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Legendary for a reason - 85%

dfry, May 18th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1991, CD, Combat Records

Sonically vicious and now legendary, “Streetcleaner” is the most powerful release of Napalm Death alumnus Justin Brodadrick’s pioneering industrial Godflesh project. Despite it’s heavy use on technology of the time, this vicious album of brain-melting guitar squalls and programmed percussion still sounds surprisingly potent 30+ years later.

More accessible than early Swans but more metallic than Steve Albini’s Big Black, Godflesh carves its own spiteful scar in the ears of adventurous metal fans with stinging guitar loops and bludgeoning repetition in “Mighty Trust Krusher”, Broadrick’s booming, studio-enhanced yowls straddling the line between ominous and cliched (by today's standards). “Pulp” is a real progression – the marching, crunching loop one of the earliest examples of truly metallic-sounding industrial rock, a style that would be copied by scores of bands in the coming years. “Locust Furnace” is a mighty Swans-style headache, the subdued guitar lines adding an edge that makes repeat listens a combination of headbanging joy and morbid curiosity. There's a wicked variety of guitar tones presented across the album, likely the result of endless tinkering with amps, pedals and guitars, from the steamy rising ambience of "Life is Easy" to the machine-like squeals of "Devastator/Mighty Trust Krusher", the album is a bevy of inspiring guitar experimentation.

Fan as we are of an actual human being sitting behind the drum kit, kicking up sweat and beating the kit into a greasy pulp, “Streetcleaner” is the type of album that forces us to re-examine our standards. The frightening choruses are oddly hooky, despite the ear-scrubbing abrasiveness of the presentation. Delightfully twisted and crushing, “Streetcleaner” is regarded as a classic for a reason.

Now Feel This! - 100%

JoshSabbath21, March 8th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1989, CD, Earache Records

In 1988, the newly named Godflesh from Birmingham, England, led by former Napalm Death member Justin Broadrick, released their self titled EP. Along with The Land of Rape and Honey by synth-pop rooted Ministry, the EP are considered to have been the birth of what is now known as industrial metal. The next year, Godflesh unleashed onto the world their full-length debut, Streetcleaner. And it is fucking awesome!

For those who like their metal musically and (sometimes) lyrically technical and complex, you're are barking up the wrong tree! This is minimalistic and simple. However, being minimalistic and simple doesn't automatically mean bad or lazy, as evident by this album. Dissonant guitar chords, G.C. Green's downtuned, driving bass playing, a drum machine, and Broadrick's harsh, evil sounding vocals create an intense and depressing vibe.

The songs are misanthropic as fuck. Each song has only a few lyrics and are repeated ad nauseam. "Like Rats" is a catchy (Mainstream pop music isn't the only kind of music that can be catchy!) yet crushing song with the line "you breed, like rats!" repeated over and over. It's about Broadrick's disdain for society's infatuation with starting families. "Christbait Rising" is, of course, an anti-religion song, but it is also extremely cold and dissonant, has only 4 lines. Then there is "Locust Furnace", which ends the original version of the album (I'm reviewing the 1989 CD version) with Broadrick screaming repeatedly in a tortured voice, Furnace! As I mentioned a second ago I'm reviewing the 1989 CD version of Streetcleaner which includes the unreleased Tiny Tears EP which consists of 4 tracks.

In conclusion, Godflesh's first full-length release is as awesome as it is influential! Those who have never heard it should! You won't regret it!

Cold Desolation - 90%

orphy, August 17th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1989, CD, Earache Records

Back in 1989, former Napalm Death guitarist Justin Broadrick released his debut full length with his new band, Godflesh. For those expecting an extension of his work with the seminal grind act, “Streetcleaner” would come as a surprise. However, for those who have followed the trajectory of Broadrick’s career, Godflesh’s sound comes as no surprise, as he had been involved in a couple of noisier experimental acts, Fall of Because and Head of David, that foreshadowed the industrial sound that Godflesh would be known for.

“Streetcleaner” is an album made up of two recording sessions on the LP, with an additional session’s tracks added onto the CD version. As a result, the CD ends up being over an hour long, but kind of plays out like you’re listening to three distinct, yet cohesive EPs on one disc that adds up to the quintessential industrial metal album.

