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10 Game Changing Releases From Earache Records

An earache worth having!

Godflesh – Streetcleaner

Source // img13.nnm.ru

Source // img13.nnm.ru

When we first heard Godflesh’s seminal Streetcleaner – on a badly-dubbed cassette tape back in 1989 no less –  it opened our minds to a whole new palette of gloomy colours but also raised serious questions….a Metal band who used a drum machine? What heresy was this?

Justin Broderick, a Napalm Death veteran (that’s right, another one!), gave us soundscapes where guitars trilled over chugging riffs, digital drums rattled and thudded like a discontented machine and the pitched-shifted vocals conveyed a nightmare of disaffection and anger at an uncaring world. The title track in particular sounded like it came from the pits of someone’s own personal hell and has us questioning our sanity in the modern world.

The Industrial Metal sound was effectively defined on Streetcleaner and would earn Godflesh celebrity fans in the shape of Mike Patton and Glen Danzig but their impact didn’t end there. Imitation of their clanging percussive refrains became wholesale and eventually echoed all the way through to the mainstream; whether the masses realised it or not.

Pitchshifter – Desensitized

Source // cdn.discogs.com

Source // cdn.discogs.com

Al saw Pitchshifter for the first time at a Nottingham Rock and Reggae event, pegging them as a talented and ambitious band. He recalls good times working with them on their UK and US tours following the release of their second full length album – and first for Earache – Desensitized.

Pitchshifter’s debut EP for the label, Submit, took its cues from Godflesh’s Industrial Metal template but 1993’s Desensitised delivered complex beats and programming alongside the riff-mongering; perhaps as a result of Digby turning frontman Jonathan Clayton on to Techno music. The resultant mix of the organic spliced with the electronic delivered a game changer whose wake was to all but usher in the remix culture in Heavy Metal.

Desensitized remains a moment of inspired genre-hopping excellence. Their TV-smashing call to reject popular culture and the politics of modern democracy struck a chord in the mid-nineties as society threatened to flush itself down the crapper and Pitchshifter stood ready to provide the apocalyptic soundtrack.

About Stuart Bell (55 Articles)
I was born in 1975 with a pile of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple vinyl next to my cot. I ate off a sheet of ply-board propped up between two Marshall cabs and shortly after I learned to read and write I learned the E minor chord and the pentatonic scale. One day my Dad bought me Iron Maiden's first album. Metallica's Ride the Lightning followed. Then, things got serious. I have held almost every rank in the Army of Heavy Metal: Fan, drunk fan, roadie, guitarist, producer and label scout. My Wife knows what Mastodon's Crack The Skye is about and my child can play Breaking the Law on piano. Go figure.

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