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Baker's Dozen

Central To Process: Justin Broadrick's Favourite Albums
Kate Hennessy , October 16th, 2014 15:08

In a piece originally commissioned by The Bug's Kevin Martin, Justin Broadrick follows the release of Godflesh's new album A World Lit Only By Fire by taking a new spin on the Baker's Dozen format and talking Kate Hennessy through his current listening favourites


Obituary - Slowly We Rot
About 1989, I loved the death metal explosion of that period. I was into death metal very early when I was in the tape trading scene during my time in Napalm Death in the mid-80s, but I loved it when the genre turned that corner again. When Slowly We Rot was released, we'd already made Streetcleaner, but that album had a real impact on subsequent Godflesh albums, which is funny because on the Obituary album after that, one of the guys was wearing a Godflesh shirt, so we definitely had some mutual love going on there.

I was already in love with Celtic Frost who were a big influence on Napalm Death and consequently, on Godflesh. And Obituary took Celtic Frost as a blueprint; actually they began as a Celtic Frost covers band called Execution. I loved the influence they took from Celtic Frost, it was almost a reduction again, more minimal, and arguably more brutal. For me, again, it's about groove, you know. It's different to other death metal, which might be concerned, with being technical or aggressive. I mean, sure, Obituary has guitar solos which by and large have no interest for me, but that's a minor quibble because this album is amazing. What I also love about those first few albums is that they just come up with titles, John Tardy didn't sing lyrics so he would just use his voice as a rhythm and way of articulating the music and there's something so utterly admirable and primal about that, it renders language unimportant, which it by and large is. It's reduced to a primal thing, which I love. I could write a book on that.

The production is over-trebly and very, very thin, very over-produced, as are a lot of albums that were produced at Morrisound in Florida around that time. Pretty much a whole movement of about three or four years of death metal records were a product of that studio. Even a later Napalm Death album was produced there. They sound thin, lacking in bass frequency and ultra compressed. Some of those records really suffered for it but there's still something amazing about the guitar tone.

Though I say over-produced in the context of the period. Now it probably just sounds, as you say, fucking raw and quite painful; the top end hurts. It's a good thing. It's a brutal, minimal record, the first three or four Obituary records, I love. Utterly brutal and full of riffs. The new Godflesh is influenced by those records, still. It captures that just as much as it captures the mood from a Basinski record. They're all intrinsically linked.