The first five tracks feature the line up of Justin Broadrick and his longtime collaborator, JC Green. These tracks are probably the most groove driven ones on the LP, but make no mistake, they are devastatingly heavy. The album starts off strong with one of Godflesh’s most well known tunes, “Like Rats,” which displays a ferocious groove with a noisy bridge section. Following that, we get “Christbait Rising,” which is arguably the grooviest track on the record, taking an old school hip hop influence on the main beat. As a side note, whenever people talk about how metal and hip-hop shouldn’t mix, I feel this track proves that sentiment wrong. Thankfully, Godflesh’s hip-hop influence is strictly seen in the beats, and there are no attempts at rapping. The vocals are aggressively shouted and drenched in reverb, which is as far as the Napalm Death connection goes in terms of the music.

The next five tracks are where things start to get cold and induce feelings of anxiety, isolation, and defeat. These tracks were recorded with a second guitarist, Paul Neville, who was also a member of Fall of Because with Broadrick and Green. In fact, the tracks “Mighty Trust Crusher,” “Devastator,” and “Life is Easy” can be traced back to this early incarnation of Godflesh. These tracks in particular have an approach that could be compared to early Swans. Due to the dual guitar attack of Broadrick and Neville, there’s emphasis on discordant lead work that bands like Pitchshifter would incorporate into their interpretation of industrial metal. The final track of this part of the album, “Locust Furnace,” is an excellent display of desolation and wraps things up nicely.

As I mentioned before, the CD has an additional third session worth of tracks from an unreleased EP known as “Tiny Tears.” These tracks were recorded between the recording of this LP and their debut eponymous EP. They are a little more riff based, just like the Godflesh EP is, and have more in common with the first side of the album (which may also have to do with the absence of Neville on these tracks as well). “Wound” is the standout track from this part of the CD, as it’s main riff is heavy enough to bring down a city block’s worth of buildings.

“Streetcleaner” makes one thing clear: Godflesh was carving a path for many industrial acts to follow, as well as quite the precursor to the rest of the band’s career. Later in their discography, Godflesh experimented with quite a variety of sounds outside of metal, including some more dance oriented EBM/trip-hop/etc sounds. None of that is really found here, as guitar/bass/drum machine is the main driving force here. There is a reason this album is seen as a classic, and anyone who’s wanting to hear proper industrial metal needs to have this in their collection.

You breed... like rats! - 96%

Hellish_Torture, July 5th, 2014

Industrial metal has always been a misunderstood genre to most metalheads. When someone talks about “industrial metal”, people usually think about Rammstein, Marilyn Manson or stuff like that. The metal community tends to ignore what can be found beyond those famous names, mostly because of prejudice (Rammstein and Marilyn Manson don’t make exactly a good impression to everyone). Nevertheless, if you look deeper into this genre, you’ll find some unbelievable stuff. A world of sick music you never imagined the existence. Bands like Ministry, Fear Factory, White Zombie, Strapping Young Lad, Die Krupps, Misery Loves Co., Pitchshifter, Head of David and... Godflesh. The latter, in my opinion, is one of the most overlooked metal bands ever, as well as the greatest expression of what industrial metal is.

Justin Broadrick is one of the greatest innovators in metal music: he has been part of history more than one time. First, he was one of the creators of grindcore, playing guitars in Napalm Death in their early years and taking part in the recording of the side A of “Scum”. Then, something changed: he got sick of the philosophy of “playing as fast as you can” and decided to join Head of David, contributing to forge the industrial metal genre with albums like “LP” and “Dustbowl”. When “LP” came out, Ministry’s most recent record was “Twitch”, and maybe “The Land of Rape and Honey” wasn’t even a dream in Jourgensen’s drunk head, just saying. In those years, Broadrick started with two friends another musical project, called Fall of Because, which would have become Godflesh.

Godflesh has been a huge influence on the whole metal scene: first of all, they contributed to design the coordinates of industrial metal, generating also a little current of “worship” bands like Dead World or early Pitchshifter; they also influenced the whole post-metal current (Neurosis and Isis make their thanks) and many other famous bands, from Faith No More to Slipknot, from Korn to Metallica (yeah, Metallica... shame that they were influenced by Godflesh in some of their worst albums). By the way... do you like Fear Factory? Well, Godflesh has been a huge influence on them. But, while Fear Factory develop a more “calculated” and “cybernetic” sound, Godflesh is darker, gloomier... SICKER. Their discography is full of decadent masterpieces, each of which expresses in a slightly different way the sickest and most disturbing side of human nature. A puzzle of bleakness and decadence. And “Streetcleaner” is undoubtedly the sickest of all pieces.

