Godflesh played Middle East Downstairs – 9/15

U.K. industrial metal pioneers Godflesh headlined a Friday night show at the Mid East with support from Cel Genesis and Biproduct.


When Godflesh roared into existence in the late ’80s, their uncompromising, boundary-pushing industrial pummel sounded like little else out there. Over 30 years later, it remains the case. This June saw the release of Purge, the band’s third album since reforming after a seven-year split in the early ’00s, and its fusion of churning breakbeat percussion and buzzsaw guitars still rings fresh and brutal.

The longtime duo of guitarist/vocalist Justin Broadrick and bassist B.C. Green opened Friday night’s set at the Middle East with two of those new cuts, before diving back to touch on older material stretching all the way to their self-titled 1988 debut EP. As always, the presentation was minimal, the pair alone on stage save for their amps and the invisible but very much physical force of their programmed drums. A venue mishap seemed to have accidentally broken down even the projector setup that typically provides a visual backdrop, leaving the battering sonics all the more stark.

The band doesn’t make it stateside all that often, and a crowd of devotees was clearly grateful for an opportunity to take in the near-ritualistic experience. Gear trouble seemed to plague Broadrick at points during the set –which ended up being cut slightly short following signature song “Like Rats,” prompting an apology from the frontman – but from a listener’s perspective the issues were nil. It was Godflesh, powerful as ever.

Opening the night was an enjoyably bruising techno/live visuals set from local duo Biproduct and a strobe-blasted digital hardcore assault from Oakland’s Cel Genesis. Check out photos from all three sets below.