Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Red Shore - best Aussie Deathcore?

Question: A band I left out of the aussie band question but really want to hear your opinion of is the red shore? Just interested as they are probably one of the more savage of the deathcore bands going. for me at the moment its between them, oceano and through the eyes of the dead for the scene leaders of the genre.

also you say about the traditionalists despising deathcore im just curious as to what your opinion is to the deathcore producer of choice beingn erik rutan? Someone who most people would class as a traditionalst because of hate eternal and morbid angel, hes become to deathcore what adam d is to metalcore. From:

Answer: I agree with every thing you say mate.Red Shore are the best Aussie Deathcore- especialy after all they've been through. They had a tragic van flip in Decemeber 2007 while on tour in Australia, the vocalist and a roadie were killed at the scene.This was eerily similar to the Decapitated bus crash in which drummer Vitek was killed and singer Covan severely head injured- both crashes happened in late 2007.It still doesn't seem real.

As for bands leading the way-I agree again, but don't forget our newest Earache signing-Michigan heavyweights And Hell Followed With- if you have sub-bass speakers attached to yer PC this band will crush the air out of your lungs, its so heavy and percussive.

Erik Rutan is becoming the man who is linking the past 80's/90's Death Metal scene with the present Deathcore legions.As guitarist in Morbid Angel and later Hate Eternal (who on stage are one of the most unrelentingly brutal bands I've ever seen) he helped shaped the early Death Metal scene, and now as a producer he is helping shape the sound of Deathcore in the studio. He's mixing the new Annotations of An Autopsy album we hear.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Favourite Earache release so far?

Question: Hey Dig (or associate.. ha.) er, I was wondering if I could ask you a pretty controversial question?
What is your personal favourite CD/LP from the Earache catalogue??
As it's unfair for me not to venture mine - it's Covenant by Morbid Angel, but was, for a long time, Symphonies Of Sickness by the immortal Carcass.
Cheers for your time.
(And please don't be diplomatic).

Ross, Brum. From:

Answer: Well there's about 400 to choose from Russ! It might seem weird but I've honestly loved every release I've put out- many of them have been my personal faves at the time of release.Wether they caught-on or not wasn't my concern, I just felt they needed to be released at the time.Its a cliche but the Earache catalog is pretty much a timeline of my own musical tastes over 2 decades, with the mid-90's detours for hard techno/drum n bass included.

I've been asked which is my fave many times- and, after the obvious choice of Napalm Death's "Scum", I always answer Reek Of Putrefaction the debut album by CARCASS. I think because it was the first album which completely broke away from the recent past of the mid 80s Hardcore punk scene.Many early Earache releases had a hang-over from the HC punk scene which predated grindcore, Napalm Death's Scum was groundbreaking in so many ways, but its attitude was formed by the past.Reek was the first to signpost grindcore's more death-metal flavoured, extremely grisly future, and it was equally as revolutionary as Scum, if not more so.I like it for what it represented more than anything.

Likewise Morbid Angel's debut Altars of Madness, which kickstarted (along with Death) interest in the whole Florida Death Metal scene, or Scorn's Evanescence album which predated the coming Dubstep scene by a decade.Both album's represented something fresh in music, Earache always trys to push the envelope, to stretch the listeners boundaries a bit.

Some of the past releases I still enjoy listening to,happen to also be the label's poorest sellers- for some reason, they simply did not catch on at the time but made fantastic music in my opinion.Both Brighton UK's Ewigkeit and Sacramento's Shortie disappeared without trace after making 2 poorly received albums for Earache.See clips below.

Of the newest breed of bands signed in the last couple of years, I'm into Evile, Gama Bomb, Oceano and White Wizzard (see High Speed Gto clip)

Ewigkeit'It's Not Reality' from Conspiritus 2005 (James Fogarty £200)

Shortie Truth from Without a Promise 2005 (Shane Drake $10,000)

White Wizzard High Speed GTO from High Speed GTO 2009 ( Dave Vorhes $800)

Is Thrash officially back then?

Question: I know that there is a major Thrash movement going on right now. How much longer do you think this movement will continue? Also, what are you looking for when it comes to signing new Thrash bands? From:

Answer: Well thrash has been around for over 25 years so far, so I don't think its going away anytime soon, whats happening is a resurgence in interest in the genre because of the activities of a host of new bands playing "thrash" again.

Bands like Municipal Waste -today standing at number 77 in UK national charts -see pic), Evile, Gama Bomb, Violator, Toxic Holocaust and Warbringer are leading the way for the new breed, some are still on their debut album, a few have made 2 or 3. What makes the scene healthy and thriving is the fact there is also now a whole slew of even newer bands popping up. Ramming Speed, Havoc and Savage Messiah all recently signed to Candlelight and have albums coming out- so the scene is growing, it's obvious it is not gonna be fading away any time soon.

I actually am convinced its the resurgence of the newer thrash bands which has prompted Metallica and soon Megadeth and Slayer to actually release thrash-heavy albums once again, instead of 'searching-for-the-radio-hit' garbage they were peddling for the last decade and a half. I was playing Death Angel's 2004 comeback album "The Art of Dying' the other day - and it wasn't even thrash- it was full of terrible Grunge-lite mid paced plodders, no speed at all. Thats how low Thrash had stooped to even a few years ago.

Earache is not actively signing any more Thrash bands, we have our quota already.But if your bands plays Thrash to a decent level there is a very strong chance you'll be signed immediately as we predict an avalanche of late comer labels to the party.

Heres Municipal Waste Wrong Answer Clip:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Is Death Metal going more experimental?

Question: So where do you as a label see death metal going next? faster, heavier or possibly more obscure? I see psychadelic DM like bands like australia's portal who were mentioned in a previous question but not acknowleged. I also see bands like the boy will drown getting weirder and adding more experimental parts. I also see the current big bands like nile, hate eternal and behemoth being around for a while.