Yes, this album came out in 1989, and Earache produced it. Image to browse an Earache catalog of those times, and, between all those grind and death metal albums (Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Entombed... and consider that, in the same month, Carcass’ “Symphonies of Sickness” was coming out too), you find this unusual cover with title and band name wrote in a “normal” font instead of those typical “twisted” death metal logos, and an enigmatic photo instead of an awesome artwork created by Dan Seagrave or a typical grindcore “collage-artwork”. Kinda weird you say? Try to listen to have something weirder. Justin Broadrick on vocals, guitars and drum machine and G.C. Green on bass (and, well, Paul Neville on guitars only on the last four tracks) created an incredible opus of nihilistic mayhem. Not the kind of “mayhem” you’d expect: this is not the death/grind stuff that Earache used to release in those days; this is not the “blast-beat without end” formula of Napalm Death; this is not the “evil and/or disgusting riff-fest” of Morbid Angel or Carcass; this is just pure minimalism, in the vein of industrial music, but brought to a new level of deflagration. Broadrick got bored of playing fast (which was the prevailing trend in those days) and did the perfect opposite thing: playing veeeery slow. Here, a withered and insensitive drum machine sets the pace; expect no electronic fuzzes, dance beats or experimental stuff (I repeat, this is just pure dry minimalism!), but you will hear a lot of interesting beats (“Pulp” comes instantly to mind) that will keep high your interest, even if they’re repeated cyclically over and over for the whole song. These beats are also highly influenced by hip-hop music (a shocking thing to hear for those times, but actually Justin Broadrick has always been a hip-hop fan). The riffs are very simplistic and strongly doom-oriented (I suppose this album contributed to set the standards for sludge riffing, too), they’re very bass-driven (yes, the bass is even almost more important than guitars here!) and manage to create a gloomy and messy atmosphere. Justin’s voice isn’t exactly a death metal growl, it’s just a very pissed off grunt that fits very well with the minimalistic lyrics. His vocals are highly reverberated in the mix, maybe to accentuate the heaviness of each word.

But it’s useless to list schematically all the characteristics of this album: you must EXPLORE it in its entirety, also reading the shocking lyrics, to get its true nature. Well, I’ll avoid to make a boring track-by-track, but I feel obliged with my readers to guide them through the album, telling its whole course and listing at least the highlights in rigorous order, because this album is nothing but a fucking storyboard. So, get ready for the first track, “Like Rats”, a real manifest of hatred for humanity displayed in these few words, repeated until nausea:

“You breed, like rats,
you breed, like rats!
Stylized, deformity,
don’t look back,
you were dead from the beginning!”


The mix of all the elements I mentioned before is just perfect: dry drum-machine beats, grunting vocals and heavy, gloomy, simplistic riffing. And if you think that “simplistic” means necessarily “inconsistent”, prepare to be blown away by the intensity and the incisiveness of the “inconsistent” riff of the next track, “Christbait Rising”. Don’t say I didn’t aware you. And, again, let’s give a look to the sick lyrics:

“Don’t hold me back, this is my own hell!
Don’t hold me back, this is my own hell!
Christbait, slugbait, rise and bring you down!
Christbait slugbait, in your own mind!”


Well, I suppose this guy doesn’t like religion (and how could I disagree?). I don’t know why, but the part where the “Don’t hold me back” verse comes in is one of the most bloodcurdling things I’ve ever heard. By the way, I’ve said just now that Justin is a hip-hop fan, and well, the “Christbait Rising” beat is nothing but a tribute to an Eric B. & Rakim song (“Microphone Fiend”).

The album proceeds in the same way in the following tracks, going into darker and darker territories. Then, on “Head Dirt”, time stops suddenly: we get thrown away in a bunch of experimental, abstract and enigmatic guitar dissonances (in a “noise-rock/post-punk” vein); this will be the main recipe of the music also on the following two tracks. I guess this will be the longest quarter of an hour (circa) you’ll ever live, hypnotized by those strange sounds, while Justin continues to bark in the microphone that there has to be someone killed (maybe, he refers to his listeners). By the way, this “guitar dissonances” custom will be adopted by many metal bands in the future (just listen to some Korn, Machine Head or Slipknot tracks to notice it immediately).

