Sunday, January 31, 2010
Question: Congrats on signing Wormrot, they are now my fave band. Are Earache getting back into grind, and will you be signing more such grindcore from Far East countries? From: email@example.com
Answer: Yes, glad you like them- WORMROT is hands down the most exciting grindcore band in the scene at the moment. First time I heard them it was one of those extremely rare "Aaaaargh" moments, the band had that scarce commodity of being extremely fast but controlled and tight in the execution of the songs.Also they had an extra energy and zip to the playing which raises them way above the average grind band, in my opinion.
Earache had a lot to do with the birth of the grindcore genre, I was there in the studio during the recording of Scum, Reek, FETO, Extreme Conditions, and many more of what are now referred to as the classics of the genre.Those bands were'nt playing grind to forge a career, or be ironic, the intention was to bury the torpid Rock and Indie scenes in an avalanche of noise. My role was mostly sitting in the control booth, urging the bands to "play it heavier", "try it faster","make it noisier" etc.That, and write the cheque at the end of the session to secure the tapes.
Having been involved in the blueprints for the defining albums of the genre, it sort of had the unwanted effect of clouding my judgement of the pack of bands following in their wake. For many years, nothing much grabbed me. To my mind, hardly any new bands have that sense of purpose or urgency that the originals had. Too many bands nowadays pick up instruments and play grindcore as a career-choice - playing identikit noise is perfect fodder for the unskilled musician, I'm sure technological plug ins and presets must exist to help budding grinders get that 'grind" sound nowadays. Everyone has the sound, but no one has the "feeling'.
The best grind bands teeter on the ragged edge of the envelope- walking the line between uncontrolled chaos and precision attack- its very tough to pull this off, but Wormrot do it spectacularly, in my opinion, as Insect Warfare did before.
In actual fact, the first time I heard the band was from a 2009 downloadable sampler album made available courtesy of one of my fave blogs,Invisible Oranges. It was the xmas break and I needed a fix of new stuff to listen to, so grabbed the free sampler loaded it into Itunes, and proceeded to crank it. Mostly it was uninteresting, and I was at the point of turning it off, until the second-to-last song ( iTunes was playing in alphabetical order somehow) by Wormrot ripped through the air. Fucking hell, they were epic, the song "Born Stupid" was a killer. Wormrot gave me the same kind of feeling as Insect Warfare, by whom we had released the 'World Extermination' opus earlier in 2009, and had subsequently arranged a farewell UK tour for the band aswell.
A few days later - between Xmas and New year, I became aware that the sampler was compiled by a fella named Andrew Childers at Grind and Punishment blog, so turned to his blog for more information. He had just blogged his top 10 of the year, and Wormrot sat proudly atop his grindcore 2009 chart. This spurred me to download the album from mediafire and investigate them properly.
[NOTE: It tickles some bloggers that a Record label boss doesn't have any qualms about admitting to 'illegally downloading' an album. As it happens my company paid hard cash and bought the copyrights to the album from the band & label Scrotum Jus a month later - so I don't feel too bad about it really, and neither do they. Its a tricky subject, but I didn't file share or upload the album, which is quite a different proposition, legally speaking. Plus Earache left the original file where it was - meaning anyone can still grab it for FREE if you want it.]
Anyway, back to the story. It was a revelation to find out the band were from Singapore, and an even greater one to find that every single song on the Singapore-only released debut CD "Abuse" was amazing, there were no filler tracks at all. Having the audacity to play a Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover marked them down as not afraid to defy convention. I emailed the band same day to make contact.
Luckily the band and label got on great right away, they were impressed by our grind credentials,while we were impressed by their ambition, hard work ethic, and willingness to put Singapore and Asian grindcore in the global map.
In record time- about 2 weeks- a deal had been struck to sign the band. The plan is to re-issue the Abuse CD with bonuses, and then more albums to follow. The band will embark on a worldwide touring trek to promote it.It's a fair bet if you are a fan of grind, WORMROT will play near you in 2010, so come out and support the best new band in grindcore!!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Question: I was just reading a response to a question about downloads and the future of the recording industry, when a thought occured to me. In the past, (in this very forum), I have inquired about the possibility of Earache reissuing some of the more obscure pieces from the back catalouge, bands like Old Lady Drivers, Intense Degree, Filthy Christians, Sore Throat, ect. The response was always a "NO", based on the limited interest in those bands the first time around, and, obviously, the fact that every reissue bumps a new release by a deserving contemparary band. All this is understandable, but what about making some of these recordings available via download through the website? They would not necessarily have to be free....I bid on a copy of the Sore Throat CD with the 2 Earache LP's on it but had to back out after the price went over the $100 mark. I would GLADLY pay $10 or $15 just to hear the music! Of course, I can always go to a torrent site...but then I get no cover/lyrics/notes/ect. Just a thought...let me know what you think!! From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Answer: Yeah I get asked all the time on this blog about the most obscure titles from the Earache back catalog, and why we dont re-issue them. As you say, its usually because the bands were fairly small and did not sell well at the time of release, so never even made it on CD at the time, and then slowly fell off our radar. In a roundabout way its this obscurity which has made those bands sought after by fans, and highly collectable now. $100 for a Sore Throat Cd is insane, thats more than it cost to record the damn thing!. Ironic, don'tcha think?
