Godflesh - Streetcleaner
This reissue of Godflesh's seminal debut full length is way overdue after the poor mastering job done on the original CD release, but finally mastermind Justin K Broadrick has given this most stunning of albums the finish it so badly needed. The devastating power has been renewed under the remastering process, the raw aggression and sheer nihilism of these anthems tears a black hole in the soul; the bass now thunders through the brain whilst the guitars swirl and squeal and pummel into submission. This is an industrial masterpiece, an album whose influence in so evident not only in its own genre (just look at Fear Factory for starters), but across the whole extreme metal spectrum for its brutality, songwriting and class.
The second disc is a motley collection of curios from the Godflesh past. First up are the original mixes of side one, whilst not hugely different, are hampered by a terrible drum sound. The two live tracks, a real treat for fans, sound phenomenal, and give rise to more than just a little jealousy from this quarter at hearing what I missed out on. The rehearsal tracks from 1989 are of horrific quality, but the 12 minute rendition of 'Pulp' in particular is a worthwhile and interesting addition, the mesmeric quality of the drums only enhanced the longer it continues. But perhaps the most surprising and intriguing find are two demos from the aborted Tiny Tears EPin which the overtly melodic quality that was lost in the final recordings come through with astounding clarity, and offer fresh insight to these oft-overlooked songs.
But no matter what is added here, it still comes down to those nine tracks that form the heart of Streetcleaner, and they now, at last, sound as good as they are.
In a word: essential.