Just taking the reviews from other sites and archiving them here. All links are provided to the original article and source.
A few months after Earache released a 2-disc retrospective (In All Languages), Godflesh is back on a new label (Music For Nations/Koch Records) with a record of all-new material, a new band member (ex-Swans, ex-Prong Ted Parsons, who did live drums on the Songs of Love and Hate tour is now a full time 'member') and another progression in sound. While in 1999 Broadrick and co. moved to a more 'electronic' dub-ish sound, with heavy use of drum machines and some synth-work on their album Us & Them, this new record sees them going back to the mostly guitar-based work they did early in their career. I don't know how hard it was to make this record for the band, but it is worth mentioning that bassist G.C. Green left Godflesh soon after the release of this record. The main difference between this record and the early stuff is Parsons' drumming, which gives Hymns a more open, spacious feel than say, the claustrophobic Streetcleaner. Which is not to say that this is light record in any way -- if that's your worry, don't sweat it, when the Black Sabbath-like Voidhead and it's outro/bridge of "why am I such a void?" or the absolutely crushing Antihuman crawls out of your speakers, there can be no doubt that this album is still heavier than almost anything else you heard this year. Broadrick has really made good progress vocally, and variety in his vocals is a high point of this disc; many of the tracks have clean (but unintelligible) vocals. While guitar pyrotechnics was never what Godflesh was primarily about, if you're a fan of heavy guitar, you'll get your money's worth on this disc.
After a long, long hiatus the uncomprimising Godflesh have returned with a somewhat surprising album. Moving away from their more industrial/programmed leanings, Hymns is one of their heavier discs to date. It's always hard to tell which way Godflesh will go - choosing between they're ultra -heavy and electronic sides. Hymns has a little bit of both with Ted Parson's drumming being enhanced by sampled percussion loops on "Tyrant" and "Deaf, Dumb, & Blind." "Defeated" is less their normal blend of heaviness and industrial noise and more just a full on heavy assault that would make most doom bands proud. Once again their signature sound is down tuned and just down - depressing dirges into the depths of humanity (how many d's can I work in there?). The album has some very stripped down parts ("Voidhead"), almost sounding like the band recorded each song live in a rehearsal space.
"Paralyzed" is a good example of how they've returned more to the sound of Songs of Love and Hate as opposed to their last two albums. There's just so many good, tuned-down, fat as fuck songs on here including "Defeated," "Voidhead," "Anthem," and "White Flag." It's also amazing that despite it's heaviness, the music has amazing subtlety to it such as on "Anthem." In addition, ex-Prong drummer Ted Parsons, whose style meshes perfectly with Broadrick and Green's, provides infinite more groove when compared to the programmed drums of previous albums.
Amazingly, you hear their sound in bands like Fear Factory and Meshuggah, but they are still relatively unknown in the States. Godflesh is also one of those bands that isn't confined by a label or what their sound "should be" according to the press and fans. The keep changing up to fit where their heads are at in any particular time. Unfortunately, they too often get lumped in as an "industrial" band despite their tempos being infinitely slower and their sound being seven hundred times thicker than most of the bands they are compared to.
These guys are still not as well respected as they should be - definitely give this one a try.
Any way you slice it, this has inadvertently become a transitional album in the ways of all things 'fleshlike. Not only is it the first full album with a live drummer (Mantia only appeared on half of Songs of Love and Hate, remember), and simultaneously the studio debut of Ted Parsons (former human metronome for Swans, Of Cabbages and Kings, and Prong), who's been playing with them since the SoLaH tour, but now it turns out to be Benny's last album with them as well. (He's leaving to go back to school, apparently, and is being replaced by Raven -- logically, the next step will be for Justin to be replaced by Tommy Victor and become Prong Mach II. Stranger things have happened....) Frankly, I can't even imagine what Godflesh would sound like without Benny, so it will be interesting to see where they go from here. At least Benny gets to bow out with the strongest album they've done in years -- this sounds like the album they could have made somewhere between the debut ep and Streetcleaner, but with occasional nods to many other projects they've all been involved in over the years since then. Having Mr. Parsons step up to the drum stool turns out to have been an extremely shrewd move -- he's capable of playing with metronome-like precision, but his style is very different from the band's previous drummers, man or machine, and that in turn has driven the band in a new direction -- not only does Ted provide beats that are totally unexpected yet totally Godflesh, but his entire approach forms the backbone for a more stripped-down, structurally looser sound than ever before. Freed from the tyranny of counting measures to stay in sync with the machine, in many places on the new album they sound like something akin to a more trance-oriented Zeni Geva, assuming that Null initially worshipped at the altar of Black Sabbath and Swans rather than Pink Floyd and Swans. (It also seems that Justin's a lot more tritone-happy on this album, although that may be my imagination.)
Elements from all of their previous albums (and a few side bands) are here -- the bone-crushing heaviness of the opening track "Defeated" could have come from the Merciless sessions, several songs expand on the crushing Sabbath-worship of "Bittersweet" from Us & Them, "Antihuman" sounds like a rogue Ice track, and "Animal" could be an outtake from Streetcleaner, while other songs echo elements of the mantra moves on Selfless, cascading feedback and grinding bass of the early releases, even the techno stylings of from Slavestate in a couple of places. ("Vampires" does sound an awful lot like a song from the last Prong album, which is kind of interesting.) The difference is that everything is subservient to the mammoth, often heavily torqued guitar and bass, and brute force rules over every other consideration for the most part. This may be the most consistently heavy and unrelenting thing they've ever done. At the same time, there's no filler on this release -- and some of the songs (in particular "Anthem," "White flag," "For life," and "Jesu") are among the best they've ever done. This is a focused mess o' tracks, all right....
I think it's interesting that they're now on Music For Nations, because this new refinement of their sound may earn them an entirely new audience as this album makes its way into the hands of the stoners. People hep to the likes of Electric Wizard and Goatsnake who previously would have been put off by the frequent experimental forays into loops and sonic ugliness (or the drum machine) should find this collection of riff-heavy uberfuzz death dirges more to their liking. For that matter, this is the closest they've ever come to making a "traditional" death metal album -- it may have that stoner hypnogroove, but it's executed with machine-like precision.
Incidentally, if you ever wondered what a Low or Codeine song would sound like in these hands, check out the untitled ending track (approx. a minute or two after "Jesu") -- the first heavy section, in fact, sounds very much like a Codeine riff. My favorite track on the album hands down, one of my favorite Godfleshtracks ever, in fact.