Then, something moves again: the gloomy, almost “suffering” bass sound announces the most pessimistic song of this album: “Life is Easy”. A torturing, asphyxiating doom march, where some occasional dissonances come and go hurting your ears right when you don’t expect it (especially if you’re using headphones), while Broadrick gives all himself to make you feel as bad as humanly possible, with his vocals (more tortured and deformed than ever) and his 100% nihilistic lyrics.

But the torture is never enough; so, the title-track comes in to multiply the suffering. After a disturbing sample, another excruciating doom/sludge march begins, this time just over the corpses of those who died in the previous track (maybe to “clean the street”?) and an effected “alien” voice announces the death of humanity. And, finally, human race is thrown away in the “Locust Furnace”, and the album ends between Justin’s tortured shouts.

This isn’t just a simple album: this is the ultimate industrial manifest. Misanthropy, decadence and hatred for human race, a race on its knees because of religion, mind control, slavery and greed. Industrial means “machines”, as someone said in a review before mine, and well, the whole world is just a big machine where gears don’t fit together correctly; this is what this album tries to express in its obsessive minimalism. Yes, I said “obsessive minimalism”, because in this case there’s absolutely no need to be “complex” or “sound thin and precise” to be awesome.

“Streetcleaner” is the absolute peak of industrial metal. My rating doesn’t go beyond 96 just because I slightly prefer some other subgenres and bands over industrial (principally thrash, death, black and some classic heavy), but, I repeat, this is the peak of the subgenre we’re speaking about, which I still consider one of the most underrated metal subgenres ever.

Effortless - 92%

thedevilyouknow, August 18th, 2013

It's hard to believe that it's been almost 25 years since the release of 'Streetcleaner'. Although it sounds dated to a certain extent, it still is very relevant today. Let's take a journey back to 1989. At this time the best days of thrash were behind us and death metal was just starting it's climb up the metal ladder. Industrial metal was in it's infant stages and although not comparable, Ministry was the only other notable band in this fresh new genre. Where Ministry had a faster more riff oriented and beat driven sound, Godflesh is slower, darker and more disturbing.

'Streetcleaner is the first full length LP from the mighty Godflesh and their best. Right from the opening track "Like Rats" the low end bass, which sounds more like a piece of heavy machinery rather than a musical instrument, forces the listener into submission. When the first vocal line comes out of Broadrick's mouth "you breed, like rats" it becomes abundantly clear that it is time to hold on tight and enjoy the ride. This down tuned bass sound is complimented by the machine like sound of the drums, which are in fact a machine. This serves as a perfect backdrop for the dissonant guitar chords that make this album some of the coldest sounding music I've ever heard. This cold sound is furthered by their minimalist approach. Sometimes less is more folks. 'Streetcleaner' peaks with the droning, noise filled, sample soaked bliss of "Devastator", a nightmarish song that ends repeating the words "there has to be someone killed." This seamlessly flows into "Mighty Trust Krusher", the albums best track. This song begins with a single note ringing out like a single brush stroke on a canvas that you can already tell will be filled with some ominous vision of despair. As it builds it doesn't disappoint with the cries of "effortless" rolling of the tongue of Broadrick as if to remind you how easily someone can break your trust. Again the overall feeling here is cold and bleak in the truest sense. "Locust Furnace" is another track that is placed precisely where it should be. The slow, brooding feel of this song feels like the end of the album, day, your life, the world. A perfect ending to a near perfect album.

After over two decades it is hard to deny the importance this album has on defining the industrial metal genre. It is quite obvious of the influence Godflesh and specifically 'Streetcleaner' has had on the metal world, Blut Aus Nord being the best example. This is industrial music at its very best. It makes you feel as if you are in a factory listening to sound of several different types of machines, and these machines are grinding, scraping and hammering at your soul.

You were dead from the beginning - 85%

autothrall, April 9th, 2010

The irony is that the world is still not ready for the blend of sludge spewing industrial destruction Justin Broadrick, Ben Green and Paul Neville were cranking out 20 years ago. Having emerged among the diverse landscape of Earache pioneers like Carcass, Bolt Thrower, and Napalm Death, they were one of the first of these bands to make some headway into the filthy crossover masses of rivet heads, metallions and grinders. Sophomore album Streetcleaner remains my clear favorite of their recorded output, yet, like most of their material, it doesn't fully stand the test of time. Dulled expectations and accolades aside, it is still quite a damn impressive effort.

