Godflesh - Streetcleaner
Earache Records
Industrial Grindcore
9 songs (47:15)
Release year: 1989
Earache Records
Reviewed by Aaron

The first thing you hear when firing up Godflesh's inimitable Streetcleaner album is a steady, droning hum, like that of a vacuum cleaner. It grows steadily louder... and there's a strange hissing, like a mechanical snake heading across the ground off in the distance... and then the heavy clattering drumbeat of Like Rats kicks in, drums devoid of soul and humanity, and Justin Broadrick roars 'YOU BREED - LIKE RATS.'

Welcome to Streetcleaner. Leave your boots by the door, and be sure to take a change of brain cells, because you'll be losing quite a few during the duration of this, due to the sheer impact of it all.

The history this album made upon release is impossible to deny: it came and bulldozed everything in its path like an unstoppable... um... bulldozer. Point is, this was one of the first great industrial metal albums, chock-full of perfect songs that later bands would draw from (...And Oceans, Fear Factory, Red Harvest, every industrial metal band that put out an album post-1989, etc) to a great extent, keeping in place the tortured, screaming basslines and the heavy downtuned repetitive riffing, but only a few coming close to capturing this feel of total emotional apocalypse like Godflesh do on this album. This album is legendary and will never, ever be equaled by anyone. If you call yourself a fan of industrial metal and do not own this, then you should be shot immediately.

The production is as heavy as 1989 gets, the monstrous drumbeats suffocating the sparse harsh guitar riffing and industrial sound effects. Jason's shouting was, more often than not, completely incomprehensible, but lent an undeniable atmosphere to the repetitive crushing music, his lyrics simple declarations of hate and rage towards idiocy, towards people, towards life. The best example of this would be the repeated chant of 'lies' during Streetcleaner's best song (and without a doubt one of my favorite songs ever) Christbait Rising.

Like Rats is a perfect opener, all dense riffs and almost techno-y drumbeats that foreshadowed Slavestate topped with Jason's furious roars of desperation. However, Christbait Rising is packed full of collapsing riffs and screaming basslines and marching drums as pitiless as the Japanese soldiers carrying out the Rape of Nanking.

Justin's voice is a counterpart to all the inhumanity- for all the hatred and frustration he spews, he sounds real, flesh and blood apart from the machinery that seems to form Godflesh's clanking brutal sound.

The closing song is as haunting as oppressive industrial grindcore gets. Locust Furnace starts out with a repeated sample of some serial killer or another, saying that he did what he did consciously, that he's not insane. The drumbeat is speedy, like the initial steps of a 30,000-mile march through snow. The guitars whine and squeal and groan like tortured humans, and Justin's vocals are made to sound like those of a robot overlord ordering the destruction of another city. It grinds on wonderfully, and the final yells of 'Die!' fade out into a synthesized ending.

If you haven't figured it out yet, this album is essential.

Buy it before it's too late.

Killing Songs :
Like Rats, Christbait Rising, Pulp, Dream Long Dead, Head Dirt, and Locust Furnace are my faves, but none of them are weak
Aaron quoted CLASSIC
Dee quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Godflesh that we have reviewed:
Godflesh - Decline & Fall EP reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Godflesh - Pure reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Godflesh - Selfless reviewed by Aaron and quoted 83 / 100
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