WHO SHOULD EARACHE RECORDS SIGN NEXT?????
When I look back at the last twenty years, there is perhaps no more important musical entity in my life than England’s EARACHE RECORDS (srs). Back when I was a little kid on a quest to find the fastest, most cock-smashingly brutal music I could get my hands on, I stumbled across a copy of the legendary Grindcrusher compilation, and I’ve been hooked on death metal ever since. As my gateway to metal, Earache will always have a special place in my heart– and when you care for someone as I do for Earache, it hurts to see them lose their way, stumble, and fall as Earache did in the 90s and 00s. I had written them off as yet another band/label/artist who has a brief moment of brilliance, burns brightly, then fizzles out before dying in undignified circumstances [via Vincent Van Gogh]. But I am happy to report that I couldn’t be more wrong! Earach is back on the horse, stronger than ever, and signing more relevant, exciting bands than ever (srs).
In this post, I will briefly recap the label’s history in three sections to bring newer readers up to speed on Nottingham’s finest export. I will then share my thoughts on their current signings and solicit suggestions on which bands the label should sign next– hopefully Dig is reading!
Carcass circa 1989, before they turned into a crappy deathcore band
PHASE 1: CHAPEL OF GHOULS (1987-1992)
In the beginning, there was The Accüsed. That’s right, MOSH 1 was the debut LP from my hometown heros. Most readers are surely familiar with the rest of the bands and albums that Earache released over the next few years, because they are literally a who’s-who of classic death metal, a list of pioneering metal bands that will probably never be equaled: Morbid Angel, Terrorizer, Napalm Death, Carcass, Godflesh, Entombed, and Repulsion being some of the most notable. Younger readers may not be familiar with some of the lesser-known, but totally sick artists on Earache at the time such as Bolt Thrower, Spaztic Blurr, Carnage, Lawnmower Deth, Nocturnus, Unseen Terror, and OLD (Old Lady Drivers). Basically, you should buy a copy of Grindcrusher and research every band on there.
Earache actually had a very diverse lineup back then — they’re known these days as a metal label (and rightly so), but I think they also deserve a lot of credit for releasing so many great hardcore, grind and crust albums from genre legends like Extreme Noise Terror, Heresy and Concrete Sox. Also, MS readers who haven’t done so should check out Naked City, who were doing noisy, avant-garde jazz/metal/mathcore a full two decades ago (and were made up of legitimate jazz legends in their own right).
Not a bad start!!! But here’s the part in “Behind The Music” where the narrator says something about how things were about to take a tragic turn…
I know it’s kind of a cheap shot, but IMO signing porn director Matt Zane’s band Society 1 represents the absolute rock bottom for Earache — this is the A&R equivalent of waking up one morning in an abandoned building, pants around your ankles, with a greasy butthole and a $5 bill crumpled in your clammy palm
PHASE 2: RANDOM STUFF NOBODY REALLY LIKED (1993-2008)
In many ways, the hardest part of experiencing early success is following up on it, and Earache experienced their own “sophomore slump” during the 90s and well into the 00s. The death metal scene largely collapsed on itself after the massive glut of generic, shitty bands in the early 90s, and my guess is that they were trying to figure out what direction to take the label as hardcore, pop punk, ska, and other non-metal genres became more popular than Earache’s roster. Sadly, that direction ended up being “put out a bunch of boring records by weird bands nobody really cares about,” the vast majority of which are either forgotten or buried in the same landfill as all those copies of ET for Atari 2600.
I’m not trying to hate by any means, I just call it like I see it — Earache set the bar pretty fucking high for themselves with their first years, so a few missteps are to be expected. Just like you or I might look back on our teenage years and shake our heads with bewilderment (“Why did I let that strange guy talk me into doing that?! I guess there was just something intoxicating about his firm-yet-sensual touch that I couldn’t resist!”), my guess is that Dig and company have a similar reaction when they look at the floor-t0-ceiling stacks of CDs in their warehouse by the likes of Pitchshifter, Iron Monkey, The Berzerker, Misery Loves Co, and Adema.
Nobody bats 1000, and Earache is no different. But fortunately, they’ve picked themselves up and begun anew, with a roster that is their most exciting in 15+ years (srs).
The Browning = EPIC TRANCECORE
PHASE 3: THE FUTURE (2009-?????)
Bands like The Browning are the future of metal, and I am glad to see that the gang at Earache are embracing new genres like trancecore! It would be way easier to join the No Fun Club, release a bunch of meaningless albums by obscure grindcore bands nobody cares about, and fade into nothingness as they complain about Kids These Days, “the state of metal,” and spout other euphemisms for “I’m old and don’t know what the fuck is going on anymore.”
I’m sure most MetalSucks readers will get 10,000 kinds of butthurt about that statement, but that’s why you’ll never run a successful label — you’re too busy trying to be authentic and clinging to your increasingly-distant youth to see which way the wind is blowing. I’ve never run a label (I drive a limousine for a living, in case any of you ever wondered), but I can’t think of better bands for Earache to work with than BMTH, The Browning, and Oceano, in addition to their classic back catalog.
Hats off to the Earache crew for staying current — that’s the hardest part for ancient fossils like us. With that said, who do you think Earache should sign next?? Here’s a few of my suggestions, all Euros since Earache seems to like working with OECD residents — add yours and give Dig some ideas!
As I’ve mentioned before, I think easycore may be the Next Big Thing, and the UK’s Me Vs Hero are pretty great it- let’s just hope they don’t have another member die via falling off a ladder!
“In Friends We Trust” by Chunk No Captain Chunk is my favorite song of 2010 (thanks to Shawnyouwillhate for the heads up!). Now that A Day To Remember suck, CNCC might be the best easycore band on the planet??
I wonder if Danny Dyer likes TRC?? Or maybe they’re the ones who like him. Either way, I can’t see Ross Kemp getting down with these guys; he’s probably into Seal and Coldplay. They might be idiots, but they know how to write a sick mosh riff and have a great look. Sign em!! (not sure if srs)
They’re currently signed to Rise, but Abandon All Ships could probably use some exposure to an audience that doesn’t mosh4christ, so Earache might be a good fit. For that matter, why not sign Attack Attack?? They are leading the dubstepcore revolution, which is the next Next Big Thing IMO.
Finally, I know it’s going to be hard to compete with All Around The World in a bidding war (thanks to all the cash from N-Dubz and Cascada), but I feel like there is a place for some donk in the Earache catalog. If that doesn’t work, maybe Dig can at least chime in and give us his take on the shuffle vs. jumpstyle debate!
What is your favorite Earache band/album of all time? Which label was better, Roadrunner, Earache, or Wild Rags?? Why didn’t the Unseen Terror LP get more popular? Can you think of a more embarrassing band than Society 1?!? What is better, jumpstyle or easycore???
Help Sergeant D. supplement the wages he earns as a limo driver by visiting Stuff You Will Hate.