13 years since Godflesh left us with their last album "Hymns". I remember being slightly dissapointed by that album as a young lad, even though it has grown on me over the years. But for me it didn't (and still doesn't) have the same impact that monumental albums like "Pure", "Selfless" or "Streetcleaner" had. After "Hymns" Godflesh broke up due to musical and personal differences, and Justin Broadrick pursued a different career as Jesu which I might add, was not (huuuge understatement) entirely unsuccesfull.
Then, all of a sudden, talks about a Godflesh reunion emerged. Hellfest in France managed to secure some comeback shows in the last couple of years and apparantly that has left Justin and Ben Green wanting more. Because here we are now, with a new album following an EP ("Decline and Fall") released in the summer.
Big question now: was it worth the wait? Well, that depends. I was perfectly content myself to leave Godflesh in the past, occasionally putting on one of the old albums. And besides, I felt Jesu still had some Godflesh vibe in it. I am also perfectly aware that after such a long downtime, expectations are through the roof. And it is really hard pleasing die-hard fans. They will want a "Streetcleaner part 2" or "Pure part 2".
There's no denying that "A world lit only by fire" is 100% Godflesh. It is instantly recognisable. Justin's monotonous, dissonant riffs and gruff shouts, Ben's trademark throbbing, warbling basslines, the drummachine poundings, it's all there. It fits like an old shoe. And while the 25 year old Björn would be ecstatic with "A world lit only by fire", the 38 year old Björn feels that somehow, like the EP, this album feels a little bit unnecessary. Don't get me wrong, "A world.." is a great album by most standards. It pounds, it rocks, it is groovy even, but most of all it is HEAVY. Hell, it's better than pretty much 90% of all Metal that gets churned out these days. And even in their mid-to-late 40's, the duo can sonically kick anyone's arse still. But when compared to their early work, which will inevitably happen, I feel it falls a bit short. Am I one of those fans who wants "Pure part 2"? Maybe I am.
So in conclusion: is this a great album? Yes it is, absolutely no doubt whatsoever. Is this a great Godflesh album? No. Very good, yes, great, no. I know i'm judging with double standards here, but for a band that is close to my heart and an integral part of my adolescence I wanted to be blown away, and I'm not. There's just no pleasing some people, eh?