Where you need to head for is Cyclone Empire website, in Germany.They are a distro and small label, and also specialise in out of print classics. They spotted the demand for these obscure titles and convinced us to print 500 of Filthy Christians, Confessor and Sore Throat, which they will exclusively sell at reasonable prices, not stupid ebay collector prices. We just have to find the bloody master tapes first tho, so some are not advertised yet, but will be in time.
Find them here: Cyclone Empire
A little-known fact is that the cover of Filthy Christians album is the infamous photo of the assassinated Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme who was shot and killed in 1986, while out walking in the city centre of Stockholm. This national tragedy marked the end of innocence in Swedish politics, and Scandinavian society in general. His murder was never solved. The gruesome death picture is impossible to find anywhere online, Filthy Christians chose to immortalise the event on their album cover.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Question: Since its been a few years in i thought id ask this. what do you think the attitude towards the new wave of thrash has been from the old guard? ive noticed that their main champions of the old guard have been Robert Caggiano of anthrax and also scott who was in stampin ground, however im guessing this is because both are producers and so have regular contact with new bands all the time, also from rob's point of view at 33 he's actually the same age as some of the guys in the new wave of thrash bands. im just curious as to what you have noticed from a label's point of view. From:
Answer: Short answer is- extremely supportive. Thrash, young or old, is a genuine community. For proof look at the amazing level of support given by the veteran acts to the Mike Alexander (RIP)auction. Slayer invited Muni Waste onto their recent December UK tour.It was a great honor, as Kerry King has been very public in his admiration of the new Thrash bands, but Muni had to decline, as they were already committed to touring USA. Likewise Rob Flynn of Machine Head invited Evile onto next months (Feb 2010) Euro tour, but again they had to politely decline as they had their own headline tour going on.
This blog has been writing about New Wave of Thrash bands since mid- 2006 when the scene barely even warranted a blip on anybody's radar. Municipal Waste had a couple of records out but bands like Warbringer, Evile, SSS, Bonded By Blood, Gama Bomb & Violator were still touting demos, or self-released CDs.
In January 2008 Earache released the Thrashing Like A Maniac compilation, which was our attempt to showcase the upcoming bands, because I was fascinated by the youthfulness and energy of this new set of mostly teenaged or early 20 yr old bands who were influenced by the retro sounds of the 80's thrash scene, and wanted to recreate the original style for the modern day.
I also admired the guts of these bands because to actually get up on stage and play Thrash in bars and small clubs to an audience mostly unprepared for it, took an enormous amount of self-belief. Early on, Evile were once a last minute addition to the billing of a festival of local Nike-wearing Emo/screamo bands in Bradford.Playing unannounced they endured a hostile reception, the crowd- of about 8 people- were mocking the "dated" sounds, giving them the finger from close quarters. Charged up, they played through a totally ripping set, sporadic headbanging had even broken out by the end of it. They simply had to perform to impress the watching Flemming Rasmussen - who had flown over to check out the band prior to recording their debut.
Now as we enter 2010, its a different picture. Many of the new schoolers have albums out, and a few just released album number 2 in recent months, most of them are forging careers in their own right. A whole glut of Thrash-y albums on other labels have been released in the last 12 months.Even the most dismissive of pundits must admit now that a thriving scene is gradually taking shape.Thrash is a sought-after tag now, even mid-tempo Death/Black metal bands are getting dubbed "Thrash" by confused journalists, simply on account of having occasional 'thrash' tempos in songs.
You asked about the opinions of the Thrash veterans to all this - I'm glad to report, its very very healthy, many of them look on approvingly. In fact its more like a mutual back-slapping/appreciation-fest. Many of the old guard noticed quite quickly what was going, and instantly took a very close interest in the new bands. I guess they were fascinated by this new generation of young 'uns, half their age, who have revived and re-activated what was, lets face it, aside from the 'Big Four', an almost stagnant scene. The new bands breathed new life into Thrash, and in many ways have in turn re-energised the old guard into making return-to-form albums aswell.Like zombies, they really did bring the old-stagers back from the dead. How else do you explain the difference between St.Anger and Death Magnetic?
Many of the veteran thrashers go out of their way to support the new bands. Scott Atkins (ex-Stampin Ground) was maybe the first one to get exposed to the new acts,as a procession of newbie young Thrash bands - Gama Bomb, Mutant, entered his Grindstone studios, and emerged as polished acts, boasting world class productions to their name.