I dont know where you see the genre going but id be keen to know? From:

Answer: If you can predict how music scenes are going to develop in the future with any degree of accuracy, then an A&R job awaits for you at a label like Earache, my friend. We do this for a living and luckily have unearthed a fair proportion of decent bands over the years, but we still make bad choices a lot of the time because its hard to second-guess the future tastes of the notoriously hard-to-please die-hard DM fans.

Some people argue that DM doesn't need to change with any trends, it came into existance to defy the very idea of metal having any trends or fashions whatsoever.'Only Death is Real'- so the saying went. But time moves on, a new younger generation of fans are now embracing the no frills all out brutality of DM, and it seems the old-school DM bands are becoming somewhat dinosaur creatures in the eyes of this younger crowd.

Nowadays the DM scene is made of two types of bands - 1) DM Legends,aged in their 30s or 40s and 2) Teenagers playing Deathcore.

The Australian band Portal don't impress me much.I doubt they will lead or spearhead any kind of scene, the drummer is poor, the songs unmemorable, though the band sport a nifty line in outrageous headgear- see video below. The idea of experimental/avante garde or psychedelic DM being the next wave is as valid as any other prediction,but I'm not betting on it,personally.

We had Akercocke on Earache for a number of albums recently.This is a band who wholeheartedly embrace the idea of pushing the envelope with some experimental/avant garde touches.The band were and still are a hit with music critics and the albums received 10 out of 10 marks and album of the year accolades, but for some reason Akercocke did not leap into the big-league of DM acts. This was not what was expected to happen, and left us dumbfounded.

This desire to experiment is actually a Black Metal trait,not a DM one, and I recall Akercocke would have to make conscious efforts to stop themselves from going too far in the studio at times.They needed to strike a balance between all out blasting DM and excursions into new, experimental territory, which the band enjoyed playing and the critics lapped up.However talented they were, they did not strike a chord with the DM hordes, which is why I say, its so hard to predict exactly what DM fans will like.

What the hordes actually wanted instead was simple Suffocation-style DM with hardcore style breakdowns done in a more brutal DM way. Chug chug squeal, chug-chug-----chugg------chuggggg is the signature of Deathcore and it is the fastest growing strand of DM, by miles.

I actually love this style precisely because its success was so unexpected, and the scene sprang up without the approval or permission of anyone except the kids who make it what it is.Long-standing, respected music journalists cite their disapproval of this upstart scene with scathing, vitriolic reviews yet 6 months later the same band typically appears in the US Billboard top 200 charts.Granted its mostly a US phenomenon at present, but Deathcore truly is a genuinely new and grass-roots (if myspace driven) and thriving scene.

This topic is currently dividing opinion in the DM community like no other.

Heres Portal with Glumurphonal

Was pre- Linkin Park band Hybrid Theory on Earache?

Question: Hello, I'm searching for this cd I'm asking you because a lot of sites are saying that you are gehind this promo cd. If you have one or couple of them left, I would redy to pay for them. Thx for your attention. From:

Answer: We wouldn't have minded Hybrid Theory on Earache,but they were a Warners nu- metal signing to ride the late 90's Nu Metal wave.I believe the label rather cynically forced a name-change to Linkin Park so they would appear right next to Limp Bizkit in the racks.The band were late to the party, but because of the strenght and radio friendly nature of the songs, went on to be the most spectacularly successful of the nu metal breed, selling over 10 Million records on the debut alone.

This CD is a sampler for Djs and radio stations (not sold to the public) put together by Warners showcasing their acts - like Disturbed, Static X, Filter and Deftones appearing on summer Ozzfest 2000 tour in USA- it includes the song "Now I See" by Hybrid Theory which doesnt appear on the Linkin Park debut, so its probably the only appearance of this song as Hybrid Theory- I guess it is really rare and pricey for wealthy ebayers only.

Your confusion comes no doubt because the album is called the Wicked World of Warners, and Earache did have a sub-label called Wicked World,and we are distro'd by Warners so I imagine we showed up high on your Google searches.

Sorry to disappoint ya dude, but no, we did not release this sampler. Cheers for the interesting question though, and good luck in your quest for a copy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Should bands self-produce their album?

Question: heyup!

Given the proliferation of affordable recording equipment and information on the subject via the net, its now possible for bands to produce high quality recordings in the home/garage/rehearsal room (including art if they are PS or Painter savy enough). Has Earache, or, would you ever considered signing bands that have come to you an already finished album, perhaps more on a liceance basis? Or do you prefer to keep things inhouse so to speak, funding bands to go to commercial (in that they are paid services) studios in order to maintain a basic level of quality for the recordings?
Love this blog, its become a regular read.
Brooke From:

Answer:We have released bands debuts that they have funded/recorded themselves under their own steam before being signed in the past sure, Sleep and Misery Loves Co come to mind, but its not that common.

As you say, it is technically possible for bands to self record in their rehearsal room nowadays-its possible to record using versions of Protools or similar recording/mixing software on a laptop.Many bands do do it this way now, for instance the Earache band Biomechanical recorded their album 'The Empire of the Worlds' in the singer John K's living room, with the sound going straight into a computer for the sound to be processed and later be mixed.

At Earache we are open to all types of recording methods, and after we sign a band we have a discussion about how to get the album the band needs, sonically. We don't have a favourite method because it depends on the style of band.These days its very pricey to undertake a full blown 80's style analog session, using vintage equipment, SSL desks and Ampex tape reels,there aren't even many studios still around that offer this, so its typical that most bands do record at pro-tools studios, its so much cheaper to do things fully digital.We are constantly amazed by the sonic quality of demos we receive, most sound fairly great, and its obvious that many superior quality budding audio-engineers are already out there.

