Godflesh @ Summerhall, Edinburgh, 20 Jul

The godfathers of industrial metal, Godflesh grace the capital and impress with their ear-splitting music, though it's not without its technical difficulties

Live Review by Paul Sinclair | 24 Jul 2018
  • Godflesh

Although known for their minimal crowd interaction, Godflesh bassist G.C. Green can be spotted outside prior to the show, chatting and taking pictures with fans, a rare chance for punters to meet their idol. It isn't too often that you can honestly say you're in the presence of true pioneers of a genre, but tonight the audience inside the almost uncomfortably warm Summerhall have gathered to witness what many consider to be one of the godfathers of industrial metal.

As showtime draws near, the lights darken to a gloomy red, with the pre-show soundscapes almost a warning of what’s to come as the volume reaches intense levels, sounds drifting from obscure static to pumping techno beats. The crowd erupt as Green and guitarist/vocalist Justin Broadrick emerge. This warm reception is not returned, however, as the duo tune their instruments, backs to the crowd. The harsh samples booming from the PA continue to audibly assault, as guitar feedback now adds to the dissonant audio chaos. This blend of musical madness transports the audience to another musical plain, as all in attendance focus on the stage the soundscape grows to an ear-splitting level until... silence.

Technical difficulties hamper the atmospheric vibes as the effect-laden, haunting and overbearingly loud guitar completely cuts out and stony silence sweeps the room. Conversations break out amongst the audience as the bandstand awkwardly, waiting for a technician to fix whatever has killed the sound. As the minutes pass the room shifts from an obscure audible art show to pub garden as the crowd check their phones and chat, almost completely ignoring the band struggling to fix their technical issues onstage.

After what seems like longer than it probably was, feedback emanates from the guitar amp, hooking the audience straight back in from their smoke break-esque chats. Ripping through Anything is Mine from 1994's Selfless, the duo satisfy the tenured fan with cult classics like Messiah but also perform a bulk of their 2017 release Post Self, tearing through five tracks back-to-back with old and new being equally well-received.

Stopping only to press play on a laptop (prompting the pre-recorded drums and samples) the duo motion only to themselves and the sound person, finally acknowledging the crowd with a simple “thank you so very much” as they leave the stage. However, this band don't need a mouthpiece and this crowd don't need the attention. For anyone experiencing this band or indeed this genre for the first time, this will have been daunting and very, very loud. But for those who have counted down the days to finally witness these industrial metal mavericks in the capital, it's more than worth the wait.