You don't have to listen very far to figure out why. Streetcleaner introduces itself through the best pair of Godflesh songs you'll ever hear, repetetive and frightening anthems with a lyrical bludgeoning so primal and perfect that you are forever branded. It all begins with a simple poem:

'You breed
Like rats
Stylized
Deformity'

Not to be undone, second track "Christbait Rising" is likewise a hypnotic foray into the shuffle of primitive electronic drums, fudging bass lines and droning guitars. The vocals echo forth in a tribal pattern of pain dynamics. The rest of the album has its work cut out for it, and while it largely succeeds, the remainder of its tracks don't quite live up to the first two. Still, you have the back alley desolation of "Locust Furnace", the sparsely percussive and frightening "Mighty Trust Krusher", and the plodding sewer sludge of "Life is Easy". There was a slight resemblance in disposition towards Americans Prong at this stage, another band who also took their inspiration from the rot and ennui of the urban labyrinth.

Streetcleaner still sounds pretty good to this day, and you can hear the major influence the album had on the sludge/drone scene which started gaining some mileage in the 21st century. This is a dark and disturbing work, the band would save their silver linings (i.e. melodies) for later efforts, which increasingly swerved away from this early direction. Whether you're longing for that Earache records nostalgia or just want a pretty 'eavy trip, the album should suit you.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

The Machine - 96%

The_Evil_Hat, May 7th, 2009

I was looking forward to this album for a while. I’d heard it was industrial, but at the time that name only made me think of Strapping Young Lad. I was also told that they were incredibly heavy. I thought that was a good sign, but I was still unconvinced as to just how crushing the album would turn out to be. I was convinced that the brutal death metal I’d been listening to quite a bit of would be heavier, for instance. Well, the first thing I learned when I put in Streetcleaner is just what industrial is, and just how heavy this music is. I was expecting heaviness in a Dying Fetus like raging sense. What I got was the opposite.

Death metal is about fury, about fighting, when it comes to emotion. There’s an enemy, or some form of injustice, or some monster, or simply acts of perversity. The genre is driven by passion. Black metal is quite similar. It’s often described as cold, but I must confess that I’ve never really gotten that. Oh, some black metal is undoubtedly cold. But I’ve also often heard it linked to being organic, and that seems to clash with the prior description quite fiercely. Even the most nihilistic of black metal says “I don’t believe.” Industrial takes out the “I and it takes out the aspect of belief and replaces it with stark certainty.

Industrial represents something you can’t rage against. It’s the machine that we’ve all heard about. This isn’t punk, we’re not fighting it. This isn’t death or black metal; we’re not celebrating the darkness of it or trying to combat its influences. No, this is simply showing the mechanical nature of it. It will grind you down. It is vast and unstoppable, and the thing is, it doesn’t care. You can scream at it and try and war against it all you want – it won’t do anything. The machine won’t even notice. You’re beneath its contempt. It doesn’t even know you exist. It’s passing by, grinding you down to nothing as it does so, and your very existence is utterly meaningless in the grand scheme of things. It’s saying that you’re worthless, but not as a statement, instead as a cold, hard, declaration of fact.

The music echoes this. The drumming is one of the key aspects of the album. It’s a drum machine, and it sounds utterly and completely artificial. It couldn’t sound less human if it was a truly randomized pattern. The bass generally follows the drums, but, as opposed to in quite a bit of metal, is actually one of the key instruments here and often leads the riffs. The guitars alternate between two different styles. The majority of the riffs are incredibly low and match up lockstep with the bass and drums, to create a single rhythmic entity. The other aspect consists of the pinch harmonics, the albums only concession to melody. They skirt the top of the sonic space, screeching and squelching to add color and clash wonderfully with every other element of the music. The vocals complete the picture. They primarily consist of screams drenched in effects, and are stunningly rare. The lyrics are frequently only a phrase or two of words, repeated throughout the song. Their bleak minimalism is stunning, such as in the iconic Like Rats: you breed, like rats/breeding, stylized, deformity, don’t look back/you breed, like rats/breeding, fade out, lies, deformity/ you breed, like rats/ stylized, deformity, don’t look back, you were dead from the beginning… (note: I took out the various repeats) Believe it or not, that’s actually one of the wordier songs. The production is, as is fitting, completely clear but filled with reverb, lingering notes, and dissonance. Despite all this, the music is fairly catchy...in the way that a building falling on you is catchy, at least.

Really, I want to give this album a hundred. It’s one of my personal favorites, and turned me onto an entire genre of music. But it’s not just sentimental value or influence. No, this actually comes close to deserving it. I can confidently say that half the tracks on here are essentially perfect.