First off the blocks with a genuine helping hand was probably Dave from Gwar. His band kindly took Municipal Waste out on a full US tour early on, which exposed the band to more people and boosted their profile no end. Gary Holt from Exodus took out Evile for a full EU tour, the two bands got on famously (see pic top).
The veteran German bands have offered amazing support - Kreator took Municipal Waste out on a US tour, and Eviles first ever USA touring stint will be as Kreator support in March 2010, closely followed by Overkill tour of US aswell.
Schmier from Destruction enlisted Ol Drake as stand-in for a festival appearance, which I think clearly shows the level of admiration between the old and new schools.
Perhaps most famously, a couple of years ago Megadeth took Evile out on a full EU tour and this generous act boosted the bands profile across Europe enough for the band to headline out there, with Warbringer, right now. See pic, Megadeth & Evile.
Question: Hello.I recently bought cd Evile-Infected nations
(Earache Records LTD),stroke bar code-5055006537710
cd's back side-- SOUND PERFORMANCE 2086912121,MOSH377CD, IFPI LP76. Question: What country has manufactured this cd, England or Holland? Evgeny. From: email@example.com
Answer: The Cd is made by Earache in the UK.However the plant used to manufacture the discs is called Sound Performance, we talk to their London office about the pressing of CDs. I think you might be right to suggest Holland because the actual factory used by Sound Performance is located in Holland. Because of the free movement of goods in the European Union, it doesn't make any difference to Earache where the factory is actually located, hopefully it doesn't make any difference to fans either?
Question: Hey there,
Was Confessor's self titled ep ever released on cd in the slim jewel case form like all the other ep's at the time or just through Relativity/Earache in regular jewel case? Also, was Unseen Terror's Human Error released on cd before the 2001 reissue. Thank you kindly From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Answer: Confessor's EP was made on slim jewel case, released in UK on Earache in 1992, yeah. As for Unseen Terror, it was not released on CD anywhere until 2001. Read an interesting interview with Confessor here.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Jon Leon, bassist of White Wizzard argues that METALLICA & QUEENSRYCHE's huge 1991 albums effectively killed Metal, ushering in Grunge instead.
Jon Leon of Earache's Los Angeles-based NWOTHM band WHITE WIZZARD was asked to make a blog posting for HARDTIMES.CA website about metal.Instead of a mere posting, he wrote a bloody PHD thesis! On the subject of how Metal's 2 major breakthrough bands during the late 80s Metallica and Queensryche both made major lyrical about-turns for their follow ups in 1991.The unprecedented success of Metallica's Black album and Queensryche's Empire effectively brought the heavy metal era to a close, ushering in the grunge era instead.
Heres the posting in full:
The Day The Metal Movement Died: Metallica's "Black Album" and Queensryche's "Empire"
by Jon Leon of White Wizzard
This is a piece I am writing to explore a time when heavy metal music was at its peak in the U.S. during the late 80s, and how it then suddenly got washed underground in the early 90s.
The calender year was 1988...
Metallica and Queensryche release 2 records:
Operation Mindcrime & And Justice for All.
They are growing rapidly popular with rabid fans. They are doing this outside the box of the media and corporate controlled radio markets. It was a movement, a power-wave of a new generation of kids and a new art form with an intensity and ability to affect the mind and soul in ways never dreamed possible.
It was the pinnacle of musical empowerment, and a juxtaposition of the thinking man's rebellion in an era that capitalism made most run around like sheep trying to get a piece of the new era of Reaganomics. The music had the ability to change and inspire. To awaken and provide self-empowerment fuel to offset the tactics of control set in place within the confines of suburbs in the Reagan-era version of the American Dream.
There was something fake within the fabric of the whole sales-pitch and Metal music, and its fans awoke to this fact. This was perceived as a threat by the ones holding the strings of society, and in my eyes set up a behind-the-scenes war on the music I loved, as well as on freedom of expression.
Some within the U.S. government and those that hold a firm grip of control on the masses, the rich one percent, were leading the charge of paranoia about Heavy Metal music and its power. The PMRC created by Tipper Gore was in full-swing. There was a war of censorship as well as a fear by those in power, the rich and elected officials, that this music and its movement were a combined force to fear. They saw a musical genre never before experienced that had the power to make kids think for themselves.
This happened in the 60s as well. There was a huge musical revolution that inspired people to rise up. It is evident if you look at the history of what went down in the 60s that those in power would do anything to destroy the movement and take back control over the minds of the youth.
They needed to reclaim control of this beast before it caused a possible revolution of thought and rebellion. We can all debate how much of this was rampant paranoia and more than a belief rooted in reality, but a lot of the people behind this also burned records and thought the fumes or smoke would contain the devil in them, so anything is possible.
They saw an even greater capacity with heavy metal to shake the foundations of control they had upon the masses of youth. This was a musical force that had a certain power that they did not understand and that they feared. The parallel to the 60s was very evident. But these were not kids on acid and other drugs running around in a somewhat false reality, with euphoric ideals of utopian convergence and world peace.
