10 Game Changing Releases From Earache Records
An earache worth having!
Entombed – Wolverine Blues
On Left Hand Path – and its follow-up Clandestine – Sweden’s Entombed proved that not only could they pen a great tune but at a time when Pearl Jam et al were still in ascendance – and with the stylistic change represented by the Hollowman EP – they were sending a clear message to the Death Metal community; evolve or die! Soon after, Wolverine Blues dropped and Entombed’s master plan fully revealed itself.
Concise and groovy – they would later coin the term Death n’ Roll – Wolverine Blues came loaded with memorable riffs and catchy breakdowns. Here was a band who didn’t need to use brutality to mask poor song writing and though it contained a few nods to straight up Death Metal, it was the taut curves of the incredible “Hollowman”, “Rotten Soil” and the titular track that elevated it to classic status.
Current inter-band squabbles may have diluted Entombed/Entombed A.D’s ferocity but Wolverine Blues remains a game-changing example of the merits to following your own path.
Morbid Angel – Altars Of Madness
Morbid Angel define Death Metal’s adventurous spirit and in 1989 offered the landmark that is Altars Of Madness; the first of their staggering run of albums for Earache. They came on like Slayer on speed, looked like proper rock stars and could out-play pretty much any of their peers and with one stroke all but announced the death of Thrash and the arrival of a new form of extremity.
The tape trading scene brought Morbid Angel to Earache’s attention and represented a game-changer for the label. Here was their first partnership with a band with roots outside the UK Punk/Grind scene and what a fruitful partnership it would turn out to be!. Indeed, Digby must have taken the potential of these Floridians incredibly seriously as he travelled to Tampa to spend time with them and was ultimately credited as co-producer on the album.
Altars Of Madness came furnished with adornments that would come to be expected of the genre – virtuoso guitar playing and inhumanly quick drumming forming the core of their sound – but it was the quality of the songs, not least the genre defining “Immortal Rites” and “Chapel Of Ghouls”, that cemented Altars place in the annals of Metal history.
Al Dawson regards Altars Of Madness as an all-time classic (as do we) and he still gets pleasure from seeing a new audience discover its treasures each year; a pattern that looks to continue for the foreseeable future.
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