The album opens with the previously mentioned Like Rats. When most people hear Godflesh, they think this song. Whether because it’s the first on the album or because it’s amazing I can’t say, but it deserves the recognition. It opens with building feedback before exploding with a mechanical and precise bass and drum dirge. The following track, Christbait Rising, is just as stunning. It’s quite possibly the heaviest cut on here. The next song, Pulp, starts with a riff punctuated by frequent snare barrages, and progresses into a start, bleak and merciless monster like the first three songs.

After this the album begins to slide a little. Dreams Long Dead and Head Dirt are both goods songs, don’t get me wrong. The problem is, they’re not GREAT songs. On most albums they’d be stand outs. Here they’re just okay. If we skip ahead a bit, I’d like to add Life is Easy to this category. It’s generally successful, with some of the best lyrics on the album (Life is money/life is death) and good vocal delivery, complemented with strong, if primarily supporting, riffing. The only problem is that it seems a bit too laid back for its own good. Still, the quality is still incredibly high at this point, and I’d still be able to see ‘this album’s flawless’ with complete honesty…

…and then we reach the middle of the album (which, I suppose, I shouldn’t call the middle as it’s actually towards the end. I just always think of it that way for some reason, perhaps because it falls between the two superior sections which fly by in an instant.) Devestator starts out with a fairly interesting beginning, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. It feels like an intro throughout, with its only claim to fame being the samples of people fighting and arguing on top, which do little to help and instead feel overdramatic at times. It keeps building to something, but that something never comes and I’m always left feeling under whelmed when this track ends. Mighty Trust Krusher has a ton of potential, but once again fails to really utilize it. The first portion is great, and features one of the most grotesquely melodic uses of harmonics that I’ve ever heard. After that it continues to build, the occasionally melodic vocals conflict with the minimalistic riffing and it’s all heading towards a conclusion, or so you think. Once it reaches the supposed conclusion, however, it just kind of fiddles out, and when you realize that you’re only half way done (and if you’ve heard it before and realize you’re in for a weaker version of the first half) you’ll always be quite disappointed.

The album returns to full power with the last two tracks. Streetcleaner opens with the testimony of a serial killer, and while I found the effects on the repeats a bit comical as opposed to whatever they were supposed to be, it’s still not a bad beginning. Once the track begins it’s quite possibly my favorite song on the album. The strongest moment on the album is undoubtedly “We all die!” followed by an incredibly crushing riff, and on an album like this, having one ‘best moment’ is a pretty incredible thing. Locust Furnace is a great closer. The riffing is great, and the vocals steadily build in intensity as the title is repeated until Broaderick is bellowing “LOCUST…FURNACE!” so loud that you’re confident you could hear him at a live show without a microphone.

Locust Furnace’s great ending potential is somewhat spoiled if you have the bonus track version, although it’s hard to complain about four more songs. These evidently come from the Tiny Tears EP that was never released. They’re not jaw dropping like the preceding album, but they’re quite solid industrial metal, which is for the most part slightly more energetic and up beat than the preceding album, although, to be fair, watching a movie compilation of live suicides would probably be fairly cheery after cuts like Streetcleaner. If rated on their own, i'd say that these songs would probably earn a low 90, to give you some idea of their quality.

Rating this was a bitch. I've always felt that an album has to be flawless to get above a 90, and this one isn't. at the same time, i felt that it was far too strong to merely get an eighties score. so, here we are.

This is the definition of a legendary album. It inspired an entire genre (okay, okay, it was one of the inspirations, but come on) and excels perfectly at what it’s trying to do. Is it perfect? Not quite. Is it damn close? Hell yes. Even the weakest tracks are classics in their own right and only pale in comparison to the godlike preceding and following tracks. This is one of the bleakest and most crushing albums I’ve ever heard, and I’d highly recommend it to any fan of industrial or any metalheads who think they’ve heard heavy music before.

Most direct expression of Godflesh's early vision - 88%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, October 18th, 2007

This debut album by the UK band Godflesh sure pulls no punches. Hard to believe that nearly 18 years have passed since the album was released yet the music has dated very little and its concerns (psychological manipulation through religion, loathing for a society that produces unthinking conformist people who breed carbon copies of themselves without questioning why they should have families in the first place, alienation, self-doubt / self-questioning and serial killers) are still relevant today. The basic template for Godflesh's music - hard-hitting, often pounding drum machine beats and rhythms, downtuned bass lines that often follow the percussion closely and noisy squalling guitar riffs, all very sharp and precise in delivery to give a martial effect and emphasise the band's uncompromising no-nonsense attitude, anger and aggression ready to erupt but held on an extremely tight leash - was established bere on "Streetcleaner".

