Review by Brian on November 23, 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.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.9 out of 10