There’s plenty to make old fans rejoice.
Unless you’ve been well entrenched in the metal/industrial idiom, you probably weren’t familiar with Justin Broadrick. That is until Mark Kozelek started putting out albums with a band called Jesu via Sun Kil Moon, leading you to wonder who the guy behind the Birmingham-based UK outfit was.
As it turns out, he’s been at it a long, long time. One of his bands, Godflesh, was around from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, reuniting once more just a few years ago. Post Self revives the Godflesh moniker. Heavy riffs abound, as do industrial beats—Broadrick plays just about everything except for bass, which is taken over by co-founder G.C. Green.
The most successful tracks are the ones that combine programmed mayhem with more organic-sounding aggression, like stand-out “No Body,” which has an especially effective breakdown section. The follow-up track, “Mirror of Finite Light,” helps the pacing of the album by slowing things down a bit and forcing us to concentrate more on the vocals – though these are so distorted that one doesn’t have much of a chance to make much of the lyrics. The rhythms are interesting throughout, reminiscent sometimes of Dead Can Dance, but it’s hard to say what any of the songs might be “about” without a lyrics sheet handy, and even then, it’s a challenge.
After the intense, stormy “Be God”—one of the more arresting tracks—we get the oddly catchy, My Bloody Valentine-meets-Killing Joke-style “The Cyclic End,” which starts off promisingly enough but doesn’t quite make good on its initial promise, though the guitar tone is impressive.
But speaking of guitars, nowhere do they sound better than on “Pre Self,” with dissonant chords crashing through, creating syncopated waves with the distorted vocals and percussion. This was (at least for this reviewer) the stand-out of the album, the closest the listener gets to a kind of emotional core to the work as a whole.
The final third of the album concludes with “Mortality Sorrow,” – which would not sound out of place at the Twin Peaks Roadhouse – the instrumental “In Your Shadow” and the strong finish, “The Infinite End.” This last track has a quite effective “layered” sound that ends the album on a truly compelling, almost symphonic note.
Overall, the album bears the hallmarks of Broadrick’s sound, tending more toward the goth or industrial than metal, but this reviewer isn’t sure if it will appeal to more than the already converted. Perhaps it’s the sound that is so particular as to limit the range of potential listeners, but Broadrick is, honestly, too damn talented to make music just for those within his core. Conjugating his sound with something unexpected is what made the Sun Kill Moon collaborations so interesting. On Post Self, there’s plenty to make old fans rejoice, but not enough to bring fresh blood to the party.