Side one recorded/mixed at Soundcheck in Birmingham, May—August 1989. Engineered by Paul Gault. Produced by Godflesh. Side two recorded/mixed at Square Dance in Derby, May 1989. Engineered by Rick Peet. Produced by Godflesh. Visuals Godflesh.
* Bonus tracks
Guitarist Justin Broadrick left pioneer grindcore metal band Napalm Death in 1987 to become drummer for the noise rock/stoner band Head of David (who, incidentally, reformed in 2009). He then went on to form Godflesh with his good friend GC Green, putting out first a self-titled EP, and then in 1989 this album, Streetcleaner.
This is one of my favourite albums, ever. It is also, without a doubt, the perfect album for writing code to. It has a steady, upbeat pace; its white noise is surprisingly relaxing; and best of all, it helps cut out all external noise and doesn’t itself distract. Perfect!
This is the album that really introduced me to industrial metal. For this is the to industrial metal as Slayer’s Reign in Blood is to thrash. It simply doesn’t get better than this.
I did actually own the t-shirt, back in the day.
Funnily enough, in the 24 years that I’ve been listening to this album, today is the first time that I’ve looked up the lyrics. Some I’ve been singing along to all this time: “You breed like rats” (from ‘Like Rats’); “Don’t hold me back, This is my own hell” (from ‘Christbait Rising’); “Corruption, In the goat herd / Flesh crumbles, In the real world” (from ‘Locust Furnace’). But I’ve never read them before written down. It’s not the picture of a happy world.
I remember my friend Max and I sitting discussing the lyrics and song titles. What, or who, was the streetcleaner? A man who cleans the streets… of people… with a gun? Does the fiery orange cover suggest some kind of global nuclear destruction? Is this simply about humanity itself (“Don’t look back / You were dead from the beginning”), slowly killing ourselves through our own ignorant actions:
What do you care?
—’Life is easy’
This is one of my perfect albums. I’ve owned it on cassette. I’ve owned and worn the t-shirt. I now have it on CD. Twice. If you haven’t listened to it, drop what you’re doing and listen to it below.
Review score: 100%