View Full Version : Godflesh - Streetcleaner

09-16-2007, 11:47 PM


This album is a landmark in extreme metal. While fusions of industrial music and hard rock have found maintream acclaim through the pop sensibilities of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, Godflesh pretty much shatter any notion of what most Hot Topic kiddies would expect from a style with "industrial" in the title.

For those unfamiliar, Godflesh was formed by Justin Broadrick (guitar/vocals) and G.C. Greene (bass), two ex-members of the seminal Birmingham grindcore/death metal legends Napalm Death. While Napalm Death's modus operandi was to be the fastest brutal band in the world, Broadrick, dissatisfied with the grindcore style at this point, took the exact opposite ethos and crafted excruciating slow dirges.

Though they would later experiment more in electronica, dub, and even hip-hop, this album featured their original metal-oriented style with only live vocals, guitar, and bass, and a drum machine for the brutal, mechanical rhythm section. Because of his former associations with Napalm Death, some people considered this album to be related to the genres of grindcore or death metal, which it is almost certainly not. Stylistically, it merges the style of old school industrial pioneers like Throbbing Gristle and Whitehouse with that of noise rock and no-wave bands like Swans, Killing Joke, and Big Black. And of course, there's an undeniable Black Sabbath influence, like any good doom-laden metal band.

The sound then has been appropriately labeled "apocalyptic" by most listeners, featuring brutal mechanical rhythms, screeching guitars, electronically modulated vocals, and hypnotic repetitious songs structures.

1.) Like Rats (10/10) - excellent opening song, with a pounding beat and catchy refrain
2.) Christbait Rising (11/10) - Is this one of the most cold, depressing songs ever made? I could go on forever about how excellent this song is at capturing the soulless mechanized mood of this album. The drum beat is especially impressive, while the guitars and vocals terrifying.
3.) Pulp (8/10) - Based around a repetitious machine gun beat and guitar riffs. From this point on the album begins to descend into more abstract and hypnotic song structures, in contrast to the comparably catchy songwriting of the first two songs.
4.) Dream Long Dead (9/10) - another trance-inducing piece, based around a minimalistic 3-note riff and underlying groove, while Broadrick's vocals chime every other measure for a 3-word line.
5.) Head Dirt (10/10) - This is probably the most abstract, avant-garde song Godflesh ever crafted. It closes the first half of the album with a pulsing beat that breaks into an extremly discordant riff section at an off-kilter time signature. After two verses of this, the rest of the song descends into an ambience of buzzing guitars and minor chord notes.
6.) Devastator (9/10) - really the intro to "Mighty Trust Krusher", this layers sublte pounding rhythms overtop a cacophany of movie samples while Broadrick recites his verses as the pounding builds suspense.
7.) Mighty Trust Krusher (8/10) - Just as it seems Devastator is climaxing into an "all hell breaks loose" attack, this song begins with a lone guitar tone. The rest is an alternation between crushing, slow rhythms and a smoother beat.
8.) Life is Easy (10/10) - This song seems to be the most influenced by Black Sabbath and Swans. It's the slowest, but also the most melodic, with a subtle synth backing. Broadrick is positively cynical with lines such as "Life is money... profit is not".
9.) Streetcleaner (10/10) - After a creepy intro featuring an sample interview with a murderer, this song bursts the album back to life with with a crushing, yet almost danceable beat, similar to those of the first two tracks. The modulated vocals on this track are some of the most sinister on the album.
10.) Locust Furnace (10/10) - An excellent close to the album. After exploring the limits of sorrowful extremes earlier in the album, this sounds resolute and defeated, with a rather catchy chorus with a (you guessed it) pounding breakbeat.

This music is definately not for everyone. It's cold. It's depressing. It's cathartic. I'd recommend this for anyone who likes extreme music, anyone who wants to explore the alternative metal that eventually spawned much more radio oriented groups like Fear Factory or Korn, or anyone who has an interest in experimental or extreme beats.

All the reissues of this album contain bonus tracks from the Tiny Tears EP, which is a lot more ambient and less depressing than the album proper.

9th Warrior
07-12-2008, 02:40 PM
This is a really great album and i agree with most of what you said, but i prefer their self-titled EP to this.

07-17-2008, 05:02 PM
This is a really great album and i agree with most of what you said, but i prefer their self-titled EP to this.

Oh yes, I love their self-titled. Little more catchy and ambient, but still darker and more brutal than their post-Streetcleaner material.