Wednesday, March 24, 2010
NECROSIS records label- A&R'd by CARCASS in early 90s
Question: Hello from Greece again!
2 short questions:
1:The short lived Necrosis Records managed to release some pivotal and genre defining albums as well. I know cause I have two of them:Dark Recollections from Carnage and Repulsion's only official release. What happened with this label?
Why did it begin and close, and could we have a list of the albums released by this Label?
2: Has Jeff Walker studied design or are the Logos and album covers for Earache just a favorite pass-time for him? (I can only imagine that the Napalm Death and Carcass logos are his as well, given the same design approach that has been used) Am I right?
Cheers from Athens! From: firstname.lastname@example.org
Answer: Back when the grindcore scene was tiny, all the musicians in the bands were fanatical about the scene, everyone involved had an encylopaedic knowledge of the bands and the tapes that were most important in its formative years. Jeff and Bill from CARCASS had more knowledge than most, and also -crucially- had access to some important master tapes from important bygone bands, so I agreed to set up and fund an offshoot of Earache for this purpose. NECROSIS was the sub-label in which they would actively scout and A&R for new bands, but the intention at the outset was to provide a means to release albums by ELECTRO HIPPIES (Jeff's first band) and long defunct proto-grind outfit REPULSION.
In 1986 Flint, Michigan's REPULSION had recorded an album of super uptempo, dirty, violent and deadly thrash but it was shunned by American labels because it appeared at the tail end of the Thrash metal explosion in the USA,and was also a few years ahead of the coming grindcore scene of the late 80s. It was a recording ahead of its time, and out of time. The record was financed by local record store owner Doug Earp (Wyatt Earp Records) and thats where the master tapes lay unwanted and shelved. The band became inactive and folded, seemingly for good.
Meanwhile copies of the album had been widely circulating in UK and Europe, Napalm Death were actively paying homage to the late, great Repulsion in interviews and even played straight-up Repulsion riffs during their live set, and Peel session, most notably as intro to 'Deceiver'. To be fair they did name it 'Repulsion intro' so everyone was clear where it came from.
Because of the explosion in interest in the band here in UK, Jeff/Necrosis went to superhuman lengths to try to acquire the tapes and arrange for a long overdue release.Looking back, the motivation was mostly to pay homage to a forgottten classic of the genre, but knowing Jeff's Machiavellian ways, he probably had the slight intention to discredit Napalm Death as wholesale riffs-stealers aswell.
Books written on the grindcore scene never seem to touch on the fact that the bands were never as unified as it might have appeared to the general fan. It's not good copy to point this out, perhaps. The initial spark of camaraderie and spirit of the 'common cause' in the early days was quickly ditched as rival factions and camps broke out around each band. This was usually manager-driven, and was caused by the stakes around each band getting larger, as lucrative major-label careers unexpectedly came into the offing.My own relationships with the bands I'd signed became tainted at this time too, due to their sudden 'success'. Ironic, that.
Even with the best intentions at that time, it was far from an easy process to acquire the Repulsion tapes, the band did not exist so I think they were bemused why an upstart label from the Uk was contacting them to show interest in a dead band.After protracted discussions, Necrosis/Earache paid to have the tapes remixed and mastered and new artwork was commissioned - the original blue face being deemed too sloppily drawn- and this first edition finally hit the record racks on CD and LP as Necro 2 in 1989.
As well as old tapes, Necrosis did unearth two brand new bands aswell- Sweden's Carnage, featuring Mike Amott who would eventually relocate to Uk to join Carcass, and Norway's Cadaver. Cadaver mainman Anders Odden is a respected musician in the industrial/Darkwave scene nowadays.
The label ran out of steam after a mere 4 titles, as is the way with musician run labels it seems. See my earlier blog posting about that very subject. Carcass began touring the world and making a career so dealing with the minutiae of other bands recordings became less of a concern. The label had no official ending, it just fizzled out.
Jeff did indeed draw the logos for Napalm Death, Carcass and Earache. He was by far the most talented artist in the early scene and was in great demand for artworks, but as soon his band began to take off he restricted his output only to Carcass projects at that point.
Heres REPULSION 'Stench of Burning Death'. This is the riff Napalm Death would use to intro into their song 'Deceiver'. Check out the Peel Sessions album "Grind Madness at the BBC' to hear it.