Justin K. Broadrick was born in 1969 in Birmingham, England. At the age of 12, he began recording his own solo material under title Final. This project was mainly noise and Justin screaming into a microphone. Justin met B.C. Green and Paul Neville, both from Birmingham in 1983. They asked him to join their band, Fall of Because on drums. He accepted. In May of 1985, Justin met Nicholas James Bullen (Nik) at a record store. Sharing the same interests, Justin learned that Nik had a project called Napalm Death. Justin then joined playing guitar for the project. At this time, the drummer was named The Rat, or Nicholas Ratledge. This lineup recorded their first demo, Hatred Surge in 1985. There is another demo that was recorded around this time, that may have featured Justin. Rumor has it that The Rat later had a mental breakdown and was admitted into a mental istitution, or that turned into a buddhist monk. (Barney Greenway and Mick Harris told both stories, though neither knew if the rumors are true) Upon his departure, Mick Harris joined the band, and this is the lineup that recorded part of what would later become the Scum album in 1986. The three piece recorded 12 songs that they had written in the prior few years. During this time, Justin played with both bands, and that same year Fall of Because released their first demo, Extirpate. This demo contains a few songs that would later become Godflesh tracks.
In late 1986/early 1987 (remember, at this point Justin is only about 17 years old!) Justin met the members of a well known British act, Head of David at a Napalm Death/Fall of Because concert. The members of HoD were impressed by Justin's drumming for FoB and asked him to join them. He agreed, and about 2 weeks after joining, he left Napalm Death. Later that year, he recorded his first and only full length LP with them, Dustbowl. Also in 1987, Scum finally saw the light of day. By now, not only Justin, but Nik had also left Napalm Death, after which there had been numerous member changes. The Scum record only features Justin on the the first side of the record, the remainder recorded by future members.
Fall of Because continued throughout this, but dwindled around 1987. The band never broke up, I suppose they just all lost interest. After the Dustbowl record, Justin left citing that the band was heading in a different direction. 2 more Head of David records were released that featured Justin, The Saveana Mixes (1989-Remixes of tracks from Dustbowl) and White Elephant/Peel Sessions (1989-Taken from 2 separate Peel Sessions. The first (3 tracks) doesn't feature Justin, while the second (4 songs) has him playing drums)
Now that Justin was out of HoD, he had his first chance to create whichever project he wanted. Taking his influences (Swans, early Killing Joke, SPK, Suicide, The Stranglers, Black Sabbath and especially Throbbing Gristle) He looked to create a band that would take the sounds of all his favorite bands, and slow them down, like a 45 record played at 33! The day that Justin left Head of David, he asked B.C. Green to re-join Fall of Because. At that time, Justin decided that he could express the sounds that he wanted to create better while playing guitar, so he resumed and they changed the name from Fall of Because to GODFLESH.
Ben and Justin then bought a drum machine and began recording for their first release, which came some time later in 1988. This recording and all future recordings were done at Avalanche, which is actually Justin's studio, in his basement. 6 songs were recorded and released under the title of Godflesh through a small indie record shop, Swordfish Records. The sounds created by Godflesh were new and very creative for the time, and soon Dig Parson of Earache Records noticed them, and offered them a deal with Earache. Around that time, 4 other songs were recorded, and were going to be released as an ep titled Tiny Tears. But Swordfish didn't want to take the risk of releasing anything else, and Earache urged the band to record a full length instead (something they've done numerous times, and is why the anthology was/will never be released) so those 4 songs appear as bonus tracks on the next album...
One year later, the two went in to the studio to record their first full length album, Streetcleaner. It was recorded in two sessions, with Paul Neville helping out on the second one. I'm not sure if Paul appears on the 4 bonus tracks or not, nor do I know what he was up to during the recording of the Godflesh ep. They then recorded a John Peel Session, performing 4 songs, the last of which (Pulp) was joined by Kevin Martin (who is part of most recent side projects with Justin), for an amazing 10-15 minute version.
The first half of 1990 saw Justin and Ben touring Europe with Napalm Death who were beginning to gain their own following during the Grindcrusher Tour. The US leg of this tour also had Nocturnus. Paul Neville joined the band during the tours of this time, but he didn't play the entire shows. Justin and Ben would play half a set, and then Paul would come out to do the tracks from Streetcleaner that he appeared on. In 1990, the band toured the US for the first time, and the Godflesh ep was re-issued through Earache with 2 bonus tracks on cd, though I don't know exactly when these were recorded. There was also a small record label called Silent Scream Records who re-issued the ep as well, on LP and CS, but they did so without consent of the band or the record labels! Some time later, Kevin Martin and his Pathological Records put out a compilation called The Pathological Compilation, which contained 2 unreleased Godflesh songs. These tracks may have been from a prior recording session. After a short while, Pathological Records went under, and this compilation has been deleted. These 2 songs are hard to find, and of course, are great!
Slavestate was recorded and released in 1991, and Paul Neville was with them for the entire recording. The initial release of the ep contained 4 songs. Then Slavestate Remixes came out, featuring 3 remixes of songs from Slavestate. Shortly after, Slateman was released on Sub Pop records, on black, red, and grey vinyl. Earache then obtained the rights to these 2 songs and released it on cd, 7" and 12" before issuing all 3 releases together to form the Slavestate that can be found now. Originally, Justin wanted them to be kept separate, but once again, Earache got what they wanted. This record was a big turning point in Godflesh's career. Up until this point, they'd been considered Grindcore or even Death Metal, both titles that Justin wasn't very happy about, and perhaps that explains such a great directional change. In any event, many fans lost interest, and this change wasn't the first. With each successive release, Godflesh reinvented themselves and never put out 2 similar sounding albums, a fact hailed by many, and hated by others.
