Godflesh / SRSQ The Venue, Vancouver BC, December 6

Godflesh / SRSQ The Venue, Vancouver BC, December 6
Photo: Sharon Steele
There's a good chance that passers-by to the Venue might have suspected the beginnings of tectonic upheaval in the heart of downtown, as legendary industrial duo Godflesh pounded the audience into dust under their thousand megaton barrage. Godflesh are no stranger to Vancouver, having played two years prior, accompanied by renowned power electronics icon Prurient.
This time around, the band was joined by one-woman pop project SRSQ, which seemed a strange choice of accompaniment for a band as grim and dismal as Godflesh. But in the wake of SRSQ's performance, it didn't matter. In a haze of pink light, Kennedy Ashlyn inflicted a sublime suffering on the audience, with her brand of dark dream pop that was at once ethereal and tragic. Song after song, hypnotic beats pulsed beneath Ashlyn's extremely sincere vocal performance that made the venue feel half the size, leaving us entranced and vulnerable.
It wasn't until Godflesh's Justin Broadrick initiated the drum machines to "Post Self" that one of the true advantages of having SRSQ precede them came to light. Like tenderized meat, the crowd was lured into a state of sentimentality and sensitivity; the thundering blast of Godflesh was only accentuated and made that much more potent.
Wandering through the latest works in Post Self and A World Lit Only By Fire, while delving into the past by way of '94's Selfless and the monument of Streetcleaner, the set felt calculated for maximum punishment.
The bass attack from both BC Green and Broadrick's drum machines was overpowering, penetrating to the bone and rumbling one's guts as you felt the noise wash over you. All the while, a haunting reel of surreal visuals played at their backs, only enhancing the already black heart of Godflesh's sound.
Perhaps it was a distortion of time perception caused by the bodily vibrations, but before we knew it, "Like Rats" was upon us, signalling the end in apocalyptic glory and giving one final shove into the depths of that hateful engine before the duo called it a night and departed. They didn't overstay their welcome, but much like one of Justin Broadrick's drum machines, did what they came there to do with a grim and terrible efficiency befitting of the term industrial.