The word “extreme” gets thrown around a lot in the metal world. At this point in history, it might feel like every conceivable limit has been pushed. That hasn’t always been the case. Here are the ten most important and innovative extreme records ever.
Carcass – Reek Of Putrefaction
This is goregrind. Inspired by his work in Napalm Death, Bill Steer set out to create an extreme punk record with a focus on medical horrors. Due to a general naivete about the recording process, Reek Of Putrefaction was not what Carcass wanted or expected. The band might have hated its sloppy fidelity, but the muddy production gave birth to exciting and disgusting possibilities nonetheless.
Beherit – Drawing Down the Moon
A landmark in the second wave of black metal, Drawing Down the Moon occupies a different, more sinister space to what these Finnish teens counterparts in Norway were up to. A unique synthesis of war metal and dark ambient that sounds completely removed from humanity. Drawing Down the Moon is every bit as influential and essential as In the Nightside Eclipse or De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, but its experimental nature transcends all genre confines.
Devourment – Molesting the Decapitated
The first and one of the best slam records of all time, Molesting the Decapitated not only created the template but set the benchmark for the entire genre. Absolutely disgusting vocals, relentless drumming, and sinister mid paced crushing riffs set Molesting The Decapitated apart from the gore and pornogrind records of the time. A terrifying, sickening experience. This is SLAM!
Discharge – Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing
A band so important that an entire genre is named after them, Discharge paved the way for hardcore, thrash, grind, crust, and death metal, possibly more than any band before them. Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing is a revolutionary masterpiece of unrelenting brutality that took punk in a completely new direction and inadvertently gave birth to extreme metal.
Stalaggh – Projekt Misanthropia
Little is known of Stalaggh, but word on the street over the years is that it’s a collaboration between several members of the Belgian and Dutch black metal scenes. If the legends are true, a member of Stalaggh who works in the mental health profession, and the vocals on Projekt Misanthropia are field recordings of his patients. When combined with elements of power electronics and harsh, disembodied guitar work, it becomes a unique exercise in extremes (even if the rumors aren’t true).
Siege – Drop Dead
Seeking to subvert the burgeoning straight edge hardcore scene and drawing as much influence from Motörhead as Minor Threat, Siege’s goal was to play faster and harder than everyone else. Their emphasis on speed set the groundwork for grind, noisecore, and powerviolence. Truly brutal, relentless hardcore and the aural equivalent to getting jumped.
Thergothon – Stream From The Heavens
Finland’s Thergothon were among the first to take elements of death metal and doom to weave a tapestry of boundless sorrow. The beginning of funeral doom, the band forgoes blunt force brutality for the sake of ambience, leading to a devastating journey through abject misery. Awe inspiring meditations on the void.
Mortician – Hacked Up For Barbeque
Heavy metal and horror movies are like peanut butter and jelly. Combined, it’s a fun and delicious treat that makes so much sense together that they have become synonymous with each other. Mortician are a perfectly rendered peanut butter and jelly sandwich if there ever was one. Brutal movie samples and brutal songs are a gleeful match made in hell.
Confuse – Indignation
Relentless brutal noisecore assault! Acute sonic violence in its rawest form, this is all impossibly harsh guitars, impossibly harsh rhythms, and impossibly harsh vocals to the point where one element becomes entirely indistinguishable from the next. If you like riffs this is NOT for you, but if you like your music to feel like a trip through a woodchipper then dive right in!
Last Days Of Humanity – Putrefaction In Progress
The modern template for noise infused goregrind, Putrefaction In Progress is the gold standard of gross. Micro-bursts of incomprehensible guitars, breakneck drums, and horrendously pitch-shifted vocals make this an essential exercise in crystalized aggression. For those of us who love music so much that we hate it and want it to die.