Fear, Emptiness, Decibel: Choosing Dig
Before there were blogs there were these things called magazines, and the only metal magazine we still get excited about reading every month is Decibel. Here’s managing editor Andrew Bonazelli…
We all like to piss and moan when the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences fails to award the Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal/Nü-Metal With Dubstep Elements Grammy to Rotting Christ, so let’s take a moment to give props to an extremely extreme award done right. On September 1, the Association of Independent Music awarded Earache Records pioneer Digby Pearson with their prestigious—you guessed it—Pioneer Award. Lest you think they hand these out to any old prominent metal dude, a ceremony publicist quoted in The Independent commented, “It was certainly an unusual choice, but very popular.”
Most of you know that Nottingham native Pearson created the very appropriately named Earache in his bedroom with assistance from the Thatcher administration’s Government Enterprise Allowance Scheme, the nucleus that launched a rollercoaster ride of police raids, major label misadventures, and some of the most influential extreme music ever. If you don’t know any of that, shame on you; get un-shamed by learning that and shit-tons more in the revised and expanded hardcover of Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore. We won’t be reprinting once this very limited initial run sells out, so this is a great opportunity to bone up on death metal’s most notorious soap opera—a soap opera that at one point included the VP of A&R at Columbia Records thinking that, according to RED’s Alan Becker, “these avant garde metal records and walls of sound with guys screaming hysterical—he thinks this is the future of rock.” Spoiler alert: this story doesn’t have the happiest ending; the next Metallica did not, in fact, come from Earache, despite what Pearson’s lawyers told him.
Speaking of lawyers, the extremely strained relationships between Pearson and members of Earache’s earliest bands like Napalm Death, Carcass and Entombed—also chronicled in Choosing Death—clouds the label’s history to this day, but it’s hard to deny Pearson credit as the man who brought extreme metal to the masses.