What happens when Earache Records signs a hardcore techno DJ based on the strengths of their remixes of Morbid Angel and Deicide tracks and then lets said DJ record a metal album? The answer is The Berzerker’s pulverizing self-titled debut recording, which turns twenty years old today and still stands as a pillar of wildly creative what-the-fuckery in the annals of extreme music.
I remember the first time I went to Amoeba Music’s Hollywood location like it was yesterday. It was actually 2006; I was interning for Metal Blade Records and living in Simi Valley, CA. I had the day off and I was itching for adventure after being stuck in an office all week, so I decided to take a commuter train down to Hollywood for the express purpose of visiting one of the largest record stores in the world.
Followers of the mysterious Texan black metal cult known as Nyogthaeblisz have been anticipating their debut full length ever since it was first announced several years ago; it had gotten to the point where many were questioning whether or not it would ever see the light of day, especially given the lack of regular updates and the “controversy” that has swirled around the band in the intervening years. But on December 27, 2019 the duo at last dropped the sickening slab of extreme noise terror that is Abrahamic Godhead Besieged by Adversarial Usurpation.
In terms of new releases, 2019 was pretty damn dire. But in spite of the rampant mediocrity, I did manage to find a small handful of releases that were truly outstanding and can more than hold their own against the best this dying decade has to offer. So without further ado and in no particular order, here are the five albums that stuck with me throughout the year…
Over the past few years, I’ve written a bit about Release Entertainment, the long-defunct sub-label of Relapse Records that was dedicated to releasing a variety of experimental music ranging from noise to dark ambient to death industrial and beyond. It got me thinking about which entries in Release’s sizable catalog were my absolute favorites, which in turn lead me to satisfy my obsession with making lists. So without further ado and in chronological order, here are my five favorite albums released under the Release Entertainment banner.
A few years back, I wrote a piece about Release Entertainment, the long lost sub-label of Relapse Records dedicated to experimental sounds of all kinds, from dark ambient to noise to death industrial. One of the the most extreme albums to come out under the Release banner was Merzbow’s Venereology, a salvo of pure, corrosive sound that would serve as a gateway for many metalheads (including yours truly) into the world of harsh noise. I previously bemoaned the fact that Relapse seems to have no interest in preserving the legacy of Release Entertainment, but perhaps they’ve come to their senses at least somewhat, because in honor of Venereology‘s twenty-fifth anniversary, they’re giving the album a rather lavish-looking vinyl reissue, replete with remastered sound and re-touched artwork, as well as three previously unreleased bonus tracks.
Slam is one of the most over-the-top subgenres of metal and they don’t come any more absurdly OTT than Taipei City, Taiwan’s Gorepot. The brainchild of ubiquitous slam god Larry Wang (Facelift Deformation, Fatuous Rump, Guttural Corpora Cavernosa, Maggot Colony, Umbilical Asphyxia, Coprocephalic, Fat Tub of Lard Records), Asian Stoned Effect is the band’s seventh album and it’s also one of the most ri-goddamn-diculous slamming death metal albums you’re ever going to hear.