This was an art form that, when used in the way these two bands did in 1988, was completely grounded in reality. It was one that exposed the lies and corruption not with conspiracy theories of stoned hippies, but with cold hard truths. This was truly a greater force to be reckoned with if it was not brought down to size and ultimately controlled.
Sure, you had your L.A. sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll bands that fed the religious right's paranoid extreme beliefs. This trend helped feed the argument that metal was just a bunch of wasted youth, dressing like girls, and shooting up & fucking everything in sight.
That was more fear grounded in religious idealism, but it was an easy scapegoat. The Decline of Western Civilization, Part 2 (a movie I despise for purposely showing only one side and making Metal look like a joke) exposed this fact and helped the case along. It was easy to get people to dismiss Metal as a 5th grade immature art form that only really stupid people liked, and that it was beneath society as a whole.
This angle was played hard and some idiots in the genre did ultimately help feed the fire. But that alone would not bring the movement to an end. It was going to have to be something orchestrated from the top-down. The owners of record labels, radio, T.V., and print media would have to be paid off and manipulated. The behind-the-scenes stuff may have to be speculation, but the equation I have added up spells something that is open to debate and worth talking about at the very least. Any opportunity was taken to try and bring it down.
Look at the attempts to sue Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne for the notion they were somehow responsible for the suicides of kids that just happened to have the records playing of the bands in question when they killed themselves. I am skeptical if those records were even playing at the time, or that the paranoid parents and others involved just blamed the fact these records were just in the room at the time. It is a telling example of the idiocy and delusion of the times, and of religious paranoia at its best.
These people are more scary than any heavy metal band. These are the types that have caused wars, false imprisonment, and death in all societies for centuries. It is the fear of the cult of religion and an inability to understand that manifests delusion and paranoia. They in turn try to destroy all that is different or perceived as a threat. Heavy Metal was seen as the enemy by both religious conservatives and by the rich one percent, for different reasons, but teamed-up together they would ultimately set out to destroy this art form and the movement that was on the rise.
Again, maybe delusional in the paranoid notion that this could turn into a scenario right out of the Operation Mindcrime album, but the blueprint was set with the concepts of this record to make a statement that could not be ignored. No matter what, they just wanted it gone or at least controlled.
With that said, the 2 bands I want to focus on as the center of this debate are Queensryche and Metallica.
They released 2 very powerful albums in 1988 that lyrically and musically was the strongest combined statement any artist has ever made against the powers that be by exposing 100-percent truth, and these were the strongest bands around who possessed the power to create some serious waves of change.
The reason I am focusing mostly on these two records and bands is because of the parallels between them and four records they both released at the same time, and what happened after.
Queeensryche released Operation Mindcrime, an album that showed a band that consisted of some very smart guys that had an epic delivery few could match. They chose to write an album so powerful in its lyrical content, that even today you cannot read it without seeing the truths exposed about the rich one percent's ultimate rule over the people, the sheep-like way society is set up to feed the machine, and the ultimate soullessness in art and music that is in mass media. It spoke of revolution and change from an awakening to these realities. This had words on levels of movement leaders; guys that were killed for the power of being able to take words and use them in such a way as to open the mind and expose truth, and inspire revolution.
Maybe they did not even quite realize it at the time, but the PMRC must have shit their pants when they read this record's lyrics. Coupled with the fact that this band was growing from fans' word of mouth, a movement outside the realms of manipulation and media control must have made these guys high on the radar of a beast to be tamed as urgently as possible.
Take the narration from the song Spreading The Disease:
"Religion and sex are power plays-manipulate the people for the money they pay selling skin, selling God, the numbers look the same on their credit cards.
Politicians say no to drugs, while we pay for wars in South America.
Fighting fire with empty words.
While the banks get fat, and the poor stay poor and the rich get rich and the cops get paid - to look away - as the 1 percent rules America."
That is some serious shit to put out in a song on a record when the powers that be are already on edge. When the PMRC is reading everything and everyone is watching like hawks, it was a bold move. To have the concept of the album be about overthrowing the U.S. government with a movement was also bold. The lines in Revolution Calling:
"I used to trust the media to tell me the truth, tell us the truth, but now I've seen the payoffs -everywhere I look - who do you trust when everyones a crook?
I used to think that only America's way was right-but now the holy dollar rules everybody's lives-gotta make a million doesn't matter who dies..."
Or from the Venomous Speak:
"The rich control the government, the media, the law - to make some kind of difference, then everyone must know - eradicate the fascists, revolution will grow...
The system we learn says we're equal under law - but the streets they are reality - the weak and poor will fall - Let's tip the power balance and tear down their crown - Educate the masses - we'll burn the White House down."
Powerful stuff. I am not going to quote the whole record; there is a fictional story woven between its statements as opposed to the opposite. This album is a huge statement, and the story is just there to support it. It is calling the listener to rise up and wake up. It exposes so many truths in its sheer attack.
