Godflesh – Streetcleaner (1989) + 20th Anniversary Remaster

Where does one begin with a record that is as life changing for me as Streetcleaner? Sandwiched in somewhere between my obsessions with grindcore and early Swans, Streetcleaner took me to places I didn’t know exist. I’m trying to remember where I first heard this album. I think I downloaded it off some dodgy Russian mp3 site, after my sixth form teacher mentioned Godflesh multiple times in class. I liked it, but I didn’t really get it.

It wasn’t until a few years later that it all started to make sense. I couldn’t fathom how such seemingly simple combinations of guitars, bass and drum machines could create a sound that was suspended in a duality of being suffocating and catastrophically heavy on one hand, yet paint the aural equivalent of a shuddering, heaving industrial landscape on the other. Tracks like “Like Rats” and “Christbait Rising” were more direct and heavy, where the entire midsection of the record devolves into this pulsing mass of grinding noise and crushing atmospheres (after “Pulp” drives you into the ground, of course).

The title track, “Life Is Easy” and “Locust Furnace” are three of my favourite tracks of all time. I cannot fathom how much “Locust Furnace” blew me away when I first listened to it properly. Incredible stuff. The additional Tiny Tears tracks I’ve never been that fussed on, I’ll be honest. They always felt like an unnecessary afterthought to the record, and I always preferred my original 12” pressing of Streetcleaner over the repress (and even this remaster, as fucking great as it is) because it kept the record in its original format.

This hefty little pack that was released sometime in 2010 features a handful of Godflesh goodies for the die hard fan. We are treated to excessive linear notes, some which put Streetcleaner on a pedestal and offer a great historical insight, and others – by Broadrick himself – offer unique insights to some of the bonuses on offer. It is particularly awesome to hear original mixes for several tracks off Streetcleaner, as well as some of their live debuts from the same era.

Easily one of, if not (depending on the day of the week haha) my favourite, album of all time.