Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore

Last updated
Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal and Grindcore
Choosing Death (book cover).png
Author Albert Mudrian
Cover artist Dan Seagrave
Country United States
Language English, Italian (2009 [1] ), German, French, Finnish, Spanish
Subject Death metal and grindcore
Genre Music
Publisher Bazillion Points
Published in English
2016
Media type Print
Pages 400
ISBN 978-1-935950-16-5
Preceded byOriginal version (published in 2004 by Feral House; now out of print)

Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal & Grindcore is a book by Albert Mudrian, the founding editor-in-chief of Decibel , a monthly magazine devoted to heavy metal music. [2] The book was first published in 2004 by Feral House [3] and details the evolution of the death metal and grindcore musical genres, from its beginnings as a small subculture exchanging compact cassettes to a genre where some artists reach million-dollar sales. [4] A limited updated and expanded edition was published in hardcover in 2015 by Decibel Books. A further expanded and revised "death-luxe" edition was published in 2016 by Bazillion Points. [5]

Decibel is a monthly heavy metal magazine published by the Philadelphia-based Red Flag Media since October 2004. Its sections include Upfront, Features, Reviews, Guest Columns and the Decibel Hall of Fame. The magazine's tag-line is currently "Extremely Extreme" ; the editor-in-chief is Albert Mudrian.

Feral House is a book publisher owned and operated by Adam Parfrey, founded in 1989 and based in Port Townsend, Washington.

Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick and blast beat techniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes, and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion, occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.

The 2016 edition includes forewords by BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel and Repulsion founder Scott Carlson. A reviewer for Terrorizer praised Choosing Death as "the most informed and comprehensive document on death metal and grind that you will ever see". [6]

BBC Radio 1 British national radio station

BBC Radio 1 is a British radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in modern popular music and current chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7 pm, including electronica, dance, hip hop, rock and indie. The choice of music and presenting style is entirely that of programme hosts, however those who present in the daytime have to rotate a number of songs a specific number of times per week. It was launched in 1967 to meet the demand for music generated by pirate radio stations, when the average age of the UK population was 27. The BBC claim that they target the 15–29 age group, and the average age of its UK audience since 2009 is 30. BBC Radio 1 started 24-hour broadcasting on 1 May 1991.

John Peel English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer and journalist

John Robert Parker Ravenscroft,, known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer and journalist. He was the longest serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004.

Repulsion (band) American band

Repulsion is an American grindcore band from Flint, Michigan, founded in 1984.

The first Choosing Death Fest was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 16, 2016. [7] The first part of the two-part festival was the Choosing Death Fest Grimposium, [8] which included panel discussions with a variety of death metal experts and enthusiasts, and featured an advance screening of the 2016 documentary Death by Metal. The second part, a concert at Union Transfer, [9] was headlined by Nails, and featured Misery Index, Deceased, Noisem, Horrendous, Derketa, and Taphos Nomos.

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Union Transfer is an independently owned and operated music venue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; a joint venture between R5 Productions, and The Bowery Presents. The venue opened to the public September 21, 2011 with the first ever show by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Poliça.

Nails (band) American hardcore punk band

Nails is an American hardcore punk band from Oxnard, California. The group was formed in 2009 by frontman Todd Jones, formerly the guitarist of Terror, along with bassist John Gianelli and drummer Taylor Young of Disgrace. They released their debut EP Obscene Humanity in 2009, followed by the studio albums Unsilent Death (2010), Abandon All Life (2013) and You Will Never Be One of Us (2016) and a split EP with Full of Hell. Gradually, Nails have achieved widespread critical acclaim for their savage death metal-infused sound.

Related Research Articles

Grindcore is an extreme fusion genre of heavy metal and hardcore punk that originated in the mid-1980s, drawing inspiration from abrasive-sounding musical styles, such as thrashcore, crust punk, hardcore punk, extreme metal, and industrial. Grindcore is characterized by a noise-filled sound that uses heavily distorted, down-tuned guitars, grinding overdriven bass, high speed tempo, blast beats, and vocals which consist of growls and high-pitched shrieks. Early groups like Napalm Death are credited with laying the groundwork for the style. It is most prevalent today in North America and Europe, with popular contributors such as Brutal Truth and Nasum. Lyrical themes range from a primary focus on social and political concerns, to gory subject matter and black humor.

Goregrind is a fusion genre of grindcore and death metal. British band Carcass are commonly credited for the emergence of the genre. Goregrind is recognized for its heavily edited, "watery" sounding vocals and abrasive musicianship rooted in grindcore.

Possessed (band) American death metal band

Possessed is an American death metal band, originally formed in 1983. Noted for their fast style of playing and Jeff Becerra's guttural vocals, they are often called the first band in the death metal genre.

A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At times heavy metal genres may overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits. They may differ in terms of: instrumentation, tempo, song structure, vocal style, lyrics, guitar playing style, drumming style, and so on.

Crust punk is a form of music influenced by English punk rock and extreme metal. The style, which evolved in the early-1980s in England, often has songs with dark and pessimistic lyrics that linger on political and social ills. The term "crust" was coined by Hellbastard on their 1986 Ripper Crust demo.

Industrial metal is the fusion of heavy metal music and industrial music, typically employing repeating metal guitar riffs, sampling, synthesizer or sequencer lines, and distorted vocals. Prominent industrial metal acts include Ministry, Godflesh, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails.

Melodic death metal is a subgenre of death metal that employs highly melodic guitar riffs, often borrowing from traditional heavy metal. The style originated and developed in Sweden and the United Kingdom around 1993. The Swedish death metal scene did much to popularise the style, soon centering in the "Gothenburg metal” scene.