This was highly-intellectual and thought-provoking, quite the opposite opposite of stoned hippies' banter with half-truth conspiracy theories in the 60s. These guys were stone sober, smart, and getting bigger.
The 2nd album was also released in 1988. It is called "And Justice for All" by Metallica.
If any band defied the record industry's formula and rules, it was this one. They had blown up solely on fan support and enthusiasm. They were not an easy beast to tame nor attach strings of manipulation to. They were a very determined group of guys, not stoned on a couch, but instead extremely aggressive and motivated.
The album had lyrical content that though maybe not as blunt and to the point of revolution as Mindcrime, still made some serious statements.
Metallica had to be one of the few bands the PMRC had on its highest radar, with lines slamming the American judicial system's corrupt payoffs, from the title track:
"Halls of justice painted green - money talking - Power wolves beset your door - hear them stalking -soon you'll please their appetite - they devour -Hammer of justice crushes you - Overpower.
Lady justice has been raped - truth assassin - rolls of red tape seal your lips - now your done in - their money tips her scales again - make your deal - Just what is truth I cannot tell - cannot feel -
The ultimate in vanity - exploiting their supremacy - I can't believe the things you say - I can't believe the price we pay.
Justice is lost - justice is raped - justice is gone - Pulling your strings justice is done - seeking no truth - winning is all - fighting so grim so true so real."
And the song Eye of The Beholder:
"Independence limited - Freedom of choice is made for you my friend - freedom of speech is words that they will bend - freedom with their exception. Limit your imagination - keep you where they must"
These songs explored the corrupt court system, pay offs, and censorship efforts of the PMRC and other powerful entities.
It was also bold and amazingly intelligent. There were a lot of rebellious themes and anti-system messages on Justice. It inspired many people with its lyrical power and musical force.
Metallica were becoming one of the biggest bands in the world and were showing no signs of relenting.
After these two bands toured together in 1988, they had defied all the odds, having made huge statements and showed what power this music and movement could have.
We all anxiously awaited what would come next.
What did come next was both amazing and odd. The bands disappeared for a good amount of time, a couple of years. Within that time the dismantling of the movement had been taking shape and things were dying down a bit. The seeds for grunge and burnout rock were being sewn, along with many labels and radio jumping ship on metal.
Queensryche and Metallica would release two new records in 1991.
These albums were called Empire and "The Black Album."
When the albums were released they got a shocking amount of airplay for the first singles. The bands were getting airplay constantly and everywhere, it seemed.
These albums would end up garnering five and seven hits respectively and would go on to make both bands rich beyond belief.
The funny thing is, if you read between the lines some really interesting points and parallels exist.
For starters, both albums were devoid of ANY lyrical content questioning any government entity or the system or the powers that be. Nothing of rebellion or inspiring deep thought.
The lyrics were in fact quite dumbed-down by comparison; but even more stunning was track six of each album.
Metallica's track six, "Don't Tread On Me," was a track that lyrically actually called upon people's patriotism and glorified support of the U.S. government and the blind devotion of patriotism without questioning.
It was an odd 180 to say the least. Lines like "Love It or Leave It" were a sharp contrast to the lines on Justice. So much, that it was hard to believe more did not see the difference. To have displayed such a strong lyrical stance on the Justice album that was so anti-system, exposing the lies and inspiring people to question the system, it seemed odd that their follow-up album would be virtually silent in this regard. On top of it, there was this patriotic song that encouraged blind devotion to one's own country.
Queensryche's track six, "Empire," was equally head-scratching from a band that had released the most lyrically-sharp attack on the government and system in music history. This song seems to paint a PG-rated picture of a call to have more cops on the street to avoid the kind of uprising the previous album had almost seemed to push for.
There is a narration in the middle explaining that we do not pay enough for law enforcement. What a huge almost hypocritical contrast to put out an album and statement at the level of Mindcrime, and then to basically say in this one song that we need more cops on the streets, and kind of a "Hey, yeah we fucked up and we should not have wrote about a revolution or exposed all these truths. Conform to the system; we are going to now and make a lot of money."
I guess you could argue they got wise and cashed in. But it is just really interesting to me and always has been. So that is why I decided to write this. Now they are warning us that conforming and not rebelling and getting more cops on the street will save us from "Empire;" thanks, guys.
When you couple this with the fact that both albums were pushed in all various forms of media so heavily - possibly on some of the highest levels we have seen in history, it at least makes one ask some questions.
What happened here? Were the bands promised more media than they could imagine if they dumbed-down the lyrics and put a song out that was Pro-government and system while also almost condemning the statements they made on their previous albums?
Worse, were they threatened? Were a bunch of games played and manipulated to get the bands to conform on such a high level that they ultimately gave in? If so, who was behind it?
Whatever happened, it is clear that the bands were rewarded for this. Sure, you can argue that they just happened to write some great songs and both bands' timing were perfect and that it was all on purpose.
But what is even more odd is the passion and intensity of the previous albums' themes and the epic 180 here.