Later that year, Godflesh recorded a split 7" with the band Loop, where each band recorded a cover song of the other band. Godflesh recorded the track Straight to Your Heart, and Loop covered the classic Like Rats. This was issued through Clawfist records, a singles record club one could subscribe to. Only 1400 records were made, making this one of the more sought after collector's items nowadays. Soon thereafter, the band toured Europe opening up for Loop who were doing their farewell tour. Paul Neville left the band to pursue his own band, Cable Regime right after that, and Robert Hampson of Loop stated that the only band he would consider joining was Godflesh. Now without a guitarist, Justin and Ben asked him to join them. He agreed!
Pure and Cold World were recorded at the same time in September/October of 1991. Cold World was released late in 1991 with Pure coming out in April of 1992. These releases showed the world yet another side of the ever-changing Godflesh sound. Justin was very unhappy with the production of this release, as it was recorded on an 8 track, and provided him with fuel to make the band better, and to once again, change their direction.
Robert left shortly after the European tour, to continue work on his own project, Main, who had already recorded some material. Main consisted of him and ex-Loop member, Scott Dawson. After this loss, the band decided not to replace him with a second guitarist. They continued on as a two piece.
The band got the great opportunity to open up for Skinny Puppy for a US tour. Unfortunately, they had problems with customs, and couldn't get into the US for a short while, and therefore had to miss a few dates. They made these up in July and then returned to Birmingham.
In the next year and a half, Earache united with Columbia Records, a merger that would only last 2 years. Because of this union, the band was able to purchase new equipment for their home studio and Justin worked with numerous side projects, made guest appearances, did remixes, and produced a few releases. While he had done many side project albums prior, 1993 was the year Godflesh had off, and many more albums were to come.
Late in 1993 however, Godflesh finished up parts of what would become Merciless, an EP that spanned 3 years of material. The title track was originally a Fall of Because track the band dug up. In early 1994, the band began work on their 3rd full length record Selfless. Merciless was released in mid-1994, and after some contractual problems, and a long delay, Selfless was finally released in September/October (UK/US). Justin says that it was his "Rock-n-Roll album" and that they needed to get it out of their system. They toured with Danzig and Type O-Negative a tour that gave them only 30 minutes on stage, and one that wasn't as successful as Justin had wished. It did however, allow them to play to a broader audience than normal.
Godflesh toured Europe for a short time in 1995, and later that year most of the older albums were re-released on Earache. There is nothing extra or special on the new releases, except Pure comes w/ a sticker and has higher quality cover art, and Streetcleaner has a lower quality cover art. The single for Crush My Soul was released early in 1995, featuring extended remixes of Crush My Soul and Xnoybis. A promo for Xnoybis was also released, and is an excellent collectors item, though not all too rare, which contained 4 versions of Xnoybis. In March of 1996, Slateman/Cold World was re-released as a 2-1 package cd. Many more side projects were done during this year off, including some new bands. Later that year, the duo began working on their next LP. After finishing it, they felt that it was empty and that it needed more. So, they hired session drummer Brian 'brain' Mantia to lay down the first live drum tracks (over the drum machines, both appear on the record) on a Godflesh release.
On August 20th 1996, after nearly a 2 year silence, Godflesh released their next record, Songs of Love and Hate. For the first time, Justin's many side projects started to leak into their music. It returned to the drum-driven sound from Pure, and an expansion on the heavier sound of Selfless. They did a winter tour in the US with Vision of Disorder, and due to expenses, the UK tour was cancelled. While never a full time member, Brain did not tour w/ the band, as he had been offered the position in the band Primus which he took. Godflesh got drummer Ted Parsons (ex-Swans/Prong) to do the tour.
Love and Hate in Dub contained various remixes of SoLaH, and was released June/July (US/UK) 1997. The band did one live show in London, which was titled Godflesh Sound System. Here, Justin operated a mixing desk, and not guitar. This was the plan for all future dates, but has not been incorporated just yet.
1997 and 1998 showed even more side project releases. Final, Ice, Krackhead, Saskwatch, Sidewinder, Solaris B.C., Techno Animal and Youpho all had something either released or planned for release during that 2 year span. Ben even had his own side project Vitriol planned for release, though I don't think it's even come out.
May/June (UK/US) 1999 featured the release of the Godflesh LP, Us and Them. This time no drummer appears, simply the drum machines like in the past. A scheduled dub counterpart never saw release, but 2 tracks did appear on the band's anthology, In All Languages. Godflesh did a short European tour in July of 1999, this time with 4 live members. Steve Hough (Saskwatch) plays 2nd guitar live and Dermot Dalton (Saskwatch/Final) helps with samples, tapes and moog.
After splitting from Earache, the band signed to Music for Nations and Koch in the US. Their label debut came in 2001 with Hymns and Ben Green left shortly after. This was the beginning of the end for the band. After performing several European tour dates, a full US tour was announced, but was never to occur. Just as Justin was to embark for his journey to the states, he announced that Godflesh had disbanded.
His many side projects live on, but Godflesh does not and their tale ended in May of 2002.