Thrash Hits

October 21st, 2009

Album: Grind Madness at the BBC

Napalm Death 1990 promo photo Thrash Hits

Grind Madness at the BBC
Earache Records
12 October 2009

by Hugh Platt

You’ll either get Grind Madness at the BBC or you won’t. You can’t review a compilation as like this – you can only hold it up to people’s faces and blast it into people’s ears till they get the hint and part with the required amount of cold hard cash to make it part of their life, or they curl up and die in a noise-induced heap.

Grind Madness at the BBC cover artwork packshot Thrash Hits

It’s been almost exactly five years since the death of John Peel, and his influence on British radio is missed more than ever. As radio shows become either more niche or more slavishly tied to the station playlists, Peel remained the only place on UK radio where you could hear black metal one minute, and latin samba the next. The man had no agenda beyond playing whatever music he thought he audience ought to hear – and in the late 1980s/early 1990s, that included a good whack of fierce-as-fuck metal.

The first half of CD1 is taken up by Napalm Death’s infamous Peel Sessions, which have already been released a number of times since they were first broadcast. Obviously connoisseurs of grind might feel somewhat cheated, paying once again for a set of recordings they will no doubt already own in some form or another, but Earache couldn’t very well not include them. To release a Peel grind compilation without Napalm Death would be like making a Full English Breakfast without the bacon. Sure, you can do it, but it’s plain to everyone that a key ingredient was missing.

Okay, okay – calling it Grind Madness at the BBC is ever so slightly disingenuous – there’s no way Godlfesh could ever be considered a ‘grind’-band, but the compilation is all the stronger for Justin Broadwick’s band’s inclusion. The the ominous, steamroller industrial crush of Godflesh’s session is one of the real highlights of this archive material.

The other sessions – courtesy of Carcass, Bolt Thrower, Heresy, Extreme Noise Terror, Intense Degree and Unseen Terror – all embody some aspect of early grindcore. Although critics of the genre like to claim that grindcore has shown little progression over the years, Grind Madness at the BBC shows quite the opposite. Compared to the noise-heavy direction grindcore has found itself charging in in recent years, Extreme Noise Terror and Heresy’s contributions to Grind Madness highlight its early incarnation as a hellish distortion of hardcore punk. The goregrind of Carcass, the flat0out extremism of Unseen Terror, and the thrashier style of early Bolt Thrower all shade another facet of grind.

Listen to the first Napalm Death Peel Session on Grind Madness at the BBC

Grind Madness at the BBC captures so much about what was good and what has been lost in both British metal and mainstream British radio broadcasting. We shouldn’t need to tell anyone how important John Peel was to British Music in the 30+ years he was BBC – but this compilation really rams that fact home. Can you imagine Zane Lowe shipping in a band for a session in 2009 that are as heavy and as trailblazing as Napalm were in 1987? Can you even imagine Daniel P Carter and The Rock Show doing it?

Sure, the world has changed, moved on – experimental radio shows are no longer the main conduit that new music uses to catch the ears of the general populace. The whole internet is a barking mad wolf of experimental noises, each one screeching louder for a moment of your time – listener choice and listener power have never been stronger, and we can only applaud that fact. But that also means we’ll never again have a framework where the barebones of an artifact as purely brutal as Grind Madness at the BBC can take shape. And for that reason alone, we can’t help but feel just a little bit nostalgic for the era this compilation was recorded during, before everyone had a bloody MySpace page.

You owe it to yourself to seek this compilation out.

Unrateable/6 – you either get grindcore, or you don’t

Sounds like: a lost radio culture where ratings were irrelevant
Top tracks: From Enslavement To Obliteration, Like Rats, Into The Grey

Various – Grind Madness at the BBC tracklisting
CD 1
Napalm Death – The Kill
Napalm Death – Prison Without Walls
Napalm Death – Dead
Napalm Death – Deceiver
Napalm Death – Lucid Fairytale
Napalm Death – In Extremis
Napalm Death – Blind To The Truth
Napalm Death – Negative Approach
Napalm Death – Common Enemy
(above recorded 13 August 1987, broadcast 22 August 1987)

Napalm Death – Obstinate Direction
Napalm Death – Life?
Napalm Death – You Suffer Pt.2
Napalm Death – Multi National Corporations
Napalm Death – Instinct Of Survival
Napalm Death – Stigmatized
Napalm Death – Parasites
Napalm Death – Moral Crusade
Napalm Death – Worlds Apart
Napalm Death – M.A.D.
Napalm Death – Divine Death
Napalm Death – C.S.
Napalm Death – Control
Napalm Death – Walls
Napalm Death – Raging In Hell
Napalm Death – Conform Or Die
Napalm Death – S.O.B.
(above recorded 08 March 1988, broadcast 20 April 1988)

