21 February 2015

Various Artists - Relapse Records: 25 Years Of Contamination


Sometimes the best things in life are free, sometimes in life you get a surprise, sometimes it is good and sometimes it is nasty; it can also be a mixture of both.  In this case, it is unexpected (in pure size alone) - Relapse Records have released a 184 track sampler to celebrate their 25 years of existence.  That is right, 184 tracks which you can get from their Bandcamp page and it will cost you whatever you want to pay! If you want to pay £10, you can.  If you want to pay $35, you can.  If you want it for free, that is ok as well - you are in control of the amount you pay and this is for an album with 184 tracks! A brief history lesson - formed in August 1990, Relapse started as a labour of love for Matthew F. Jacobson in Aurora, Colorado; the first releases from the label were  two 7" vinyl’s from Velcro Overdose and Face of Decline.  Over the years that followed, the label grew into a one of the premier metal labels and also one of the longest lasting labels not to stray from its routes - Earache and Roadrunner, I am looking at you.  Now over the years, Relapse has been the home to many of the world’s biggest extreme metal acts - Mastodon, Neurosis, Dillinger Escape Plan, Merzbow, Anal Cunt, Zombi, Jucifer, just to name a few of the acts.  This complication covers all those years (sadly nothing from those first two early releases thought), showing the depth of the label and the change in the extreme metal scene over the years. 

Now, usually I would go through a track by track review of an album - in this case I am going to go old school and not do that as I would be here until next week, also I do not want to bore you with a review that will take a lifetime to read.  What I will say is this, thank you Relapse Records.  Not just for making this a free download, but for what you have done over the years for metal as a whole.  We need labels that will do what they can to keep releasing music that is not going to be the most popular in the general households of the world, because we do not all walk to the same cookie cutter shaped beat.  Some people need something like "My Relationship" by Dysrythmia to get them through just a few minutes when they can be somewhere else; some people need something like "Woodpecker No.1" by Merzbow to challenge them as it is a head fucker of a track; sometimes you need something like "Assassin" by Morbid Saint just to rock out to in a way that combines trash, gore and grindcore into one ball of sick excitement.  You are not going to get many labels that would let their artists do what they want to this degree any more as it is usually about pushing units.  Relapse do not seem to be that sort of act and whilst I am sure they like it when a record is big, they also like to support the artists to create their own mark on the world.  There is some much on this complication that I have not heard and whilst there is some acts that are not my sort of thing, there is far more that are my sort of music and the sheer volume of acts just makes this one of the releases of 2015.  If you do not download this now, you’re an idiot. Now, if only they would sign Waheela & Druganaut and I will die a happy man (not in either band, just think they are both mint).

10 out of ten - This is proof that there is a Deity.

You can download the compilation for whatever price you want on the Relapse Records Bandcamp page here

You can visit the Relapse Records website here

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