What bands don't realise is that some important parts of the process of making a killer album are lost when doing it as a DIY project, namely the input of an engineer or producer- basically the critical input of a non-band member can dramatically improve the performance level and results in a better album eventually.

The main thing that Earache does is immediately raise the expectation level of our acts on signing.We strongly recommend our acts work with world class producers, we know the ones who are suprisingly amenable to new bands - we got Flemming Rasmussen to record Evile's debut which was simply unthinkable to them, when the band were still unsigned for instance.

We've hired most of the extreme metal world's leading producers, sometimes very early in their production careers and they are all quite obsessive about sound, its amazing being in the studio with the likes of Colin Richardson or Andy Sneap- they hear stuff that mere mortals like myself can't hear and have a magic knack of coaxing the best possible performances out of bands. Even tho they are using the same software and audio plug ins as the rest of the recording community, its their uncanny people skills and attention to detail which elevates them to the ranks of world-class producers.

PS Here's a more comprehensive list of Earache bands who self-produced their own albums in own DIY studio (some recorded in home studio but mixed elsewhere at commercial studio)- its much more common than I thought.

Addiction Crew
The Berzerker

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Doom/Sore Throat vs Peaceville- why at "war"?

Question: Hi,
so, besides what stated in some booklets and some punk sites, what was the real deal and the problem between Doom/Sore Throat, Hammy( who from 88 drummed in ST) and his label Peaceville? Why such bands put out releases and shirts saying Fuck Peaceville and Nevermind Pissville? From:

Answer: Yeah it must look pretty bizarre to outsiders - a bunch of friends who were at one time in mid-late 80s all good buddies in the HC scene in Dewsbury, Yorkshire soon fell out badly. Bri Doom (Brian Talbot), Hammy (Paul Halmshaw) and Rich Militia (Walker) were even band mates with each other when they recorded Sore Throat's 105 track noise LP 'Disgrace To The Corpse of Sid' for Earache, but within a few years serious emnity had set in, which in later years became a vicious, all out propaganda war.Its sad really.

As an outsider myself, because I hardly spent any time in Dewsbury, I'd say the short answer was the massive, almost overnight success of Peaceville quickly soured any friendship which existed beforehand. The Dewsbury scene has always been more Punk than anywhere else, and success is, lets face it, not very punk is it?

The ire stems mostly from self-appointed scene policeman- Rich Walker. I know he reads this blog so maybe he can comment to us on why he has a downer on Hammy, to this day. Rich also slags me off remorselessly so I'm no stranger to his vitriol either.Truth is, I actually admire the fella for sticking to his guns, there's not many like him left.The constant bashing of Peaceville and Hammy was a little tiresome, I can only guess what its about.I presume it stems from a quarrel about ownership of the original Doom and ST albums, which were recorded for Peaceville. My guess is they were sold on to Peaceville's backer, MFN, without the bands consent, when Peaceville split from its MFN deal.Hammy would be perfectly entitled to do this if he had the copyrights. It's all about business deals from back in the day gone sour, in other words.

My Earache and Hammy's Peaceville label's had roughly parallel histories- both of us started as HC punk labels, but at the turn of the 90's quickly shifted into death metal territory when Earache signed Morbid Angel and Peaceville likewise with Autopsy.This pissed off a lot of the HC punks who had actively supported our labels in the early days.They felt betrayed, and I don't think either of us realised the depth of this anger, because we were both too busy selling tons of records from the new scenes we'd spearheaded.Maybe you can read about that in Ian Glaspers new UKHC book due soon.

Not many folks realise that for a few years during the early 90's it was Peaceville, not Earache nor even Roadrunner, that was the world's leading Death metal label.Albert's Choosing Death book barely mentions this fact. The reason was the overwhelming success of Paradise Lost in Germany, between 1991's Gothic and 95's Icon I guess the band sold over quarter of a million copies there alone.Paradise Lost charted top 20 in national German charts routinely, and played arenas. The band literally invented Gothic Metal which would become the new huge European metal genre for the next decade, later spawning bands like Nightwish and many more.Its fair to say that Hammy personally became quite wealthy because of his hard work and endeavours, but in a small-minded town like Dewsbury I'm guessing this fact surely caused a fair bit of jealousy to come his way.

Paradise Lost had some bad luck in America though, they never properly took off there, which probably explains why Americans don't know firsthand their huge success. I recall their licensed label home- Relativity I think- went bust on the day of its release, which was bad timing. While Paradise Lost were playing mid-paced gothic metal in German arenas, the fast and gutteral Earache and Roadrunner DM bands were invading the clubs and warping the minds of US kids.

Remarkably, I've only met Hammy about 4 or 5 times, each time too much rivalry was going on for us to ever really bond.We once went on a press jaunt around Europe to meet journalists, and boy could he smoke weed- I am a non smoker but the dude was constantly skinning up weed, in the car, in the office, even on the street- he was in a haze of smoke all day, everyday. That's not to say he wasn't a savvy operator, he was- cleverly recruiting financial backers like UK 80s metal powerhouse Music For Nations (now BMG owned)to fund his operation, and during later years UK back catalog specialist Snapper would bankroll his label until the end.

From 2007 Snapper own Peaceville outright as Hammy retired from the biz, he's now living with his wife in Spain so we hear.He's always been a down-to earth- bloke, so maybe he's skinning up on his boat in some little seaside town's harbour as he reads this- who knows?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Aussie Deathcore/Grind scene

Question: Does earache still keep an eye on the aussie metal scene or not? I mean there is a large amount of deathcore bands coming from down there and how many modern deathcore vocalists do you think will say they took their influence from the likes of i killed the prom queen or parkway drive from looking at influence listed on myspace sites im guessing a few. theres also the experimental psychadelic death metal band portal hailing from down there as well as a large grind scene that seems to be led by dave hill with his bands like dead and the day everything became nothing. Im just curious of how with such a developed extreme music scene and bands who honestly seem to not to give a shit about being big but as brutal as possible earache seemed to have signed one of the weaker ones in the berzeker. From:

Answer: Yeah, Earache watches out for anything from down-under, mainly because the Aussie bands are always hundred percenters in everything they do, and over the top is the natural style, which we like. Also Earache's US label manager hails from Perth originally.