Early tracks like "Like Rats" and "Christbait Rising" are especially bleak and unrelenting with repeating riffs and rhythms and the misanthropic lyrics repeating over and over. You get the sense of an anger too deep and intense to express itself fluently in a language we understand and which can only get its message across in a compulsive stutter. "Pulp" has an anguished and psychotic feel with precise choking staccato beats and howling vocals that belie the lyrics which speak of freedom and choice.

The music crunches along though due to the limited sonic range of the music listeners' attention can start to flag: pretty much every song here features tough hard beats, harsh squealing guitar drones and angry spat-out lyrics relying on repetition and a crisp technical approach to drive the message home. Come "Devastator / Might Trust Krusher" (listed as one song on my very old copy of the album) and we get a jumble of spoken word recordings that might have been taken off a typical busy urban street, over a soundtrack of a looping rhythm, screeching guitar and occasional sung vocals ("Devastator") followed by an evil sibling that proves that the one addiction to beat all addictions (to drink, drugs, whatever) is trusting in a parent figure or parent substitute ("Mighty Trust Krusher").

The title track is notable for its sampled intro of a serial killer explaining why he committed the crimes he did and for the treated vocals which come over as deep, inhuman and robotic. Rhythms here are more varied than on other tracks with some of the programmed drumming reaching quite fast speeds. Pretty obvious here that in calling the track and the album "Streetcleaner", Godflesh wasn't thinking of portable leaf-blowing machines used by local council workers! This strong song gives way to "Locust Furnace" which is a really bleak piece with apocalyptic imagery in the lyrics: a fitting conclusion to an album whose premise is that humanity isn't as intelligent as its members think themselves and which has reached a dead end in its culture and institutions.

Generally the album is not that varied and can get monotonous with the constant emphasis on a few elements in all songs. The absolutely crushing, pile-driving aspect was to come later on "Slavestate" with additional industrial and techno music influences and later albums still introduced a more emotionally complex and vulnerable outlook plus a spiritual quest. "Streetcleaner" offers Godflesh at their most direct, it's the clearest, bleakest and most pessimistic expression of the band's vision and aims. If you are after definitive Godflesh music, you probably should start with "Streetcleaner" and work your way through the band's first few albums at least. I stopped buying Godflesh albums after "Songs of Love and Hate" when my instincts told me that the Techno Animal and The Sidewinder albums I was also buying suggested that Godlflesh main man Justin Broadrick was getting more involved creatively in these side projects to the extent that they were sidelining Godflesh.

I should mention too that for album covers, you can't beat "Streetcleaner": you have this wonderfully vivid scene of various crucified figures silhouetted against a background of raining molten golden lava and the scene itself almost melting due to the intense heat - a classic album cover.

Nihilistic Fury. - 90%

caspian, September 20th, 2006

Before I got this album, the only J.K Broadrick stuff I had was a few random remixes and the Jesu albums. So when reading all the reviews about this album, the general response was "I doubt it's really that unrelenting." Because while Jesu was extremely heavy, it was gentle in a super warm droney sort of way.

The doubts of this album's heaviness were quickly dispelled though, as soon as the first track came on. While some people may have some doubts, because it's labelled Industrial, this is industrial at its bleakest, heaviest and most metal. The drums sound completely artificial (They use a drum machine, I know, but it sounds more artificial then most drum machines.. If that makes sense?) the bass is very loud in the mix, and the guitars play a combination of squally harmonic noise and minimalist riffing with an unmistakeable evil touch. The vocals are very effects treated, and Broadrick generally only writes a few lyrics for each song. The repetition makes each lyric all the more powerful and furious, like the awesome first song, with much of the lyrics containing the fairly unfriendly line "You Breed.. LIKE RATS!" over and over again.

This album can be summed up fairly simply: Heavy, mid paced industrial guitar riffs with super low bass that locks in perfectly with the drum machines, with some desperate, massive vocals roared by Broadrick. There's the occaisonal moments where thing will drop out, to give your ears some respite (The heavily treated guitar intro in Mighty Truck Krusher ) Still, as far as I can tell, Godflesh tried to write the heaviest, darkest industrial record they could, and they succeeded. The drums are huge and fit the sound so well.. Sometimes they're upfront, like the pulverising Pulp, sometimes they're a long way in the background, but for the most part, they are shattering and splintering eardrums. The guitars sound very heavy throughout the whole album, especcially in the superb Christbait Rising, and in the awesome Head Dirt. Whether they're playing super low riffs, or providing a backdrop for the bass and drums, the guitar demand to be noticed.