What happened next?
Suddenly, all backs were turned on metal when a new dumbed-down, burnout scene was pushed from Seattle.
Though there was some good music that was to be offered in that scene, the equally stunning way the industry and media markets turned their backs on Metal in 1992 right at the end of both bands' amazing run is something that everyone should at least consider.
Grunge rock was everything the government and rich one percent could want. Dumbed-down lyrics and burnout themes; keep them high and out of reality. That is how the movement in the 60s was killed, after all.
At least that is how I see it.
The next few years would see the Internet and some horribly uninspiring music pushed out. Metal never seemed to gain ground again. Swept underground and kept in check, the metal that was pushed was not the thought-provoking kind. Further, it was the way it was pushed and how things were manipulated to keep any kind of revolutionary movement from happening.
The idiots in Metal got exposed in movies like Decline part 2, and Metal was given its bad rep as an immature joke. And the bands that were actually saying something were given a censored foot in the ass with riches falling into their laps for playing the game.
This is when I learned the system is unbreakable. I used to care so much and read between the lies and be so outraged but now it's a different story.
I just like living free and being myself. That is the only way you can beat the system, by being an individual and thinking for yourself. In the end I just look back on that time and I really think it's at least an interesting string of events that went down. I do believe something was orchestrated to kill Metal in the U.S., and Metallica and Queensryche helped it along, whether they realized it or not.
And I am sure the powers that be took a look at each other when their plan worked, and said these words by Neil Peart in the song 2112 - a possible look into the future about a government that censors all forms of expression:
"We have assumed control."
WHITE WIZZARD- Over The Top Official Video
Monday, January 18, 2010
Question: What happened to grindcore band GOD? Did it have anything to do with Godflesh?
Answer: Wow, I've not heard that name for a long time, I hope you're "feeling lucky" because finding any info about them with a name like that, using Google is a big ask.Mostly what you'll find is information about an Australian Indie band who had some hits in the 80's.The GOD you mean was from London.
London's GOD was not a grindcore band, they played heavy-ish/fucked up Indie with jazz leanings.They existed during the late 80s/early 90s and mainman Kevin Martin, who played saxophone in the band, was an early and avid supporter of the new grindcore bands, he was kind enough to arrange and promote some of the earliest performances in London of Napalm Death and Godflesh. In fact the classic b/w live pic of Napalm Death with Lee and Bill was taken at Kevin's "Mule" club.
GOD were slightly older then the grindcore musicians, the London scene they inhabited included the likes of Loop, Silverfish, and up in Birmingham, Head of David and Slab.The daddies of that scene were already established in the music press, including Swans and possibly Einsturzende Naubauten before that.Not many people know that Naubauten bassist Marc Chung became a high flying music biz executive in the 90's working for Sony. Anyway, it was'nt a scene I was particularly interested in, as I was fixated on the much fresher grindcore sound which Earache was single-mindedly promoting at the time. To be honest, I had scant interest in those heavy/indie bands, they had the affectations of anger, cloaked in a veneer of middle class angst.People lapped it up, but to my ears all the bands sounded pedestrian and dull.
Kevin Martin existed on the periphery of the grindcore scene, but he was very well connected to the London media and magazines, he seemingly knew every journalist of an open-minded persuasion in London, so I felt it important to cultivate this chance connection for the better promotion of the Earache bands. Justin Broadrick got on famously with Kevin, they shared many common musical influences, and almost immediately the pair hatched plans to form a project band together- this became Techno Animal.From my perspective I felt in some ways like Godflesh was being put on the back burner while Justin engaged in various dead end projects, to satisfy a creative whim, but also prompted by the opportunity to trouser a few quid along the way. Collaboration mania broke out, everyone wanted a slice of the Godflesh sound and style- typical example would be Sweet tooth, which was a shortlived trio of Head of David, Godflesh and ex-Slab members.They made an album together which found its way onto Earache.A short while later noted Jazz saxophonist John Zorn would up the ante on the project bands, he would collaborate with Mick and Justin on the 'Painkiller' project for 2 albums.
Earache got into the 'collaborative spirit' even further by helping fund and market a a whole compilation CD Kevin was working on of the most radical UK bands around at the time. It was a comp which included a smattering of some of the Earache acts, as well established -for the time- names like Silverfish, and Kevins main band GOD.