Thanks for the scene report-Fuck I'm Dead are a bit of a legend round here, I love what they do.On the other hand, I'm not too crazy aboutI killed the Prom Queen orParkway Drive though both have been hugely influential for the past 3-4 years you can't deny that.

It might have been a big mistake when we declined to license the debut when offered it from Shock records.We did'nt pick em up because in my opinion, their ATG riffage was so blatant and occasional emo style vocals did'nt work for me. It's possible both might start to become kinda redundant now as the onslaught of ultra-brutal pure-Deathcore bands take hold, which are more to my taste.

As for The Berzerker, they were highly original for the time- it was late 90's when we signed them- combining pummeling gabba beats and death metal guitars, mainman Luke was ahead of the curve by miles, I would'nt say they were weak but I know what you mean.It's true they didnt have the myspace factor or the fringes to appeal to the new kids but they made it out of Australia and continue to tour the world, plus continue to make mind-melting music.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

When should bands split up?

Question: Here's one ive always wondered, when is it the best time do you feel for a band to call it quits and split up? Bands like sleep, minor threat, Botch, amebix, HUM etc have actually grown in popularity because they split up at the right time. would you or have you ever recomended to a band that it was in their best interests to call time on the band rather than keep on making albums that are actually damaging their legacy eg sepultura. From:

Answer:Thanks for this interesting question.Popularity is indeed cyclical, but in over 2 decades of working with hundreds of bands, I've never known a band ever have that level of self-awareness to actually have the balls to call it quits purely for reasons like "we should split up so we do not ruin our legacy".Deep down, musicians form bands for reasons of ambition, ego and vanity and its hard to switch those traits off at will.Many simply run out of steam.

Most bands split up for more mundane reasons- like being dropped from a lucrative major deal (like Sleep, pictured) key members leaving, the scene dying on its arse which is usually signalled by fans deserting them at gigs and a general air of lack of interest.Bands soon get the message they have overstayed their welcome when the gig attendance drops back from say, thousands in their pomp, down to just single figures.These are the most common reasons bands split, aside from just getting too old.

Many people at the time in 1990 suggested Napalm Death should have split up after Lee and Bill left.Losing a singer and guitarist would cause most bands to fold, but the resourcefulness of Mick and Shane meant they recruited 2 Americans and employed their roadie Barney as new singer, so Napalm Death carried on regardless.I for one was glad they did.

It is strange that there are so many successful comebacks going on.The lucrative festival circuit and the serious money to be made is luring a lot of 90's and 80's bands back, the ones who missed the boom feel a little cheated by the quick of the calendar. The internet since the late 90's has directly spawned the explosion in music appreciation/ownership and file sharing. Long dead bands like Carcass have found out that their glorious past albums and folklore has been continually circulating and passed around for a decade or more- making new fans every time. They figure why not cash on the new found fanbase-I certainly don't blame them.

I do think its significant that in the case of say Celtic frost or Sleep the re-unions only lasted one tour or a few shows before imploding again. Who knows how long the other re-activated bands can survive for, second time round?

The Berzerker- Suicide Songs EP (2005) on Earache? Err Nah.

Question: I have a rip of a cd called Suicide Songs by The Berzerker. Every site I find about this release says it is a bootleg released on Earache records. Is this true? If so, can I buy it? Also, if it's true, what is the catalog number? From:

Answer: Pure bootleg dude, its nothing ever made by us. I'm pretty shocked actually because our official catalog is online Here.Nowadays I find it incredible how many websites have wrong information, there are so many blogs and torrents and so many fans who use them for free music files that often-times the torrents and accompanying tracklistings become the actual "truth".Purely because so many people use these sites to get the music for their digital collection.

Thanks for alerting this to us- we never made it, it is a total bootleg, and i can't explain it.My guess is the Berzerker mainman Luke was behind it though.

Earache DVD intro music?

Question: Hi Earache. What song plays at the start of the "Napalm Death Live Corruption" VHS / "The DVD". The song when the Earache logo comes up with a starry purplish blue sky background then it shows the ND Life? logo and afterwards "Harmony Corruption" plays. I've listened to all the bands that I hadn't heard in your catalog from 1991 and under (which was about 4) and didn't seem to find it. If the band is not on the Earache catalog then I'm going to punch myself haha. Thanks in advance. From:

Answer: Newer DVDs have Decapitated intro music, the exact song was mentioned in a previous blog.

In this case this is a DVD issue of an old VHS era concert so the music is Cathedral "Voyage of The Homeless Sapien' taken from the Statik Majik EP from 90's.

The song is 22 minutes long- an epic voyage of riffage and spaced out trippy parts- the riff in question comes late in the song- about the 18.45 mark. Its amazing isn't it?

If you have the wonderous free, legal Spotify application installed just hit this Playlist to take you straight to it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who originated Grindcore's growl?

Question: I read in an article that The Baron from amebix was the originator of what became the grindcore growl and that nic bullen was doing a more exaterated version of this when he recorded the napalm vocals (although to be honest ive only ever heard the baron do somthing similer in a live setting not on record) would you agree for this to be true? personally i see the grindcore growl as coming from a cross between the baron, quothorn and tom g warrior From:

Answer: Well that's certainly a decent theory, from my recollection you are in the right part of the world - South Western UK. Before grindcore there was hardcore punk, and Amebix were an integral part of the wildly-influential Bristol UK hardcore punk scene during the beginning of the 80's.All the bands down there - Chaos UK, Disorder and AMEBIX took things a stage further than the rest of the punk scene. They revelled in all things drunk, crazy, wild and extreme, and what was once punky vocals soon became just an extended "Aaargh".