I would like to write a longer review, because this album is a classic, but there's not much else to say about this. Quite simply put, this is a masterpiece. Unrelenting, vicious, cold and bleak, with little melody or hope for you to hold onto. It's hard to believe that this is done by the same guy who's in Jesu. Whether you like Thrash, Black, Death or Doom.. You should enjoy this album. A superb slice of incredibly nihilistic, overwhelming industrial. Buy it!

A Piledriver Has Nothing On This Album - 90%

corviderrant, April 22nd, 2006

OOF!!! This album is easily one of the most lung-crushing, mind-melting, spine-compressing experiences I'd had at the time I bought it years ago and it still holds up very well.

The guitars alternate between thundering power chords that smash you to smithereens and ear-searing harmonics that scorch your remains to ashes, and the bass is a massive wall of fuzz that threatens to override the guitars at times. Scary thought, isn't it? Then JK Broadrick's hideous bellows come soaring in to scatter your ashes to the four winds over relentless machine beats that set the tone of your destruction in a perfectly metronomic way. Industrial? Oh yes, extremely so. Metal? As fuck, my man. Punk as fuck too, as Broadrick went totally the opposite direction than what was expected of him after his departure from Napalm Death years ago, and that is as punk as it gets. "Streetcleaner" is the perfect companion to a night of paranoid schizophrenia, wondering "Are they really out to get me or...?"

"Like Rats" with its hypnotic mantra "YOU BREED! LIKE RATS!!!" in a distorted roar or fury sets a tone of utter despair and frustration, as does "Christbait Rising", and the bass dominates that tune with its ugly fuzz and creepy thud. "Pulp" is one of my favorites here, a repetitive bass figure and drum machine roll underneath haunting guitar slash n' burn with anguished vocals building to a crescendo of hopelessness, yelling the song's title over and over until he (Broadrick) sounds as though he's dying. "Mighty Trust Krusher" is an ambient nightmare with cycling guitar harmonics and repetitive bass throb. These are the best of a great lot, on a positively bleak and merciless album that leaves the typical wannabe kult Black Metal bands in the dust in terms of sheer convincingness and reality.

If you want, stark, bleak, monochromatic, and brutally minimalist, not to mention harsh as hell, this is your album. Godflesh didn't really top this, unfortunately, and more's the pity, so get this one if you get one album of theirs, as this is what you call definitive. Definitive obliteration of the senses, that is.

Intense as Hell - 82%

HangThePope, February 10th, 2005

This album is a masterpiece fusion of electronica and metal and rightfully made Justin Broadrick a cult legend. If you reckon you've heard it all from metal this will make you think twice. It just has to be heard to be believed.

The album plays out sounding like a battle between Anger and Misery, the sounds wrestling with and overcoming each other and its all wrapped up in a cloth of beautifully crafted, cold and harsh, industrial textures all overseen by Broadrick. "Depressed Rage" is a good term to describe the vibe here. All of the songs here are just incredibly intense and dark.

Godflesh have had the tag "Grindcore" thrown at them over their existence but bizarrely it's pretty much the polar opposite. Sure the hardcore barking vocals and zero solos parallel Grind but this is slow, lumbering, frequently springing into a more intense, angry tempo but never to the ridiculous levels of lightning fast chaos Broadricks former bandmates, Napalm Death, ushered in. It's more "Sabbath dragged into the industrial age".

The first half of the disc is definitely the stronger with the stunning, Christbait Rising, Pulp and Head Dirt but the second half does have its moments and the last few tracks alter the hopelessly slow air of the previous tracks with some up tempo drumming. This was probably because they were tracks made later than the earlier tracks. They certainly lift the mood which probably makes the listening experience more interesting.

There isnt a great deal more to add except that its pretty much must hear for any metal fans and it should be easily lapped up by lovers of Doomy and sludgey metal. For me its one of the top 100 metal albums.

You always win with Godflesh. Their logo rules. Their album covers rule. Their album titles rule....and the music OWNS YOUR ASS. So go on...

Buy Or Die fuckpipes!!!!