One certainly can’t accuse Justin K. Broadrick and G.C. Green of complacency, for even as it has been four years since the pair last released an album under the moniker of Godflesh, numerous tours and other projects have occurred. Serving as a standalone digital companion to the Long Live the New Flesh vinyl boxset, New Flesh in Dub Vol. 1 also serves to remind listeners of the expansive stylistic influence the band has held beyond the confines of industrial/metal – from ambient soundscapes, hip-hop beats, darkly melodic post-punk, and distorted electronica, the sound of Godflesh is steeped in virtually all of modern music, with these alternate arrangements and reversions of tracks from the post-2010 reformation making for a nice set that doesn’t betray the band’s inherently crushing sonic milieu.
Longtime fans are undoubtedly aware, at least on a visceral level, the significance of Green’s bass lines, which take centerstage on these versions to showcase his strident sense of groove and abrasive tone in true dub fashion; hardly what one would call funky, but with the sparse and spacious mix of New Flesh in Dub, aided by clever rearrangements of every other instrumental element, Godflesh’s melodic sensibilities are dubiously made all the more apparent. Case in point, a song like “New Dark Ages” in its original form seemed like a devastating onslaught of growling riffs and Broadrick’s ferocious roars, now rendered all the more menacing by the steady gait of factory-like percussive loops and Green’s throaty rhythms, the aggressive bursts allowed to breathe with more tuneful resonance. The same can be said of “Imperator,” the trickles of hornlike synths echoing with Broadrick’s voice in almost processional manner amid the almost tribal march, the shrill feedback all pervasive in the background, while the off-tempo echoes of Broadrick’s vocals on “Ringer” hint at the kind of treatments dub artists usually relegate to the percussion – it’s even more unsettling and nightmarish than its original. Of course, the three remixes from 2017’s Post Self were featured as bonus tracks on the album, so their presence here is just a touch superfluous, though their thematic relevance is certainly palpable on this collection, with the sustained shoegazing drones and groans of dissonant bass in “The Cyclic End” standing as a truly monstrous and monolithic addition.
But the real treat for many will be the inclusion of two previously unreleased songs from the Post Self sessions, the first of “Your Nature Your Nurture” being especially striking for its eerily layered and cinematic vibrancy; Green’s bass viciously underscores blasts of drum hits, swells of hornlike pads, and an apoplectic melody that could just as easily be a manipulated guitar as a synth, Broadrick’s sinister whispers hovering ghostlike and desolate. On the other hand, “Gateway” sounds like a slowed down bastardization of “Post Self,” the crying vocals and howling guitars like a chainsaw amid the restraint of the rhythmic backdrop; both songs are dublike in their constructions that they fit perfectly alongside the other tracks on New Flesh in Dub. It’s perhaps not essential to anyone outside of the band’s fans, but it’s a fine complementary addition to satisfy their completionism. As well, it’s an excellent testament to the broad range of Godflesh’s stylistic and tonal palette.