick utilises the music of Godflesh as a kind of therapy for his diagnosed autism and PTSD. So what kind of therapy does Godflesh offer to the listener?


Over the years the formula has often evolved, but generally in place are brutal, slow, downtuned riffs, mechanised beats, gut-churning bass, squealing walls of guitar feedback, and Broadrick vocalising his pain in roaring, wailing or more subtly menacing performances.



You can definitely bang your head to Godflesh, but you’re going to feel a general sense of doom rising up from the pit of your stomach while doing it. Godflesh is music to let the demons out, making Purge a fitting title indeed to their new album.


Despite the play on the title of their 1992 album, Purge draws from various elements of the band’s career. Opener ‘Nero’ echoes the mechanised grooves of 1994’s ‘Crush My Soul’, delivered with force and menace, while the following track ‘Land Lord’ plays with the kind of hip-hop beats the band employed on 1996’s Songs of Love and Hate.


Across the album’s eight tracks Purge is actually a pretty varied display of what Broadrick and Godflesh can do. ‘Army of None’ features impressively earth-shaking bass and nifty guitar slides, while on ‘The Father’ Broadrick employs the kind of haunting wail heard on the group’s mid-90s ‘Slateman’ or Broadrick’s more shoegaze infused Jesu project.


The group even creates a kind of gruelling, punishing industrialised hellscape on ‘Mythology of Self’, that would almost fit Swans’ Public Castration is a Good Idea mid-80s horror. Now doesn’t that sound like a treat?


The tone is of course unendingly dour and grim, but the album is well-paced, with Broadrick utilising a range of vocal styles. Purge shows all the indicators of a band still with plenty of ideas to bring to the table. A very welcome feel-bad return.


Buy the album here:


8 / 10