Saturday, November 26, 2011

Why no Trap Them on Earache ?

Question from () :

here's one ive always wondered why is it Trap Them never ended up on earache? surely with Brian being in december wolves who at that time were still signed to earache and their sound a hardcore punk/grindcore mix. They would have been a prime choice for the label?


Answer: Yes I agree, it sounds a perfectly logical match-up on paper, but it's all about timing, gut feeling and impression dude, I'll try to outline the various reasons why we didn't get involved in Trap Them after the demise of December Wolves.

Brian's band DECEMBER WOLVES were signed to Wicked World/Earache from 97-2003 or so, releasing 2 albums. Both discs were undoubtedly office faves round here because of their full-on, blasting, twisted and hateful brand of black metal. It was unique at the time, we thought the band were brilliant and success would be a cinch. Unfortunately the band did not tour, so the music failed to catch on with fans, hence did not sell in any meaningful numbers.

At the time we suspected the reason for poor sales was because they were regular T-shirt and jeans guys, and failed to fit into either the corpse-painted, spiked, Kult BM scene and of course were a million miles away from the coming more cerebral ambient-BM scene which was about to hit. No fault of the band, but they just didn't fit in to what the fans wanted.

DECEMBER WOLVES- To Kill Without Emotion.

After two underperforming albums, Earache decided to not continue with December Wolves, and from memory Brian announced at the same time the closure of the band. He also said he was going to pursue other musical projects for a while, and would keep in touch.

A while later we received a demo of Trap Them & Kill Them - I remember it well as you rightly point out, punky/grindy stuff is in our blood, and I did like it a bit. But the key consideration is that Earache had moved on by that point, we were signing acts like Ephel Duath and working with acts like Cult of Luna by that point, and so the punky/grindy mix of TT&KT just wasn't to our liking, so we passed. Its also worth mentioning that because of the failure of December Wolves to sell, Brian's output was slightly tarnished from our viewpoint, sadly.

Our loss was Prosthetic records gain, they were the label (after a couple of 7inchers on Deathwish Inch) who snapped up Trap Them and they've been very successful ever since. We wish them and Brian all the best.

Here's Trap Them:

Thursday, November 03, 2011

NAPALM DEATH-why the big change of style between FETO (1988) & Harmony Corruption (1990) ?

Question from Vicky ( :

Just wondering if, after the recent Nalpalm Death 3 x cd boxsets you recently issued, there were any plans to do the same to earlier Napalm Death Earache albums/ep's etc???

Also, as a fairly newcomer to the world of Napalm Death what are your feelings and recollections of the fairly vast style change between the 1st two albums and Harmony Corruption???

Also what do you think of their post Earache output???


Answer: Yes, I agree it must appear totally weird if you are a fan getting into the band in recent years, looking back, their Earache-era back catalog has 3 distinct phases - the breakthrough Scum/FETO era (now hailed as the classics), then the mid-paced Florida Death Metal-influenced era, and by mid-late 90s the band's ill-fated groove-grind period where the fanbase deserted them in huge numbers.

In the summer of 1989 Napalm Death had a massive and very abrupt change of line-up when guitarist Bill Steer and singer Lee Dorrian unexpectedly quit the group on their return from their first Japanese tour. Remaining members Mick Harris (drummer and driving force of the band) and Shane Embury (Bass) recruited 2 new guitarists from Los Angeles in the shape of Jesse Pintado & Mitch Harris (no relation) plus a local Death Metal singer Mark 'Barney' Greenway (who was previously a fan of the band and occasional ND roadie, as well as fronting Brummie Death metallers Benediction). This new-look line-up subsconciously meant the band had the opportunity to break from the past, with a fresh start and fresh outlook.

The new members had a stronger affinity to and were massive fans of the newly spawned Florida Death Metal scene and this came through in the follow up album, as opposed to the Hardcore/Crust Anarcho punk influences that they'd had previously. The band even decamped to Florida's Morrisound studios to record the Harmony Corruption album with hot producer Scott Burns.

Napalm Death during that era was a fast-moving and highly volatile entity- their rise from playing Birmingham pubs to sitting atop the UK Indie charts at number 1 was pretty meteoric, but this meant nothing to the newcomers, who were starting from scratch, but had pretty much walked into an already successful band and were given complete artistic freedom by Earache.

You should know that by 1989-90 the UK scene was awash with a ton of early Napalm Death sound-alikes, much to the bands annoyance. Since Mick and Shane have always prided themselves on being musically progressive, exploring new sounds and never standing still, pushing forward with new sounds comes as second nature. The fact is that the contemporary Florida death metal scene, led by Death, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Obituary & Massacre was just more exciting then say, crap like Sore Throat's endless joke-grind albums.

It was never actually intended that they piss off and alienate the early grindcore fans who had helped Napalm Death acheive their fame and career, however the album charted at 67 on the UK national Charts- which made it the first extreme metal album to chart- this meant the fans did appreciate it, and very much validated their decision.

As for their post-Earache output, I've not been that bothered to follow the band, but musically at least, either by design or accident, it seems the penny dropped because they immediately 'returned to form' making a succession of albums of intense blasting grind for a variety of new labels, which is all the fans wanted all along. Their longevity has meant they have proven themselves to be not only the originators but also the longest serving stalwarts of the scene they single-handedly created all those years ago.