In my opinion the extreme growl started with Chaos UK's No Security single...but it was'nt gutteral enough for grindcore so Nik Bullen went way further with the mid-80s line up of Napalm Death.Skum Dribbluurz were doing short blasting noize songs, but vocals were 'normal" punk.

Pic of Tim Skum Dribbluurz & Gabba Chaos UK

CHAOS UK 'No Security'- hear the first Arrrrgh. This started it all.(Some dick flagged this clip at Youtube so need to log in)

Amebix and Disorder in Bristol squat from UK/DK movie:

Napalm death The Kill

Monday, August 17, 2009

Godflesh re-issues, are they remastered?

Question: Hello at Earache,
A reader at my site wonders if the Godflesh Love and Hate reissues have undergone any remastering (see last comment):
If you could briefly enlighten him/her/me, I'd appreciate it. Thanks! From: invisibleoranges at g mail dot com

Answer: Yes they are remastered.I reckon it would be a bit strange if we'd gone to the trouble to re-issue these long out of print mid-era GODFLESH titles - making 2 Cds and a DVD available as a lo price box set in the case of Songs Of Love and Hate- and not remastered them.In Europe we just this week released Pure/Cold World/ Slavestate 3 Cd box, its also been remastered.

The remastering was undertaken by JP (John-Paul) Braddock of Mine Music Mastering in UK. JP Braddock has mastered probably a hundred Earache albums over the last decade, his name (JP/Rubber Biscuit) might be familiar to avid readers of the credits in the liner notes which accompany those Earache CDs.

Godflesh mainman Justin Broadrick was highly complimentary about the repackaging and re-mastering job, he recently told our label manager:

" i finally got to play the first disc of the reissued 'pure' and i must
say its the best ive ever heard that
album, so, well done on the mastering, no matter how subtle it was it
has certainly made a difference
and improved things a lot from the original masters.

i also love the artwork and design for both packages, the printing is
the best ive seen of any of these
GF releases, really clear and sharp. im pleasantly surprised at how
well these came out.. "

So Godflesh fans can rest assured, both re-issues are worth getting a hold of from our webstore for $14 postage free.

Heres GODFLESH in New York in 1996

Earache & 90s UK HC bands

Question: Being as earache kept on trucking as normal during this period im wondering did you have any interest during the 90s uk hardcore scene when it was running? bands like knuckledust, disco assains, stampin' ground, public disturbance etc. its just that earache seemed to be uninvolved during a fertile time. From:

Answer: Yes you are right, Earache watched those bands you mention progress but made no attempt to sign any during this period of development of UKHC during the mid-late 90s. The UK Hardcore scene back then was pretty cliquey and incredibly snobby to a lot of metal, including Earache I would say. It would be quite a few years before chug chug Metalcore as popularised by Hatebreed on their 2002 'Perseverence' album made metal riffs acceptable to hardcore heads.

You might not recall it, but for a long time the HC mindset has not always been to appreciate Death metal or Metal in general, in fact it was looked down upon. Metal being rooted in fantasy and therefore not real, it wasn'nt deemed 'hardcore" enough for a lot of scenesters, because its roots were'nt from the streets as Hardcore's roots were. In the 80's and 90's Hardcore used to be shorthand for Hardcore Punk, not Hardcore Metal.

I was really into London's KNUCKLEDUST because they were easily the heaviest band in the UKHC at the time, also I personally liked a band from Northampton called FREEBASE because the singer Mark (pictured onstage above) was an open-minded HC scenster who loved his metal and death metal, and later, classic rock.Mark bacame a great friend of the label staff and being a party-animal like us, would be the life and soul of many an Earache Xmas party during the 90s.After his band split up, he helpfully acted as van driver for Deicide and Decapitated during UK tours.

Stampin' Ground were an exception to the 'no-metal in HC' rule- they veered into Slayer territory early on and became almost a full-on thrash outfit.On paper they should have been perfect for Earache to work with, but somehow our attention was elsewhere at that time, probably because I felt ragga-metal like Dub War was more contemporary.Scott Atkins guitarist of Stampin Ground is now a hot Producer, responsible for stellar production jobs on Sylosis and Gama Bomb. Ian Glasper of Stampin ground is a successful author of retrospective books documenting the 80's and 90's UKHC scene.His latest book Trapped In A Scene is out next month.

Scene politics also meant that it wasn't cool for a label like Earache to simply muscle into those bands back then, because smaller labels like London's Household Name were already working with Knuckledust, and Denmarks Die Hard offshoot label for HC 'Hard Boiled' were working with Freebase. We respected the HC labels and the label owners who put in the hard work to promote their bands.

If you want to see the roots of where Hardcore Dancing came from just watch these amazing Knuckledust fans in action back in the day:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Electric Wizard & Earache?

Question: You've talked about the northern doom and earache before. Moving further south west Im wondering did earache ever consider electric wizard for the label? Being as this was around the time you had sleep and cathedral on the label. Also were they a factor in as you've mentioned before having earache make rise above either a sub label of or distro for rise above. Quite interested in this being as lee has mentioned before how EW did what cathedral did but took it further and are better musically. Plus because of Jus osborns interest in early death metal im sure you would have crossed paths with them before. From:

Answer: Dorset, UK's Electric Wizard (mainman Jus Oborn pictured) are hands down one of the most crushingly heavy bands I've ever witnessed, and I've seen them all.But it was'nt always that way, as in the early days when Earache had Sleep, Cathedral, and Iron Monkey making waves, Electric Wizard were just promising newcomers from some backwoods town in sleepy south-west England, or thats how they appeared to me.

