GODFLESH — Streetcleaner (review)

GODFLESH — Streetcleaner album cover Album · 1989 · Industrial Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
1/5 ·
SilentScream213
Sometimes when you listen to one of these acclaimed albums and don’t like them so much, you can still see what makes the album so great. You can recognize what other people see in it and write it off as just not being your thing. But sometimes, you might just be left mystified, wondering “What am I missing?”

Just before Streetcleaner, I had been listening to Peter Gabriel’s Passion, one of his most revered releases and a widely acclaimed New Age/World Music album. The album didn’t do anything for me, mostly because I’m not a fan of the style of music. However, I could still acknowledge the great compositions and brilliant atmospheres crafted in the soundscapes, and it was no mystery to me why it is so well liked.

Streetcleaner is a different case. I love metal. I love dark, misanthropic, heavy music. But listening to Streetcleaner, I struggle to find any appeal at all. The songs are all incredibly simple, and it sounds much less like a performance and much more like each member came up with one loop and just had it repeat for 5 minutes. There’s nothing innately wrong with this, but if you’re gonna repeat something for so long, at least make it good. The riffs are barely there; boring, slow, uninspired guitar that does little other than add a sludgy atmosphere, and ditto for the bass. The drum beats are equally boring and uninspired, and aside from some occasional addition of double bass, never do anything interesting. The vocals are sometimes there, and that’s all I can say about them.

The album is certainly dark, but the problem is that it is not active in achieving this. All the music is incredibly passive, and by that I mean there’s a lot of nothing going on aside from sounding heavy and dissonant, and it becomes the listener’s job to project any actual mood to it. The music doesn’t invoke anything on its own, but rather acts as a pool to collect such projected feelings. Unique at the time, and influential for everything that came after… but I’d say this is another case of influenced far surpassing the influencer.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
2 months ago
This is one of those albums i didn't like in the beginning. Godflesh constructed a new musical language really but after more than a few listens it gradually made sense. Now i love this one. It definitely evokes a mood for me!

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