Napalm Death – Unchallenged Hate
Napalm Death – Mentally Murdered
Napalm Death – From Enslavement To Obliteration
Napalm Death – Suffer The Children
Napalm Death – Retreat To Nowhere
Napalm Death – Scum
Napalm Death – Deceiver
Napalm Death – Social Sterility
(above recorded 12 August 1990, broadcast 10 September 1990)

Extreme Noise Terror – False Profit
Extreme Noise Terror – Another Nail In The Coffin
Extreme Noise Terror – Use Your Mind
Extreme Noise Terror – Carry On Screaming
Extreme Noise Terror – Human Error
Extreme Noise Terror – Conned Through Life
Extreme Noise Terror – Only In It For The Music Part 2
Extreme Noise Terror – Take The Strain
(above recorded 10 November 1987, broadcast 17 November 1987)

Extreme Noise Terror – Murder
Extreme Noise Terror – No Threat
Extreme Noise Terror – Show Us You Care
Extreme Noise Terror – Propaganda
Extreme Noise Terror – System Enslavement
Extreme Noise Terror – Only In It For The Music Part 3
(above recorded 01 May 1988, broadcast 11 May 1988)

Extreme Noise Terror – Work For Never
Extreme Noise Terror – Subliminal Music (Mind Control)
Extreme Noise Terror – People Not Profit
Extreme Noise Terror – Punk Fact Or Faction
Extreme Noise Terror – I Am A Bloody Fool
Extreme Noise Terror – In It For Life
Extreme Noise Terror – Deceived
Extreme Noise Terror – Shock Treatment
(above recorded 06 February 1990, broadcast 08 March 1990)

CD 2
Carcass – Crepitating Bowel Erosion
Carcass – Slash Dementia
Carcass – Cadaveric Incubator Of Endo Parasites
Carcass – Reek Of Putrefaction
(above recorded 13 December 1988, broadcast 02 January 1989)

Carcass – Empathological Necroticism
Carcass – Foeticide
Carcass – Fermenting Innards
Carcass – Exhume To Consume
(above recorded 02 December 1990, broadcast 16 December 1990)

Bolt Thrower – Forgotten Existence
Bolt Thrower – Attack In The Aftermath
Bolt Thrower – Psychological Warfare
Bolt Thrower – In Battle There Is No Law
(above recorded 03 January 1988, broadcast 13 January 1988)

Bolt Thrower – Drowned In Torment
Bolt Thrower – Eternal War
Bolt Thrower – Realm Of Chaos
Bolt Thrower – Domination
(above recorded 06 November 1988, broadcast 16 November 1988)

Bolt Thrower – Destructive Infinity
Bolt Thrower – Warmaster
Bolt Thrower – After Life
Bolt Thrower – Lost Souls Domain
(above recorded 22 July 1990, broadcast 04 September 1990)

CD 3
Godflesh – Tiny Tears
Godflesh – Wound (Not Wound)
Godflesh – Pulp
Godflesh – Like Rats
(above recorded 27 August 1989, broadcast 27 September 89)

Unseen Terror – Incompatible
Unseen Terror – Burned Beyond Recognition
Unseen Terror – Oblivion Descends
Unseen Terror – Divisions
Unseen Terror – Voice Your Opinion
Unseen Terror – Strong Enough To Change
Unseen Terror – Odie’s Revenge
Unseen Terror – It’s My Life
(above recorded 22 March 1988, broadcast 11 April 1988)

Heresy – Flowers (In Concrete)
Heresy – Belief
Heresy – Network Of Friends
Heresy – Sick Of Stupidity
Heresy – Too Slow To Judge
Heresy – A Sense Of Freedom
(above recorded 26 July 1987, broadcast 03 August 1987)

Heresy – Consume
Heresy – Face Up To It
Heresy – Into The Grey
Heresy – When Unity Becomes Solidarity
Heresy – The Street Enters The House
Heresy – Cornered Rat
Heresy – Open Up
(above recorded 01 March 1988, broadcast 09 March 1988)

Heresy – Everyday Madness Everyday
Heresy – Break The Connection
Heresy – Ghettoised
Heresy – Network Ends
Heresy – Release
Heresy – Genocide
(above recorded 10 January 1989, broadcast 18 January 1989)

Intense Degree – Hangin’ On
Intense Degree – Vagrants
Intense Degree – Skate-Bored
Intense Degree – Intense Degree
Intense Degree – All The Guys
Intense Degree – Daydreams
Intense Degree – Take No Chances
Intense Degree – Future Shock
Intense Degree – Politician
Intense Degree – Allegiance
Intense Degree – Bursting
(above recorded 28 February 1988, broadcast 15 March 1988)