Earache negotiated to release it for Kevin's label Pathological, and this became the Pathological compilation which boasted some of the best early recordings by Godflesh, Carcass and Napalm Death.You can read about that in an earlier blog ASK EARACHE: Earache & the Pathological Compilation (1990)
Friday, January 15, 2010
Question: I had to ask about this project ( and i chose the word project wisely), what are your memories of blood from the soul? Im only wondering as I dug out a copy of their album recently. for me the band is comparable to epitaph band error except a decade before hand in that its a meeting of a hardcore guy, a metal guy and a industral musican. On a personal level I belive that record betters anything fear factory were doing at the time, and almost serves as a companion release to some of the material godflesh were releasing at the time! From:
Answer: Yes Blood from the Soul was most definately a short-term project, it was'nt a real band. It was the brainchild of Shane Embury (Napalm Death) who hooked up with Lou Koller of Sick Of It All- they had met on tour and became friends.The idea was to quickly get in the studio and produce an album during an extended period of downtime from the Napalm Death touring cycle. Shane being a highly creative dude open to other genres, (remember, death metal and HC just did not mix at the time) and the newest technology (samplers/drum machines were big at the time) meant he could indulge his wildest creative juices. It was a helluva innovative project on many levels.
To be perfectly frank the reason it was formed was so Shane could earn some income because by this point in 1992 the Napalm death members were full time professional musicians and any downtime was not helpful to their finances. I vividly recall the meeting when their manager explained their grand plan to me - all the Napalm Death members will use this downtime to go off and create their own projects. I was pretty horrified by this, as I have a long held belief that project bands are a waste of time really, because no-one 'cept the most die-hard fan of any band buys into them. Being mindful not to restrict the creativity of the members, we agreed to fund them all anyway, even though to my mind it was foolhardy.
Looking back, I reckon the runaway success of Terrorizer was a motivating factor.This appeared like a project but was a real band reactivated to record their debut after splitting up, and contained members who later joined Morbid Angel and Napalm Death. Also around this time Fudge Tunnel founder Alex Newport hooked up with Max Cavalera to form the Nailbomb project,which was released to great acclaim on Roadrunner and sold a lot of copies. Every project seemed to be successful, with minimal effort, so project mania took over!
Earache and Roadrunner did a musician swap- in return for our allowing Alex to record with Max, Napalm's Mitch Harris hooked up with Obituary's Tardy brothers and recorded the Meathook Seed project. Shane did his thing with Lou. Not many people know this but serious plans were also made for the second Terrorizer album to get recorded but the schedules of Morbid Angel's Pete did not match Jesse's so this idea was shelved. Also the Morbid Angel management were not convinced it was the right time to do it.
The only Napalm member who did not embrace the project mentality was Barney Greenway. In hindsight maybe it was this project era which made him estranged slightly from the other guys, well, that and the groove metal influences slowly but surely coming into play. Barney began spending his time hanging with the ENT guys.A few years later in 1996 he'd dramaticaly walk out of Napalm during a recording session, to join ENT for a short time, recording vocals for them instead on ENT's Damage 381 album.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Question: Was mick harris really a member of godflesh? ive read in a few sources that he briefly played with the band, being as mick also played in doom and extreme noise terror, if this fact is true I wouldnt be suprised. From:
Answer:Short answer is I don't think he was in Doom or Godflesh, but ENT yes.You gotta remember, the original UK grind scene, I mean at its very beginnings, was made up of a ridiculously small amount of people, I would say 25 tops, and decent musicians/players were very scarce.It was normal to play in more than one band. All of the people involved were fans of this then brand-new style - extremely fast metallised hardcore-punk aka grindcore. Grindcore was current, fresh and highly radical at the time, though its worth pointing out that to most folks, even some of the musicians involved, it was deemed a childish passing fad which could'nt possibly last more than a year or two. I mean, how could unlistenable noise possibly become a mainstream genre, or be the basis of a music career? It was a fair enough assumption I suppose.
Birmingham was the epicentre of the scene, no doubt about it, but there were already rival cliques and crews popping up all over the UK. You'd have the Bradford contingent, who were more influenced by the political/anarcho punk scene, compared to say the Nottingham crew, which included the likes of me. We preferred the ultra-speedy non-political USHC bands, so Bradford and Nottingham folks never really saw eye to eye.
Also places like Liverpool and Wigan had the beginnings of a crew with Jeff Walker (Electro Hippies) and Bill Steer (Disattack) forming early bands. Liverpool seemingly also had the biggest skateboarding population, so US skate-rock bands were high on the agenda there. West of Birmingham in deepest Shropshire were the diehard metallers - Shane Embury and Mitch Dickinson of Warhammer. This duo entered the scene as Napalm Death fans,but their collection of the fastest thrash and death metal demos of the day soon became tape-trader faves, and was highly influential on the grindcore sound.
Meanwhile in Ipswich were Extreme Noise Terror. ENT predated the grindcore thing by a few years, playing instead an extreme HC punk, minus any metallic riffs. Geographically they were isolated on the east coast, but being slightly older, and a gregarious bunch, they made friends easily.Also living closest to London they were billed on many of the HC gigs in the Capital, and so became one of the most visible bands on the scene.
Radio 1 DJ John Peel picked up on ENT for a Peel session first, right after fellow Ipswich Skate-punk band The Stupids, presumably because Peel lived close by Ipswich so they were both deemed local bands to him. I beleive Peel also gave patronage to Carcass because his birth-place was Heswell,a small place just outside Liverpool on the middle-class enclave of the Wirral, which was Bill Steer's parents place, and Carcass' mailing address.