Earache was in touch with Jus quite a lot when he had his pre-Wizard Doomy/Death metal band 'Eternal'.I remember thinking long and hard about Jus, he was talented and very much an avid Doom/Death scenester (a bit like Harry from London deathsters Decomposed) and I think this was part of the reason we never offered them a deal- we simply never physically met- also I recall we had enough Doom on our plate at the time already.

I actually don't think Electric Wizard ever played near Nottingham in the early days either, preferring to play shows in London, which was nearer to them.It was seriously late in the day before I actually saw them play, and once Rise Above had snapped them up to a deal, it was not our style to make waves with other people's bands so we left Wizard well alone.Rise Above's Lee Dorrian was actually signed to Earache for most of the 90's as Cathedral, and it was simply not on to mess with his label, though we did hold talks about becoming its official licensee but couldn't agree terms.

It was Rise Above's expert handling of the band which has ensured their long-term success and legendary status among the Doom cognescenti.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Stoner/Doom documentary film 'Such Hawks, Such Hounds'

Question: What do you guys at Earache think of the stoner movie Such Hawks Such Hounds,and are you releasing a Sleep DVD of the reunion shows. From:

Answer:A stoner rock movie? Are you sure, because this is the first i've heard about such a thing? OK now i've done some online research, I am totally blown away that such a movie exists,fair play to the director John Srebalus for seemingly spending 2-3 years putting it together, as a real DIY project which deserves support.The movie seems to cover the whole gamut of underground US rock, but has an emphasis on the stoner/doom scene, interviews include Wino, Billy Anderson, Greg Anderson, Al Cisneros, Scott Reeder (Kyuss) Tom Davies (Nebula) and many more.

Heres a Matt Pike interview from the official website. You can order the DVD from the page aswell. The film has a MySpace for more information.

As for the Sleep re-union shows we are not in any talks to issue any DVD, sadly, even though they performed the whole of the Earache record- Sleep's Holy Mountain.

Heres a trailer from the movie:

How to get signed.Odds are 1 in 4000 chance.

Question: this is a question i have always wanted to know, when a band speaks to you and says here is my cd and you take it away and like the music, is that enough for you to sign them, or do you look at there myspace and see how many plays and friends they have on myspace and if bands has loads of plays and friend does that go in there favour? From: point1point2@hotmail,com

Answer: I've said it before on this site- but its worth mentioning again - most unsigned bands have no clue of the scale of the competition to get signed, the numbers of bands clamouring to be signed is vast.You have to stand out from the pack because we get approached for consideration from at least 50 bands a week, and thats when record labels like Earache are supposedly in decline as the internet is freely available for bands to promote themselves and distribute their music.The bloggers and pundits who predict the decline of the record label as more bands embrace web 2.0 tools, well someone needs to announce the news to the thousands of bands we hear from each year, cos they don't seem to have gotten that memo.

Creativity is the name of the game, and my best peice of advice is- if you want to send a CD to a label, make sure you get a large package and include something to catch the eye of the A&R person- a few cans of lager works for us! Honestly, such a simple thing will mark you out as both highly creative and good at self-promoting, exactly the things labels are looking for.

Unsigned bands typically fall into 3 camps-

1) 90% are rank novices who picked up their instruments maybe a mere 3 months prior to making a demo, these are the bands who probably send us the first 4 songs ever written.Mostly they are dire and simply playing 30 seconds of one song tells us this fact, we hit the pause button fast.

2) 10% of bands are much more accomplished and genuinely decent sounding- many bands have excellent sounding demos these days- but are too obviously ape-ing the influences found in their own record collections.After a few plays we lose interest because the all important spark and originality is lacking.

3) The last type are the rarest of bands,probably amounting to 0.1%, its those who tick all the boxes,show originality, operate as a team unit, and are driven to succeed.A retro type of sound can be highly contemporary if no-one else around sounds like it.A great example is Earache is in the midst of signing new bands who sound like NWOBHM right now. These bands have that added X-factor which I can't fully describe, but its more than merely playing well or being tight, these bands have a focus and a burning ambition to do well, which makes them simply crying out to be signed, and its obvious immediately. The word of a great new band reaches all the labels at internet speed these days, and a bidding war often ensues for new Metal talent.

MySpace playcounts have been the scorecard by which a whole new new breed of labels did their A&R between 2004--2009.Specialising in the Myspace music-scene styles like emo/screamo & lately deathcore, the playcount was a sure fire indication of actual popularity and it meant anyone - I mean anyone- could be a great A&R person simply by monitoring playcounts on the site, by skillful use of the search box.

This is exactly how Mark from new Nottingham label In At The Deep End told me he used to 'discover' Californian Death-core outfit Suicide Silence, and for a few years IATDE records put out the first Suicide Silence record here in UK to great acclaim.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

To have a MySpace page- or not?

Question: You have said before about the importance of myspace when promoting a band however. What do you think of a band like tragedy who dont have a myspace and refuse to have one because of their politcal ideas. Aparently the reason for not having one is because of myspace's connection with the murdoch media empire and by signing up to it you are endorsing what the company stands for. Surely its possible to exist as a band without a myspace or website considering its how the scene existed before ite creation.

Answer: I can understand Tragedy's viewpoint and they are correct to say that MySpace is owned by Murdoch's News Corporation, and so don't want any connection with such a big business for political reasons. I admire their hardline stance, however I also think its a little bit short sighted because any band which wilfully does'nt maintain a web presence in this day and age is foolish.Online is hands down the simplest and best way for a band to interact with its fans.

So tell me, how do members of Tragedy communicate? By telephone? By SMS? The Telco companies that run those networks are even bigger than News Corp.

Bands don't know what an amazing thing Myspace has been for them in the last 5 years.It has literally transformed the music industry.The services it offers, streaming 10 songs, access to, and the means to interact with, over 100 Million+ other music fans, all for FREE.This is really insane. If any band wanted to maintain a regular website themselves to do all this stuff, working 24 hrs a day, all year, with hardly any downtime, it would cost them thousands of dollars per month to run it.

