A World Lit Only by Fire is the seventh studio album by English industrial metal band Godflesh. It was released on 7 October 2014 through band leader Justin Broadrick's own record label, Avalanche Recordings. It is the first studio album of new material Godflesh released in 13 years since Hymns (2001).
The track "New Dark Ages" was released for streaming on 5 August 2014.
After disbanding in 2002, band leader Justin Broadrick formed bands Jesu and Greymachine, and released music under various monikers, including Final. Godflesh reunited in 2010. The band released their first new recording in over 12 years through Decibel magazine's Flexi Series: a cover version of Slaughter's "F.O.D. (Fuck of Death)". The band started working on the album in 2012. On 2 June 2014, Godflesh released the Decline & Fall EP, featuring new material by the band.
The album features an eight-string guitar. In an interview with the French radio station Le 106, Broadrick stated:
"It will be [musically] similar to the first two or three [Godflesh albums]. I just think, like we're playing these shows, we feel very pure about we're doing and honoring the initial intentions with what we originally set out to do. Which, I think, like most bands and musicians and all the rest of it, by the time you get on to your fourth album, it's somewhat of a dilution going on to what you initially tried to achieve. It will definitely sound aggressive and it probably won't sound like any of the other records we've made, but it will have the minimalism of the first few records."
Conversely, in the same interview, bass guitarist G. C. Green said, "It won't sound like the first two record [sic]; it will be more the spirit". Also in an interview with Vice, Broadrick stated, "It's certainly more like Streetcleaner than Hymns." According to the press release of the album, the songs "span the divide between high definition clarity and raw, visceral heaviness, inducing a meditative state via seething minimalism that hinges on ritualistic riff repetition and the tenuous membrane between anxiety-inducing dissonance and cathartic minor key melody."
A World Lit Only by Fire received rave reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 85, which indicates "universal acclaim", based on 8 reviews. Gregory Heaney of Allmusic wrote that "A World Lit Only by Fire makes it crystal clear that Godflesh have a long, unfailing memory, and that their punishing work has only just begun." Clash critic James Barry described the album as "a brave record" and stated: "There’s nothing nostalgic here – it’s the sound of a band reborn, rather than one reformed."
Denise Falzon of Exclaim! wrote: "Complete with bleak, nihilistic themes, A World Lit Only by Fire is every bit the record fans have been waiting over a dozen years for." Writing for The Guardian, Dom Lawson described the album as "a sustained and hypnotic march through minimalist, post-Sabbath landscapes, and crucifyingly heavy on every level." Pitchfork critic Jason Heller commented: "As a whole, A World Lit Only by Fire represents music converted into motion—kinetic and mechanical, inexorable and inhuman." Heller also further stated: "Godflesh, never a forgiving band, has never sounded so relentless." Zachary Houle wrote: "A World Lit Only By Fire is revisionist industrial and the soundscapes of this brittle disc leaves you wondering what on earth just hit you." Houle also further stated that the album "basically rewrites the rule book for industrial."
All songs written by Justin Broadrick and G.C. Green.Justin Broadrick – vocals, eight-string guitar, production
G.C. Green – bass guitar
Machines – drums, rhythm