Extreme metal is a loosely defined umbrella term for a number of related heavy metal music subgenres that have developed since the early 1980s. It has been defined as a "cluster of metal subgenres characterized by sonic, verbal and visual transgression".

Metalcore is a fusion genre combining elements of extreme metal and hardcore punk. The word is a portmanteau of the two genres. Among other styles blending metal and hardcore, such as crust punk and grindcore, metalcore is noted for its use of breakdowns, which are slow, intense passages conducive to moshing. Pioneering metalcore bands—such as Integrity, Earth Crisis, Converge and All Out War all of which had formed by 1991—are described as leaning more toward hardcore, with their style sometimes being called metallic hardcore, whereas later bands—such as Caliban, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Trivium, As I Lay Dying, Bullet for My Valentine, and Parkway Drive—are described as leaning more towards metal. Pantera and Sepultura have been particularly influential to the development of metalcore in the 2000s, which saw many bands in the genre achieve commercial success.

Thrashcore fusion genre of thrash metal and hardcore punk

Thrashcore is a fast tempo subgenre of hardcore punk that emerged in the early 1980s. Thrashcore is essentially sped-up hardcore, often using blast beats. Songs can be very brief, and thrashcore is in many ways a less dissonant, less metallic forerunner of grindcore. The genre is sometimes associated with skateboarder subculture.

Misery Index (band) American deathgrind band

Misery Index is an American death metal band formed in 2001 in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, by Jason Netherton, Mike Harrison, and Kevin Talley (drums). From 2006–2010, its line-up consisted of Netherton on vocals and bass, John Voyles on lead guitar, Mark Kloeppel on vocals and rhythm guitar, and Adam Jarvis on drums. In 2010, Voyles left the band and was replaced by Darin Morris.

Earache Records is an independent record label, music publisher and management company founded by Digby Pearson, based in Nottingham, England with offices in London and New York. It helped to pioneer extreme metal by releasing early grindcore and death metal records between 1988 and 1994. The label roster has since diversified into more mainstream guitar music, working with bands such as Rival Sons, The Temperance Movement, Blackberry Smoke and The White Buffalo. The company also hosted the 'Earache Express' stage at Glastonbury Festival in 2017 and will be hosting 'The Earache Factory' at Boomtown Fair 2018.

Relapse Records record label in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, United States

Relapse Records is an American independent record label based in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. It was founded by Matthew F. Jacobson in 1990. The label features a large number of grindcore, death metal, and sludge metal artists.

Deathcore is an extreme metal fusion genre that combines musical elements of death metal and metalcore and sometimes hardcore punk. It makes use of death metal riffs and blast beats, as well as metalcore breakdowns. Deathcore gained most prominence within the southwestern United States, especially Arizona and inland southern California, which are home to many notable bands and various festivals.

<i>Symphonies of Sickness</i> 1989 studio album by Carcass

Symphonies of Sickness is the second album by British extreme metal band Carcass. It was released through Earache Records on 4 December 1989.

Deathgrind is a fusion genre of death metal and grindcore. Along with pornogrind, it is related to the goregrind subgenre. Zero Tolerance described deathgrind as "grindcore and brutal death metal colliding head on." Dan Lilker described deathgrind as "combining the technicality of death metal with the intensity of grindcore."

"Like death/thrash and death/black, the name death/grind undoubtedly stems from the importance of specialist mail order catalogues and their related 'zine scenes in proliferating extreme metal music to an audience whose tastes, as the '90s progressed, increasingly crossed over the traditional line between death metal and grindcore - that of lyrical content. [Death/grind e]mphasis[es] overall musical brutality with a specific focus on speed-soaked fury and the firm retention of grindcore's traditional abruptness."

<i>Seven Churches</i> (album) 1985 studio album by Possessed

Seven Churches is the debut album by American death metal band Possessed. The title of the album refers to the Seven churches of Asia mentioned in the Book of Revelation. "The Exorcist" begins with producer Randy Burns' version of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells, arranged and performed as it was in the 1973 horror film of the same name. About.com ranked the album first in its list of "10 Essential Death Metal albums".

<i>The Killing Gods</i> 2014 studio album by Misery Index

The Killing Gods is the fifth studio album by American death metal band Misery Index. It was released on May 23, 2014, by Season of Mist. The first five tracks of the album are all part of one collective song called "Faust".

References

  1. "Due nuovi libri della Tsunami edizioni". Radio Lombardia (in Italian). 16 July 2009. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  2. Caramanica, Jon (18 September 2005). "Music: Heavy Metal Gets an M.F.A." The New York Times . p. 2. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  3. Konow, David (17 August 2010). "Thrash Producers: The Sound And The Fury". Guitar World . Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  4. Greiner-Adam, Marie-Therese (23 December 2012). "Buchtipp: Choosing Death" (in German). Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  5. Titus, Christa. "'Choosing Death' Author on Death Metal's History and Misperceptions: It's Not 'Satan-Worshipping, Homicidal Maniacs'". Billboard. Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  6. Butman, Jeremy (20 February 2009). "Philly's Heavy Metal Professor". Philadelphia Weekly . Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  7. "Nails - Tickets - Union Transfer - Philadelphia, PA - April 16th, 2016". Union Transfer. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  8. "Fear, Emptiness, Decibel: Choosing Death Fest "Grimposium" to Feature Members of Misery Index, Pig Destroyer, Kreig, and More". MetalSucks. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
  9. "Nails - Tickets - Union Transfer - Philadelphia, PA - April 16th, 2016". R5 Productions. Retrieved 2016-04-20.