I would say that if MySpace were to start charging bands for their services, because it is undoubtedly showing its age now with facebook and Twitter being the growing online social networking sites, and I'm sure it must be tempting to consider imposing a small monthly charge for the MS services. I for one would pay it, because its become so entrenched in our daily promotion and marketing work at Earache. We probably maintain about 30 pages on the site for various compilations and marketing purposes, and occasionally for bands who don't want the hassle.
here's a few of them:
Grind Madness
Deicide's Back Cat
Heavy Metal killers
Metal Box set
Thrashing Like A Maniac

Psyopus vs Boy Will Drown

Question: heres one our friend from Pen state forgot. what about psyopus? namedropped frequently by and used as a reference point continuously when desribing the boy will drown how do they rank on dig's deathcore rankings? From:

Answer: Psyopus are a great band,I do like them, and follow their output.Metal Blade don't often pick up bad bands. Psyopus in fact are quoted in The Boy Will Drown's bio as an influence on the band. Somehow I prefer Boy Will Drown tho- their album Fetish is undoubtedly going to be in my Top 5 albums at the end of this year.

The Boy Will Drown are really young newcomers so have no self-imposed boundaries and play super-tech Death Metal/grind without any of the constraints of fitting into the scene.Their music is hellishly complex but also has that vital swing, and dare I say it, "groove", "song structure" and even, gasp, "melodic parts".The steel guitar melody at the end of Josef Fritzl sounds like it's from an old antique 78 rpm record, which is inspired.

Overall I prefer TBWD over Psyopus for the main reason they just play without any restrictions whatsoever.

Heres The Burning halo by Psyopus:

Viraemia (AZ) 10-string Bass? Heavy or gimmick?

Hi iam a fan of Earache from the usa ive been collecting various albums from the mosh catalog since the mid to late 90's. It started with bands like Napalm and Carcass and eventually evolved. I have recently purchased the new Blood Red Throne and The Boy Will Drown. I actually called the Earache U.S offices and ordered them. Both Killer albums I really love TBWD great musicianship (hope they can play the states soon). Iam not the biggest fan of Oceano but recommended them to 2 friends who like that style of Music (not my cup of tea). Both ordered Depths with my order and they love it. Anyways as fan of Earache i would love to know your thoughts on these following bands i like (good or bad).
Spawn of Possesion- Only have one album Noctambulant but they are good
Braindrill- Quality Death Metal from California
Obscura-killer band iam surprised you did not sign em
Finntroll-Black Metal with a touch of Polka (haha)
Misery Index- One of my favorite bands out there today its a shame they are not bigger then what they are. I really respect the fact that you have been doing this for as long as you have. Please keep up the good work! Also i know by reading the ask earache regularly you hate this but....iam not in this band but please check em out viraemia http:// they are great! I don't care if you sign em. Once again love Earache......tbwd are awesome.
Ed Allshouse
Wilmerding Pa

Answer: Thank you for the kind words Ed.Glad you like The Boy Will Drown, they are fucking epic.The band, based in Norwich, UK, has not really got into much touring yet, but the insane level of complexity and superb crystal clear production on their debut album, courtesy of the wizards at Poland's Hertz studio (Decapitated) has made 'Fetish" a contender for album of the year to a lot of people.

You wanted my opinion on some bands- I should point out that playing a flurry of notes does not automatically always equal awesome in my book, technical playing is faked a lot, and its the overall power and dynamics of the band as a whole, which i'm mostly interested in.For this reason many of the tech-death scene bands leave me cold.

Spawn of Possession - Nah this Swedish band from the early 00's dont impress me much.The Deathcore bands coming out nowadsys eat them for breakfast.

Braindrill are on Metal Blade and have decent number of fans, both online and off it,so must be doing something right.It's one of the better tech-death bands out there today.

Obscura- You mean the German band on Relapse who did US tour with Cannibal Corpse, and again soon in EU.I don't get what all the fuss is about frankly, because I don't rate this band at all, Brainbrill destroys them into dust.

Fintroll- I'll give the band their due, they worked hard to become the leaders of the European folk-metal scene, which is nowadays teeming with bands.So fair play to them. Their folkish metal is not my cup of tea though.

Viraemia (Az) have come to our attention a few times, the 10-string bass should make them the heaviest band out there, but in my opinion its played the wrong way, as Scott's super-tech playing doesnt utilise the power of the instrument (which he hand built) properly.It should cause walls to collapse, it should be off the scale heaviness, but it comes across as sounding somewhat like the harp, which is not powerful at all.

Heres The Boy Will Drown:

Monday, August 10, 2009

NWOTHM & Death Metal - the not-so-secret links

So why do you think there is a connection between the swedish trad death scene and the swedish trad metal scene eg there are members of tribulation in enforcer and also invidious members play in in solitude. Does this link between old school death metal and and trad metal/rock go back to the early days of the scene or is it a new connection?

Answer: Yes, you are right, it certainly seems to be true that especially in Sweden many of the musicians forming the NWOTHM bands are or were very recently in Traditional Death Metal bands aswell (Adam Zaars pictured with Tribulation & Enforcer) Some also come from a Black Metal background too.Many profess to be getting "bored with extreme metal", and yearn instead to play True to the roots HM with songs and powerful vocalist. As for why- well, musicians begin their careers by playing whatever the contemporary style is- in the 80s it would probably have been Glam-type Rock, 90's Death or Black metal,00's metal-core,but time moves on and many of the NWOTHM acts tell me that, although they appreciate death & black metal, they are burned out and kind of over extreme metal now.

