A hardcore holocaust from the Peel Sessions archives.
Greg Moffitt 2009
Featuring a mind-boggling 118 tracks across three discs, this compilation brings together some of the most extreme music ever recorded for John Peel’s legendary BBC Radio 1 show. With a mass of ground-breaking material from 1987-90, this is the single most comprehensive history of grindcore ever released.
Peel’s relentless quest for the cutting edge took him to places where lesser DJs feared to tread. In the mid- to late-80s, his quixotic journey led him to discover an emerging wave of new UK bands taking punk, hardcore and metal influences to a new extreme. Dubbed grindcore, their distorted, hypersonic outbursts laid the groundwork for some of the most uncompromising music of our age.
Napalm Death weren’t the first OTT hardcore outfit to be championed by Peel, but they were by far the fastest and easily the most influential. All manner of extreme hardcore and metal was later inspired by their pioneering noise. The band’s first Peel session, recorded in September 1987, was a whirlwind of speed and sonic chaos. With tracks such as The Kill and Dead clocking in at around three seconds and ten seconds respectively, nothing quite like it had been heard before. Two further Napalm Death sessions are included here and are mandatory listening for those interested in the genesis of today’s extreme metal scene.
Disc one also features sessions by Extreme Noise Terror, the high-velocity hardcore band who famously performed 3 a.m. Eternal with The KLF at 1992’s Brit Awards. Like Napalm Death, their vitriol was directed at the military-industrial complex and the evils of corporate control.
The second disc opens with two sessions of crude grindcore/death metal from Carcass, who subsequently cleaned up their sound and became one of death metal’s most important innovators. With song titles like Crepitating Bowel Erosion and Reek of Putrefaction, they steered clear of politics, preferring instead to explore a mire of nightmarish gore.
Bolt Thrower’s rumbling, bottom-heavy death metal rounds out disc two, making way for a diverse final disc featuring Godflesh’s industrial noise metal, Unseen Terror’s metallic grindcore and a return to straightforward hardcore with Heresy and Intense Degree. With comprehensive liner notes from Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris, an explosive chapter in UK music history finally has a tribute worth the name.