Godflesh - _Us and Them_
by: Paul Schwarz (
Godflesh have consistently succeeded in creating albums with dark and oppressive atmospheres. On 1996's _Songs of Love and Hate_ they did this primarily with a guitar-driven style where the backing rhythms were rather sombre. This made the guitars the main instrument. By the time the first 10 or 20 seconds of _Us and Them_'s opener "I, Me, Mine" have gone by, any listener will realise that Godflesh's sixth album is quite a different kettle of fish to _SoLaH_. Instead, it is more akin to _SoLaH_'s remix effort, _Love and Hate in Dub_, in that, much of the time, it is driven percussively and by thumping drum and bass and hip-hop rhythms. "I, Me, Mine", "Defiled" and others do not even throw a riff in under these drum and bass rhythms (as many amateur bands might feel the need to), but I find myself (not being a listener to drum and bass and the like) quite getting into them. These tracks are catchy in their own way and, most importantly, don't break with what Godflesh have always done: create interesting and dark music. Tiny notes of guitar jump out of these tracks and Broadrick's voice is given an inhuman quality by a pitchshifting distortion. There are also more "traditional" sounding Godflesh tracks on display, which, with huge, slow and oppressive riffs repeating and percussion building, see Godflesh creating an oppressive and depressive storm of sound in the way they more commonly do. At 64 minutes, _Us and Them_ is a lot to take in, especially in one sitting, and I find it a little bit of a struggle as an album, but it does have some great tracks and creates a blanket of depressive, atmospheric industrial sound which is hard to throw off.
(article published 7/7/1999)
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