I don't think its anything too unusual going on actually, Earache has dealt with hundreds of musicians over the years,and it is pretty normal for musicians to want to experiment with some new styles over time, it often begins under the guise of a project with some like-minded musicians. Somewhat suprisingly, what starts as a 'project band' can very often take on the role of 'main band'.I recall when Michael Amott's Stoner-y Rock project Spiritual Beggars was a bigger seller and a much hotter prospect than Arch Enemy for a year or two, a fact which seems ridiculous now.

As an aside I can forsee a huge increase in one-off super-group type jam-band-projects flooding the live circuit, kind of like Chickenfoot or Them Crooked Vultures right now.As musicians themselves take control of their careers, and labels are taking more of a backseat, many of the restrictions are removed for the first time in their careers, and so fans can certainly expect to see more one off jam-bands starting to appear at a club/arena near you. Wether they will be any good or not, who knows?

A few of the NWOTHM musicians are coming from a Thrash background.Enforcer's singer Olof was until recently in Thrash metal band Oppression who had a retrospective split CD with US thrashers Diamond Plate released last year.

Finland's Cast Iron (recently split up) singer/guitarist Jori Meriläinen was in a Thrash band previously.

Toronto- based Jason Decay of Cauldron was in the more Cathedral style Doomy-ish Metal band Goat Horn until a few years ago.

Powervice went the other way- most of the members quit and went on to form the female fronted doomy-soul-rock act The Devil's Blood, who are highly original and getting kudos everywhere, leaving behind bassist & founder member Richard to regroup Powervice around himself, a process which is still ongoing.

Heres Adam Zaars (read an Interview) of Enforcer playing with his Death metal band Tribulation on tour recently:

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Viking Skull- The Daddies of the NWOTHM scene?

what do you think of the argument that it was viking skull who kick started interest in the nwothm in the uk? by that i mean the switch from clean sounding metal like dragonforce to the more dirty early maiden, thin lizzy inspired sound. if this is the case that means interest in a genre came from a joke as the band was formed as a way of scaving beer out of promoters.

Answer: Well that's an interesting argument because I've not heard of Viking Skull being referred to in those terms before, except by whoever compiled the Metal Hammer magazine NWOTHM CD from earlier this year. Obviously it depends on how you view the scene, the NWOTHM, New Wave Of True Heavy Metal (or as I prefer to call it now - New Traditional HM) and I reckon there is a grain of truth in that. By grain, I mean like barely one percent though.

Viking Skull are a UK band which was an offshoot of HC/Sludge-metallers Raging Speedhorn, and they do have an undeniably more Rock n Roll sound than most of their contemporaries in the UK scene. Much like Orange Goblin, they owe a lot to the likes of Clutch, playing a no-frills, mid-tempo dirty rock, but sadly, to my ears,its just not Traditional enough HM. There is a world of difference between Trucker-cap wearing dirty rock n roll and the nimble riffage and song structures of Traditional HM.

The down-tuning is wrong for a start because NWOTHM is all about standard tuned guitars, but even more crucially, Viking Skull lack the most important ingredient of the lot- a powerful 2 octave range vocalist, which is what makes the new young HM bands- like Cauldron and White Wizzard and Enforcer- stand out from the crowd in my opinion.

Cauldron & Enforcer embark on their first NWOTHM US tour later this month:

Heres Viking Skull clip directed by Bam Margera:

Monday, August 03, 2009

Can Record labels really see into the future?

I'm wondering do record companies hire psychic mediums? im just curious as to why adverts for albums on tv say things like "featuring the forthcoming hit single" im just curious of how they know its going to be a hit before its even released?

Answer: No, labels don't need to hire psychics to tell whats going to be happening in future sales charts, because for the most part we really can "see into the future".The reason is simply because the behaviour of music fans is highly predictable.To give an example, I can confidently predict that the debut album by a middle-aged scottish singer called Susan Boyle will be number 1 in the charts some time during 2009.

Most of the reason why the record industry can predict whats going to happen is because it has been intensively collating and tallying sales data of recordings for over half a century, then pretty uniquely as an industry,this info has been transparent and available to all. Other industries consider sales info as a trade secret but the Music Industry has been releasing a list of sales to the public, every week for free. Commonly this list is known as the TOP 40, or in USA the Billboard Hot 100.It goes way deeper than mere Top 40 sales, the information database is vast,including sales by zipcode,so if you wanted to know wether Metallica is selling more copies in Miami than in Chicago, the company resonsible for tallying the charts,Nielsen Soundscan , will sell you this info aswell.

In many ways this 50 plus years of data gathering was highly futuristic- in the modern knowledge economy, sales data is routinely mined by statisticians to give them the insight on the buying habits of consumers, many brands buy this data to give them an edge on the competitors brand.

The industry circulates tools to make the predictions easier- insiders have access to a 'midweek chart' which is the sales for the first 3 days of the week.What is remarkable is that the final chart positions do not change much after the next 4 days are added in aswell.In fact the sales generated on the first morning of a release date can be used to predict the chart position reached 6 days later.Record buyers are so predictible in their habits.

With the rise of the internet retailers,such as amazon etc, most have preorder buttons for forthcoming releases. The pre-sales info is passed on to labels, so the number of pre-orders on a title can be used to predict the final sales on its release, which might be still many weeks away, but its done with a high degree of accuracy.

Popular culture shapes record buying habits- whatever is playlisted on National radio and whatever acts are winners of the hugely popular Televised talent-contests are good bets to be top sellers. Music used in TV advertisements sells in great numbers due to the mass exposure on TV.

The Apple digital music store iTunes is so successful at shaping public tastes that when a song makes it onto its top 10 chart displayed on the front page, the song then remains on the chart for a lot longer than normal.

PS- I forgot to mention BigChampagne, a service which tracks online music sales and even P2P downloads and torrents, and collates the numbers, selling the info to labels and interested parties. If you didnt beleive that such things could be monitored or tallied, think again. See story in WIRED mag