For me, the album that I compare any Industrial music to is Godflesh’s Streetcleaner. If there were any LP that, to me, defined dark and heavy Industrial, that was it. Nothing has been able to top it. Even the almighty Godflesh was never able to exceed the sheer evil and hellish atmosphere that was Streetcleaner. Years and tons of experimental releases later, Godflesh broke up. Now, they’re back with a new EP, that, according to the marketing, was a return to form. Decline & Fall was going to be a release that would recapture the oppressive feeling and atmosphere of the old days, and the early hype seemed to indicate that this was going to be more focused and less experimental than anything they’d done since Slavestate. Hearing that, I just had to check out this EP for myself. Sadly, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Of course, the caveat here is that I’m comparing Decline & Fall to the legendary Streetcleaner. If none of their other releases could live up to Streetcleaner, it was doubtful that this was going to do it either. The best I was hoping for was a solid EP that was more in the style of Streetcleaner. On its own, Decline & Fall is odd sounding. Listening to it, I couldn’t help but notice how similar it was to the new Triptykon album. The guitars have that Celtic Frost/Tryptikon tone and vocally, Justin Broadrick sounds a whole lot like Tom Warrior. The music is pretty punishing, but it still lacks the dark and brutal feeling that I remember from Streetcleaner, which is what I was hoping to find, if nothing else. This EP almost sounds like what would happen if Tom Warrior and the gang decided to do a bunch of Tool covers, but without the sinister atmosphere that Triptykon is known for. Hopefully, Godflesh’s new full-length LP, A World Lit Only by Fire will be a full return to form for them. Decline & Fall is a step in the right direction, showing a more focused and mature sounding band, but without that atmosphere, they’re still missing a key ingredient in their sound. I’ve heard that the atmosphere is starting to creep back into their sound, and my fingers are crossed that this is a good omen.
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I was more than a little disappointed that their amazing cover of Slaughter‘s “Fuck of Death” wasn’t included on this EP…
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