Right, we’ve arrived at the final day of our retrospective of 25 years of Earache Records, and today we’re catching up with some of the young guns passing through the label in recent years (as well as a pair of oldies). Today we’re hitting Municipal Waste, Deicide, Evile, Wormrot, and Cerebral Bore.
Remember guys, we’ve got some rules for this list –
1) Only one album per year of the label’s existence.
2) Only one album per band.
2007: Municipal Waste – The Art Of Partying
We’ll come out and say it – not only did Municipal Waste reach the peak of their career with The Art of Partying, but the whole micro-genre of Party Thrash hit its peak with it too. No brains, no flash, no fucks given and no prisoners taken, The Art of Partying is as Ronseal a record as they come. This isn’t a record that you put on for a quiet evening of backgammon and a couple of glasses of brandy; this is a record you put on when you’re chugging a keg of bargain-booze beer and picking fights with your best friends, only to hug it out over yet another keg of even-more-bargain beer even before your bloody noses have stopped bleeding. From Earache’s perspective, Municipal Waste were an important signing in building their neo-thrash label identity that they seemed to be wielding during this period. Whatever: start drinking, stick this on, start partying.
2008: Deicide – Til Death Do Us Part
When Deicide left Roadrunner Records following a decade on the label (which by this point neither band or label felt the other was a suitable fit for them anymore), it was Earache Records that picked up Glen Benton and co. The move seemed to give Deicide a much-needed shot in the arm after the frankly abysmal In Torment In Hell (their final studio release for Roadrunner). Their next two albums, Scars of the Crucifix and The Stench of Redemption, were both steps in the right direction, but it wasn’t until 2008’s Til Death Do Us Part that the band truly returned to their malignant best. Being a successful label isn’t always about signing new and fresh talent – sometimes it’s about giving old talent the juice it needs to succeed again.
2009: Evile – Infected Nations
The second Evile album is an important one for many reasons. With Evile as arguably the jewel among the series of neo-thrash bands that Earache picked up in the second half of the last decade, the band were the label’s rising stars. However, shortly after this, their second album, hit the shelves, the band was struck by tragedy when their founding bassist, Mike Alexander, died of a pulmonary embolism (i.e., a blood clot on the lungs). Infected Nations took on a new dimension, as the tours in support of the album effectively became tribute shows for the band’s former bassist.
We caught up with Evile drummer, Ben Carter, to pick his brain regarding his memories of recording Infected Nations:
“For me personally, Infected Nations was a really important album in our career, one which we needed to get out of our system – not least because of the fact we worked so hard to maintain our thrash element we hit everyone with on our debut album, but also because we knew we had to try something different to be able to stand out and be different. The styles of song-writing from the first to the second album was immensely different; there was much more maturity, more depth and more complicated song structure. This was something we were very keen to get over, that we weren’t just your typical party-thrash band. We wanted to explore everything we could to its fullest before moving forward to the next track, and it was the first time we’d had the opportunity to be so analytical as a band, and take time to actually write for an album.
“I’ll always remember Mike and I struggling to get the timings right in the end part of ‘Devoid of Thought’, or the pissing rain whilst we had the photoshoot for the inlay card. I love that photo; it just embodies everything that we were trying to get over about the bleakness of society at that time, and the way the tracks felt. I remember Digby [Pearson, head of Earache Records] hearing the album for the first time and commenting that somehow we’d written ‘Album #3’ before ‘Album #2’, which suggests we’d maybe strayed too far from our first album’s sound and demeanor.
“I’d like to think we excelled ourselves and proved we’re capable of more than just 200bpm thrash. Maybe one day we’ll go back and write that ‘Album #2’….”
2010: Wormrot – Abuse
As we collide with 2010, we’re heading full circle with Earache Records returning to grindcore – the genre they started it with way back in the 1980s. Wormrot, a Singaporean grind outfit, were signed by Digby Pearson after he heard them on a mixtape posted on Invisible Oranges – an event that in itself showed that Earache wasn’t running scared of the internet like so many other labels, but instead looking at the internet as a resource to be exploited for the commercial good of the label.
We caught up with Arif from the band to ask what his memories were of the recording sessions for Abuse:
“Abuse was probably our most “relaxed” producing album in our history. No datelines, no pressure whatsoever. We took our time rehearsing, amending, modifications and whatnot. Rasyid provided the riffs while Fitri added on colors to the whole track. We did some minor – sometimes major – adjustments until all of us were satisfied. Pretty much like what every band does in the studio I’m sure. Nothing out of the ordinary really. The recording was smooth sailing.
“Everything went great with the mixing. I did the mastering and the vocal tracking at home just so we could save some cash like we always do for almost every releases. We had no expectations after Abuse was released and were blown away by the overwhelming feedback and supports. For a debut, it was a great stepping stone for us and we’re definitely grateful knowing we had gone through tons of obstacles on forming the band in the first place. Abuse means a lot to us and never have we ignore tracks from that particular album to play live up to this day.”
2011: Cerebral Bore – Maniacal Miscreation
And so we come full circle – with Earache once again putting out some of the dirtiest, nastiest-sounding music in heavy music today. Sure, Cerebral Bore’s pig-squeal no-subject-too-nasty gore-metal might not be as influential as Napalm Death’s proto-grind crust of 25 years ago proved to be, but that an independent label can keep putting out such horrible, awesome noise after such a long run is an incredible thing. Sadly, last week seems to have seen Cerebral Bore’s frontwoman, Som Pluijmers, quit the band under particularly acrimonious circumstances on both sides, which means that Maniacal Miscreation will almost certainly be the only album from this particular line-up of the band, but this is death metal: replacing a vocalist (as Cerebral Bore are currently doing – at least on a temporary basis – with Shawn Whitaker from Viral Load/Insidious Decrepancy) is hardly a band-killer. We’re looking forward to seeing what Cerebral Bore do next – in just the same way that we’re excited to see what their label, Earache Records does next. Ahhh, ending our retrospective with some synchronicity. NICE.
Well, that’s it – that’s the end of our Earache Records retrospective. We’ve (hopefully) got at least one other Very Special Something in the pipeline still to come to celebrate Earache’s birthday, but for the time being, revisit the rest of our retrospective (woah, that’s a lot of backwards-looking in a single sentence) – here’s Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of our list.