Whilst the focus of The Sound Not The Word might be on the underground, let’s be real for a moment: Nine Inch Nails are one of the best bands around. There’s good reason that they’re so popular, with a catalogue of accessible singles and well-crafted albums. Yet there’s also a wealth of B-sides, remixes, and soundtrack contributions worth taking note of too, that most fans might not check out. To keep things accessible to all, I’ve intentionally limited the songs on this list to ones that can be streamed via Spotify, and excluded those that appear on standard CD versions of albums. Sure, that vinyl-only version of The Fragile: Deviations 1 contains some excellent versions of songs, but at about £65 a copy, it’s hardly something most people will buy. So, with that in mind – and because they’re one of my favourite ever bands, and why run a blog if you can’t write about what you love? – here’s what I feel are five of the best NIN deep cuts, presented in chronological order of release.
The word “emo” is a pretty loaded one, when it comes to talking about music. A lot of people will recoil from the word, as if it were something contagious, spreading too-tight t-shirts and black hair dye to every teenager it comes across. A lot of this can be attributed to what was happening in the first decade of the millennium, when, following years toiling in the underground, bands like My Chemical Romance and AFI became genuinely huge mainstream phenomenons. It’s because of this that the term “skramz” came about, to identify “true” emo and screamo, that stemmed from the likes of Rites of Spring and Moss Icon, from its more, pop-punk-esque mainstream incarnation. Here, we’ll take a look at five of the best 90’s emo/screamo acts, that made music that’s much more intense and raw than anything that ever dared bother the mainstream.
When people think of black metal and politics, odds are they think of bands who are on the far-right of the spectrum. It’s no surprise. Fascist imagery abounds in black metal, to the extent that it’s considered utterly normal by some, and there’s a long history of some of the big names of the genre espousing authoritarian, prejudiced views; and this is to say nothing of the whole NSBM sub-genre. But recent years have seen more and more bands making explicitly anti-fascist black metal. There’s always been those who have had views we would now recognise as anti-fascist – most notably Summoning – but that’s not always come across in their music. So, here are five bands playing various styles of black metal, where you won’t need to follow up on interviews to know their anti-fascist leanings.
There’s surely no disputing that Deathwish Inc. are one of the most important labels in underground music. Since their inception in 2000, the label has had an excellent run of releases, consistent in quality and varied in style, to the point that they’re now one of the defining labels of modern hardcore. There’s more than a few game-changers and modern classics to be found among the label’s back-catalogue (which can be explored at your leisure via their excellent Bandcamp page), but there’s also some releases that, for whatever reason, never quite got the recognition or attention they deserved – or maybe they did, and they’re simply worth revisiting. Here’s my pick of five such hidden gems.