Five of the Best: Allfather Influences

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The music of Allfather is founded on what seems like a relatively simple premise: “Beards, Metal, Fuck You“. Theirs is metal that fully understands and appreciates the power of The Riff, moving with raw, irresistible power and purpose. Yet, as enjoyable as their music most definitely is, they are also an overtly political band – as Bless the Earth with Fire and new album And All Will be Desolation demonstrate. It’s unsurprising, then, that they are a band with a vast array of influences, with literature and film as much an influence as other bands. We asked the band about said influences, and here’s what each member came back with.

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Five of the Best – Olivia Neutered John Influences

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Grind is protest – well all know this. But sometimes, other than a vague sense of “society is bullshit” style slogans, it can be unclear exactly what a band is protesting against. That’s not the case with Olivia Neutered John. The London-based project focuses it rage on how society treats women, flipping the typical gendered dynamic of death and goregrind lyrics on their head. Ahead of the release of Complete Castration – a compilation that will bring together previous releases The Toxic OrgyTransphobia Annihilation Squad, and Kill All Men (Starting With The White Ones), and will include several new tracks – we asked mainman Dick Weeks about the five biggest influences on the project. Some might be what you’d expect from a death-grind band, but some are perhaps a bit surprising; yet, within the context of Olivia Neutered John’s sound and lyrical aims, they all make complete sense. Here they are, in the words of the mainman himself.

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Five of the Best: Level Plane Records Releases

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That Level Plane Records is no more is nothing short of a tragedy. Between 1997 and 2009, the label released some of the best underground punk, hardcore, screamo, metal, and everything in-between. Originally set up simply so Greg Drudy had an address to put on the back of the first Saetia 7″, the impact and influence the label would go on to have upon the underground scene was huge. Some of these records have been re-issued by other labels – with special praise being given to The Archivist label for getting so many on Bandcamp – but some might require searching on Discogs or eBay.

As such, limiting this list down to only five releases has been rather painful. There’s so many I wanted to include – so many records of superb quality, so many that meant so much to me, and still do – but there’s a reason this series is called Five of the Best, not Twenty of the Best. So, here we go. Feel free to tell me what I missed or what your favourite records from this excellent label are. Enjoy!

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Five of the Best – North of the Wall 2018 performances

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Image credit: Facebook

For the past few years, North of the Wall has been a highlight of extreme metal in the UK. The Glasgow-based festival is a two day celebration of extremity, with the organisers hand-picking the best of black, death, and doom – with a few surprises thrown in, too. This year was the first time I’ve been able to go, and despite costing me a fair bit in travel and hotels, it was more than worth it. Here, I want to talk about my five favourite performances of the weekend (a full review is available on the Patreon page for TSNTW)

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Five of the Best: Black-thrash bands

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Image credit: Metal Archives

Of all the different forms of extreme metal, there is arguably none that captures the raw excitement and energy of music better than black-thrash. A musical manifestation of Venom’s line about “riding hell’s stallions bareback and free”, black-thrash is, at its best, music of unrestrained chaos, tapping in to a raw, primal nature and unleashing it via the medium of savage, lawless metal. Since effectively being given its name by the mighty Aura Noir in 1996 – with debut album Black Thrash Attack – the genre has had a consistently devoted fanbase in the underground, with bands carrying the dark flame that was birthed by the likes of Sodom, Venom, and Sarcófago (pictured above); all done with a wicked grin and blasphemous spirit.

Here, then, are what I feel are five of the best bands of the style; some are veterans, some are young blood keeping the flame burning bright, whilst others are twisting it in to new, exciting forms. Enjoy!

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Five of the Best: Nine Inch Nails Deep Cuts

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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.

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