Its worth mentioning that neither Bristol and London had a grindcore scene, Bristol punks were firmly in the Disorder/Chaos UK camp, both of whom at this point in time were traiblazing their unique super-noisy punk style all over the world. This style- among others- was definately a precursor and one of a whole melting pot of numerous musical style which influenced the grindcore bands which soon followed.
Birmingham was unquestionably the home of grindcore- and Napalm Death were certainly the first proper exponents of the sound, but even within Napalm itself, the band had splintered into several opposing camps. The founding Napalm Death-ers Nik and Justin quit the band while it was still making demos.No label was interested, and the future looked bleak, so both reverted to their core musical leanings - Industrial, avant-garde and dub. Justin got a lucrative gig pounding drums for upwardly mobile indie rockers Head of David.He then later formed Godflesh with drum machine and dubby basslines, while retaining the "grinding" metallic guitar sound. Nik Bullen quit music altogether, and returned to higher eduction, embarking on an academic career. Several years later, after Mick had also quit Napalm, all 3 original Napalm-ers would put their differences aside to make music together once again.The resulting band Scorn was a mix of Industrial, dub and avant garde with grinding guitars,later dropping the guitars for full on bass-heavy electronic dub.
After the original Napalm death line up had fragmented,Mick was prompted by the prospect of Earache belatedly wanting to release an album to revive Napalm.So he formed a new line up consisting of Lee Dorrian, Bill Steer, Shane Embury (replacing short-lived Jim Whitely on bass).None of them were recognised musicians, all were firstly diehard fans of the Napalm sound and ethos.
This line up existed during the eventual release of debut album 'Scum' and quickly recorded the follow up album 'From Enslavement To Obliteration'.This was the line-up which popularised and witnessed the explosion of interest in grindcore all over the world during 1987-89. But by the summer of 89 Lee and Bill themselves had quit the band.
You can hear some of the Peel sessions from the early grindcore era on Grind Madness At The BBC compilation
STOP PRESS--some of the comments below point out that yes Mick did indeed play 3 shows on drums for Godflesh on a UK tour in 1991, before being ousted.I guess I'd forgotten about those. Mick did not record with Godflesh though. There's your answer!
Monday, January 04, 2010
Question: How come Earache never signed NAUSEA from L.A.? They were pioneers in the early Grindcore scene in California along with Terrorizer.. and had connections with Morbid Angel, Napalm Death etc
Just wanted to know your thoughts. From: email@example.com
Answer: Short answer is - in my opinion Nausea were not grindcore, they played political mid-paced HC punk, now more commonly known as crust-punk.They had no insane drum speeds or metallised riffs, so it was pretty much how anarcho-punk bands had always sounded during the 80s, but with slightly more growley vocals.The exact same accusation could also be levelled at Extreme Noise Terror in UK actually, and Earache didnt work with them until much later. Nausea were not leading anything new, even at the time, they seemed destined to be a footnote, despite you calling them pioneers, they were around at the time for sure, but that alone does'nt make them pioneering.
Apart from the music, the band were also somewhat sketchy in their line-ups, back then, they seemed incredibly mysterious,and prefered to run with their own crowd in LA most of the time. Nausea seemed to lack ambition, they weren't avid tape traders or letter writers which marked you down as a grindcore-nut at the time. Seems they had other options so being a pro-musician wasn't the be-all and end-all. Even when Nausea singer Oscar Garcia was roped in for the Terrorizer recording session, it seemingly made little impression on him.
Its true that Terrorizer actually made an album which helped define what grindcore was all about, and Oscar was indeed the singer, but World Downfall was made as an afterthought,as Terrorizer had already split up by that time.
In many ways the demise of Terrorizer was because members Jesse and Pete relocated to Birmingham, UK and Tampa, FL to play with Napalm Death and Morbid Angel respectively. They were poached with promises of a real career, which is how it turned out. Meanwhile Oscar remained in LA, he always was first and foremost in Nausea anyway.
I have a vague recollection that Nausea did get an album out eventually on local LA label Punk/Metal/ record store outfit Wild Rags, but it did'nt do much.
Looking for information online is hard nowadays-Luckily the band has a myspace but some idiot removed their wikipedia entry, citing not prominent enough band. Thats annoying because lesser bands than Nausea LA have a wiki.Oh well, I guess all those years of being mysterious has now backfired.
I turned up an Oscar interview online where he mentions my lack of interest. The interviewer Se@n's smart-ass comments about me are pretty wide of the mark, and unhelpful. Nowadays Sean does Damaging Noise blog.
Lastly- a warning about the "other" Nausea. Do not confuse LA Nausea with NYC Nausea who had a similar logo but were around a while earlier during early 80s as a political HC band, influenced by Crass.They were absolutely nothing to do with grind.
Heres NAUSEA (Los Angeles) - Fuck The World