The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time

The most headbangable records ever, from Metallica's Black Album to Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid'

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Godflesh, 'Streetcleaner' (1989)
100
64/100

64. Godflesh, 'Streetcleaner' (1989)

Officially terminating metal's historical aversion to instruments other than guitars and drums, Godflesh's abrasive samplers and thudding drum machine gave the rapidly evolving late-Eighties metal scene a titanic and revolutionary clobbering. Like guitarist-vocalist Justin Broadrick's prior band, Napalm Death, Godflesh drew inspiration from such caustic industrial cults as Young Gods, Big Black and New York City's nightmare-inducing Swans. Heavy metal's riffs, screams and guitar solos were all jettisoned to make room for punishing mechanical rhythms, percussive bass guitar and gritty monochromatic guitar scrapes. On the surface, there was almost nothing traditionally metal about Godflesh beyond the distorted guitars, yet they were a product of the same bleak Birmingham environs that had spawned Black Sabbath two decades earlier. "Godflesh was trying to communicate this sense of frustration," Broadrick told Trebuchet, "living in urban hell in the 70s in Birmingham. My own upbringing was pretty confused and chaotic … it was all part of the process that went into making that album." After pushing Godflesh to its logical extreme, Broadrick left the likes of Neurosis and Sunn O))) to carry on his expansive legacy as he softened his approach in the long-running post-metal project Jesu. I.C.

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