Godflesh: A World Lit Only by Fire Review

And so following the release of Decline & Fall, we’ve now the release of (to some) a highly anticipated album.

Is it worthy of being considered good?

In short, yes.

Is it worthy of being considered great?


Kicking off with “New Dark Ages”, the album is an almost relentless assault, only letting up for the grinding “Carrion” and “Towers of Emptiness” and on the monolithic closing track, “Forgive our Fathers”.

The duo are a focused machine throughout all the tracks, combining dissonance and harmony to create a bleak and tense sound. They’re aware that they work best as a cohesive unit and have made sure that the whole is the priority here. The guitar, bass, drums and vocals remain rhythmically focused and only allowed a brief flourish when it serves to strengthen the music.

Broadrick is in top form with his vocals, whether he is screaming or singing. Once again, he keeps it appropriate and his lyrics remain terse yet effective.
His playing is heavily riff-based and still very much true to the Godflesh sound. It is always adding rather than subtracting and whilst it is prominent, it is not spotlight stealing.

Green remains an excellent bass player. I still believe his crunching bass is the most important element of the band and listening to this album only serves to strengthen that belief. It always seems to be driving the rhythm along and what everything is built around whilst remaining equal to the other instruments in the mix.

At times, A World Lit Only by Fire seems to be shaped more by Songs of Love and Hate than by the work that preceded that album. I say this due to what I perceive here as a distinct hip-hop sound permeating throughout most of the songs (mostly heard in the drums) and how riff-laden the album is compared to what came prior, especially Streetcleaner which, whilst containing a lot of similarly bleak and dissonant elements, was probably their work most defined by industrial music, ambient, soundscapes and (self-titled EP aside) minimalistic playing.

Songs of Love and Hate is, to me, their album that was as close to hip-hop as Godflesh ever has been but also far more riff-heavy than what came before it. The style of screaming is also far more similar to SoLaH, being only slightly deeper in comparison. This is why I feel there are strong similarities, but only at times. A World Lit Only by Fire is a far more minimalistic, less wordy affair that also has the same sense of heaviness that was found on early Godflesh.

However, I do feel that it can sound a little too digital at times and whilst it makes the album sound more machine-like in ways, this is something the band was able to achieve previously without the same effect. I also feel that it does sound a bit compressed at times, but maybe this is something I’m perceiving and is not actually there. With that being said, I found these to be the the only points of contention I have.

I do believe this is the best album that Godflesh are able to release at this stage. That they’ve spent a good deal of time on it is quite clear and despite the extended period they were inactive, they’ve created a solid, well executed work. I do also think that they’ll be able to do better on subsequent releases as they keep pushing forward.

If Hymns was a reaction to heavy music at the time it was released, then A World Lit Only by Fire is a reaction to Hymns and what has come since. It manages to sound a lot like early Godflesh yet at the same time quite different. It is an evolution but also a new beginning and it’s good to have them back.

About Stupidity Hole

I'm some guy that does stuff. Hoping to one day fill the internet with enough insane ramblings to impress a cannibal rat ship. I do more than I probably should. I have a page called MS Paint Masterpieces that you may be interested in checking out. I also co-run Culture Eater, an online zine for covering the arts among other things. We're on Patreon!
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