This made me think about how much I have missed out on over the years. So recently I went on a quest to 'fill the gaps' of things I missed whilst growing up. I have been trying to understand how certain pieces of the musical puzzle fit together.
Much of what I found didn't fit the mould of what I liked at the time and a few releases just passed me by; possibly because of lack of distribution or crappy record covers (more on that in another blog post).
None of these are really 'hidden secrets' and some have even been reissued by prominent labels. Maybe if I heard them at the time I wouldn't have understood them. Maybe they wouldn't have had such a high rotation or impact on me as much as they do now.
Regardless, this is my list of bands/records that I wish I knew about…or even understood at an early age.
Sarcófago - I.N.R.I (1987)
Whilst the photos are quite laughable by today’s standards (although I think they aged better than the Atomic Rooster bondage leather shots) I am sure at the time it was extremely shocking.
You can almost feel the future generations of black metal and “blackened (insert genre here)” being forged with this album.
The transitions between verse/chorus/other parts of the songs are quite sloppy which gives somewhat of a weird menacing uneasy feeling. This is awesomely amplified by the various vocal effects and the raw drumming.
Anyway, a lot of bands owe Sarcófago for trying to bump it up notch. There were plenty other amazing heavy releases at this time but the intensity and atmosphere on this album were amazing.
Repulsion - Horrified (1986)
This is one of those albums that seems to be reissued again and again…and with good cause. Such awesome pace with 80s death metal and hardcore punk sensibilities. There only seems to be one gear with no slowing down, but somehow each song is still very interesting.
I used to rewind Autopsy’s “Bonesaw” 100 times to get this feel, but this is a whole freaking album of it with awesome not-overly-growled vocals.
It was their only full length release which sucks because they would have aged nicely.
Asphyx - Last One on Earth (1992)
Awesome Dutch Death Doom (I guess that’s what the kids would call it, I would call it Awesome Dutch Slow Death). This guy’s voice is so tortured; I feel it was actually going to be his last day on earth.
Lots of variety and pace changes with many parts making it hard to seem ‘respectable’ at work; transitioning from slow windmills into head banging at my desk.
I certainly would have played this a lot back in the day, and it might have even replaced Slowly We Rot by Obituary as there is a darker bleaker feel to it.
I can’t help but give it more bonus points because Martin van Drunen who sang/played bass on the unreal Pestilence album Consuming Impulse left Pestilence to join Asphyx.
Actually while you are reading this, check out early Pestilence stuff…but stop before you get to Spheres unless you like jazz concepts, proto-djent and synths.
Anyway here is the full Asphyx album:
Excruciating Terror - Divided We Fall (1997)
Excruciating terror is one of those bands that seemed to be categorised differently by so many people. By the 4th or 5th time I heard the phrase “crusty bands like Excruciating Terror…” I think I had made up my mind that they were something I wouldn’t enjoy.
Listening to it while I write this and I am kicking myself that I was so short sighted…but happy I can enjoy it now. Every review you read will describe them as being from a different genre, but does it really matter?
Whatever the hell it is, it’s a rip snorter. Fast, short and socially aware.
Dystopia - Human=Garbage (1994)
This one was really out of my realm. If it weren’t for re-discovering the split with Grief I don’t think I would have backtracked.
This is so bleak. Well, the lyrics and vocals are (the usage of clean guitars with chorus and reverb effects SOMETIMES takes away from the despair for me). There is so much pain it ALMOST contends with No Comment's Downsided EP…almost.
It certainly isn’t a ‘pick me up’ album so I can only listen to it occasionally, but it’s very well-crafted and has definitely earned a place alongside Noosebomb, Grief and Noothgrush for the dark times.
Insane Youth - Rest in Piece (1993-2000)
How on earth did I miss this band? That awesome late 80’s/early 90’s hardcore punk pace with a vocalist that sounds like a mix between Dan O’Mahoney (Carry Nation/No For an Answer) and Choke (Slapshot, Negative FX, Last Rites, etc, etc)...but even gruffer.
There are lots of little nods and hat raises to various songs and bands from that era, but it still comes off as a very sincere, unique band. In fact I would go as far to say that this destroys so many bands I like from that era; angrier and harder than the straight edge bands at that time, less dicking around than most of the other bands. Only drawback is the lyrics/vocals aren’t really distinguishable.
Of course there is so much more. The list is endless.
This is just a taste of what really caught me by surprise. It may be old news to you but hopefully it will inspire you to look back and give a lot of old releases a second go.