Godflesh's Justin K. Broadrick Talks Returning to Their Old-School Sound on First Album in 13 Years
Published Oct 01, 2014Birmingham, UK industrial metal leaders Godflesh are set to release their first new album in 13 years on October 7 via frontman Justin K. Broadrick's own Avalanche Recordings. Dubbed A World Lit Only by Fire, the highly anticipated record follows the duo's Decline & Fall EP, which was released earlier this year, and finds the band returning to their classic, early '90s sound. Broadrick recently spoke with Exclaim! about the new release and discussed how he envisioned the new material before it was written.
"When we reformed, the whole intention ultimately was to make new records. Chiefly because for quite a few years there, when I didn't have Godflesh, I started to fantasize about reforming Godflesh and making new music," Broadrick explains. "By the time we made the decision [to reform], the new material was still somewhat of a fantasy in a way, I had more imagined what I wanted to hear. I was somewhat scared for a while of actually committing to recording stuff, because I thought the expectation would be so great, mostly set by ourselves.
"I always had a very clear idea about what we wanted to achieve. I knew exactly what I wanted, I could imagine what I wanted to hear, so it was just making it real, in a way. Which was a struggle at first, because I think I set myself such a high standard of what this material would be like. Visualizing it and hearing it in my head was one thing, but making it real was another. I mean, initially, a lot of stuff I wrote I discarded because it just wasn't what I imagined, and rarely anything is in these sorts of creative processes. But eventually it was getting there, through a lot of hard work, it was eventually getting close to what was imagined and that was more the idea, really. It's like chasing a dream, in a way, chasing a concept and making it real."
Having reunited in 2010 to perform live again after being split up since the early 2000s, A World Lit Only by Fire has been four years in the making.
"It's an amazing feeling to finally have a new album out. For us, it took a long time to come together, and on top of that, we've been slow with this record, as much as anything because we're really desperate for this record to be a part of our back catalogue. It has to stand up against records that we feel have had quite an impact, and gladly I can say it's my favourite Godflesh album in 20 years; obviously, nine years of that we didn't exist," he laughs.
"But basically, for me, it's better than the last three albums we made, and it's the best album since Selfless, which was 1994. So I'm really happy to be able to say that, because a lot of bands, they reform and then they make a record really quickly, I feel. If that works for bands, then fine, but I wouldn't have felt comfortable. I mean, we could have rushed a record together, but I really wanted to do something that felt entirely instinctive and entirely us. So I spent about a year almost alone writing this record. But I mean, it's an absolute pleasure to have finally finished it, and feel like it's a record we're 100 percent happy with."
The sound on A World Lit Only by Fire is very early '90s Godflesh, and features similarities to the band's first two records, Streetcleaner and Pure, which Broadrick says was intentional.
"Essentially we knew that we wouldn't be happy unless it sounded 100 percent Godflesh. But simultaneously, it's like we wanted to make the record we never made for a number of years back in the day," he explains. "For us it still feels contemporary, as well as old school, because nobody really does what we do. I think Godflesh is somewhat of a unique voice. We've had an impact on music for many years, but nobody's ever just carbon copied what we do.
"I think somehow we've forged a sound which is still a symptom of all our own influences, it's still a product of our own influences, what they were back in the late '80s. But essentially, we still have quite a unique sound, and I think we're just tapping back into a sound that we feel is sort of infinite in a way. I think this record would probably sound like this if we made it in five years. But more so than carry on where we left off, we intended to make the record we wish we would have made back then."
Broadrick says that the writing process for A World Lit Only by Fire was the same as it had always been for Godflesh.
"It was just tapping into something that we have always done and that I've always felt a part of. Godflesh existed since I was a teenager, so it existed during the younger years of my life essentially, so I really grew up with Godflesh as a concept. So it was like going back to something very dear to me and to both of us."
Listen to all of A World Lit Only by Fire below and look for the commercial release on October 7.