Thursday, May 24, 2012

Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore, by Albert Mudrian

(pb; 2004: non-fiction. Introduction by John Peel.)

From the back cover:

"In 1986, it was unimaginable that death metal and grindcore would ever impact popular culture. Yet this barbaric amalgam of hardcore punk and heavy metal would define the musical threshold of extremity for years to come. Initially circulated through an underground tape-trading network by scraggly, angry young boys, death metal and grindcore spread faster than a plague of undead zombies as bands arose from every corner of the globe. By 1992, the genres' first legitimate label, Earache Records, had sold well over a million death metal and grindcore albums in the United States alone.

"Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore examines the rise, fall and resurrection of death metal and grindcore through the eyes and ringing ears of the artists, producers, and label owners who propelled the movements. 'I thought of death metal and grindcore as a return to extreme punk,' says John Peel. 'This music was another step in the outlaw territory beyond any aggressive music heard before.'"


Entertaining and informatory delineation of these "extreme" music scenes, which appeared in the mid-Eighties, and have continued, on and off the mainstream radar, to influence today's high-profile bands (e.g., Slipknot, who incorporate these elements in their genre miscible songs).

Bands like Master, Napalm Death, Arch Enemy, Carcass, Godflesh, Morbid Angel, Nile, Cannibal Corpse, Bolt Thrower, Dark Tranquility and others are part of this storied past and present, one the that has not-so-quietly mutated its way into the mainstream.

Worthwhile read for those interested in underground/extreme music, heavy metal or evolving subculture dynamics.

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