Top 10 Albums on Earache Records

In 1985, Digby Pearson started Earache Records from his bedroom in a shared house in Nottingham, as a way to champion bands in the burgeoning UK underground scene.

Using money from the Thatcher government’s Enterprise Allowance Scheme – a scheme which offered unemployed workers £40 a week if they started their own business – Pearson funneled his money into the label and gave extreme music a home .

“To be perfectly clear, I’m not a fan of Margaret Thatcher – neither are the bands,” he told The Independent almost three decades later. “Their songs railed against his kind of corporate values ​​– even if the shrill, deafening lyrics were unintelligible.”

In the years following the first official release of Earache – The Accüsed’s 1986 album The return of Martha Splatterhead – they helped lead the grindcore scene and introduced crust, metal and thrash into their roster. Later, the label held stages at Glastonbury and Boomtown Festival, and even briefly teamed up with Sony subsidiary Columbia, leading to some of the biggest major label releases of all time.

It’s an iconic institution, and defining its history in a few albums is quite a task. But, after spending hours combing through their gargantuan catalog, we bring you their top 10 releases.

Napalm Death – From Slavery to Obliteration (1988)

Grindcore forebears Napalm Death have released their groundbreaking debut Foam in 1987, but their follow-up, From enslavement to annihilation, is the top album. The first album to feature bassist Shane Embury and their final recording with guitarist Bill Steer and vocalist Lee Dorian, this 1988 album expands on their scathing social and political polemic, wrapped in short, unforgiving sonic explosions. This version still sounds incredibly brutal and manic 35 years later.

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Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness (1989)

If we chose the best Earache disc of all time, then Altars of Madness could well be. Morbid Angel may not have invented death metal, but with their debut album they set the bar so high that the genre still frantically strives to achieve its majesty to this day. Trey Azagthoth’s endless riffing tornado, David Vincent’s inhuman and heartbreaking vocal performance and the album’s mysterious and obtuse themes create the perfect storm of extreme metal excellence. In effect, Immortal Rites, Labyrinth of Torment, Ghoul Chapel are songs entered into legend, making Altars of Madness a true classic.

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Godflesh – Street Cleaner (1989)

It’s hard to express how avant-garde and alien album like Garbage collector rang when released in 1989. Justin Broadrick left Napalm Death after recording the first side of their 1987 album Foam, swapping grindcore for something much more unsettling. In Godflesh, his inspiration was found in the damp, smog-laden grime of the city centre, Thatcher’s Britain and the dissonant sounds of Swans, Sonic Youth and Lou Reed. Music of metal machines. Garbage collector, their first full album, helped define industrial metal and inspired Fear Factory and Devin Townsend. Three decades later, it still seems perversely threatening.

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Carcass – Necroticism – Descanting the Insalubrious (1991)

While they would go on to add huge melody touches to their sound and inspire many modern metal bands with their 1993 classic work of heartwe still believe that Necroticism is Carcass’ best album. While not as immediate, but certainly more empowering, this release seems like the perfect line between the band’s grindcore past, a perfection of their death metal influences, and more progressive elements. The result is a sonic mix that remains uniquely Carcass, even when placed alongside versions from the modern era. Moreover, is Corporal Jigsore Quandary their most beautiful song? We say yes.

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Sleep – Sacred Mountain of Sleep (1992)

sacred mountain of sleep is a seminal album and remains the stoner metal genre’s single finest moment 30 years after it slipped out of the fragrant haze. The band’s second album is still truly amazing; heavy (obviously), woozy, psychedelic, chaotic and beautifully melodic, Sleep manages to ape all the things you love about Black Sabbath and turn them into something much meaner in less than an hour. Matt Pike’s riffs sound like they’re being played by a redneck Tony Iommi, bassist and vocalist Al Cisneros moans, chuckles, and slurs his way through the songs like he’s trying to be Geezer Butler and Lemmy at the same time. time, while drummer Chris Haikus beats his kit with such ferocity that it looks like it’s constantly on the verge of collapse. It’s a record that sounds like a bourbon hangover, an acid trip, and a hit on a fucking massive bang all rolled into one.

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Buried – Wolverine Blues (1993)

Swedish death metal bands Entombed had already established something of a singular style with their excellent debut pair of albums – left path (1990) and Clandestine (1991) – but with Wolverine Blues they defined a style of death and roll that would inspire an entire subgenre more than a decade later. With a guitar sound that sits somewhere between Kyuss and Discharge, dirty, filthy production that feels like putting your face in a festival toilet, the iconic, horrifying grimace of a late LG Petrov vocal style, everything is perfectly realized here on this 1993 effort. The band would continue to experiment with their sound, culminating in the weird punk art of the 1998s. same difference album, but looking at a track list that contains songs like Rotten Ground, Demon and Uncontrollable, it is impossible to argue against Wolverine Blues being their definitive statement.

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At the Gates – Soul Slaughter (1995)

What’s Incredible Soul Slaughter is that no matter how many times it’s been ripped off by other bands, this Swedish band’s iconic fourth album remains head and shoulders above those who have tried to replicate their potent blend of rhythm and melodies. wild. Frankly, none of these lucky melodic death metal or metalcore guys ever came close to doing that. It’s more than just an essential signpost for where the metal would go, it’s a perfect record with precisely zero fill-in in its 34-minute runtime.

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Iron Monkey – Our Problem (1998)

You could argue that Iron Monkey’s second album is actually the heaviest and most abrasive album on this list, which is quite an achievement considering the company he keeps here. Our problem is a repugnant disc, full of sick mud riffs, dizzying rhythmic drops, all crowned by the terrifying vocal performance of their legendary late leader Johnny Morrow. It sounds exactly like you’d expect a bunch of angry, nihilistic working-class northern British kids listening to Black Flag, Eyehategod and Melvins. The group was misunderstood and rejected when this masterpiece was released, but today Our problem is rightly considered a cult classic.

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The Haunted – Made Me Do It (2000)

The Haunted’s 1998 self-titled debut album caught the attention of metal fans who were beginning to tire of the simplicity of nu-metal. But on their follow-up Made me do it, this Swedish metal band has established itself as the best thrash band on the planet. As enigmatic as original vocalist Peter Dolving was, his replacement Marco Aro felt far better suited to the band, complementing the tight, relentless riffs of Patrik Jensen and Jonas Björler with his glorious sandpaper bark. hollow ground and the legendary Bury your dead remain some of the finest songs the band has ever recorded.

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Cult of Luna – Eternal Kingdom (2008)

By the time Cult of Luna’s fifth album arrived, people were starting to realize that this band was more than just a Neurosis clone, and instead was one of the few bands tasked with helping the post- metal to go through the necessary stages of evolution. With eternal kingdom, they introduced cleaner guitar hits, icy synths and a classic prog feel to their sound, without toning down the crushing heaviness they were known for. This 2008 effort, like all of the Swedes’ albums, is an exhilarating journey. They would no doubt continue to do their best work after leaving Earache, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this record is a sublime work of art.

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