Extreme Metal, Extreme Noise!!!
A New Column Covering the Best in Metal and Noise
by Gary Spencer

Hello ladies (although I doubt any are reading this) and germs,

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Gary Spencer and I hail originally from D8N, Ohio, although I have lived in New York and San Francisco as well. From my earliest memories as a child, I have been in love with music and consider it my foremost passion to this very day. As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen my tastes widen and my knowledge of a variety of musical genres expand. But while I still do like a lot of different music, I’ve grown bored of most modern (for lack of a better word) “indie” music (rock, dance, whatever— destination Snoozeville, in my opinion). It’s all been done before, and done better.

I’ve always liked metal. Black Sabbath was (and still is) one of my favorite bands of all time, and I’m a big Judas Priest fan too. Slayer was regularly on my shitcan car’s cassette deck. Thrash metal? Love it. When I was a teenager, I discovered a grindcore classic, the first Napalm Death album, Scum. I instantly fell in love with it. It was the perfect combination of punk (which is what I was mainly into at this point), metal, speed, noise and ferocity. At this point I started getting into the Earache Records catalog as well as death metal, digging records by Carcass, Entombed, Obituary, Death, Cathedral, Repulsion, Godflesh, Morbid Angel, etc. These records were my introduction to the worlds of extreme metal. Since then I’ve had a taste for the harsher, darker possibilities of the genre.

And then I discovered black metal. The album that really piqued my ensuing interest in the genre was the granddaddy of all black metal to come, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas by the notorious Mayhem. Listening to this brutally dark masterpiece was like a revelation to me. It seemed to be the sum of everything I liked about extreme metal—noise, chaos, darkness, anger, violence, creepiness, and the imagery—cranked to 11.

These days, black metal vibes with me better than any other style of music in my life. I enjoy that there is a lot of room for creativity and variety within black metal and still be recognizable as part of the genre. Some of my favorite artists in this genre include (early) Satyricon, Bathory, Immortal, Arcturus, 1349, Absu, Darkthrone, Enslaved, Taake, and Nachtmystium.

But wait there’s more! I also like quite a bit of ambient, doom and/or stoner metal as well. Some of my faves include Sunn0))), Boris, Celtic Frost, Sleep, Darkspace, (early) Mastodon, Electric Wizard, Church of Misery, Triptykon... the list goes on.

However, there are other extreme forms of music that I enjoy that are not of the metal variety. Even as a young buck I had a taste for audio that had little to nothing to do with what most people consider to be music, what most people consider to be nothing more than noise, but with which I have a strange fascination. The sheer abandon of conventionality is an instant turn-on for me, a big middle finger to standards that others have placed upon what constitutes an enjoyable listen. I prefer the harsher sounds of extreme noise, but I also dig mellow, ambient works as well. Some of my favorite artists of this genre include Masonna, Merzbow, Incapacitants, Pain Jerk, the Hafler Trio, Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse, and Keiji Haino.

And so I’ve been granted the opportunity to cover extreme metal and extreme noise for your reading pleasure. If you’re a label or noise and/or metal artist, and you actually, y’know, have a modicum of talent, send me your stuff! Conversely, if you’re run of the mill or just plain suck, keep that shit to yourselves!

To get y’all caught up, I’m going to sign off here with my “Evil 13” list for 2010. Next month, I hope to tell you all about my road trip to see the mighty Immortal and Absu in concert. Until then, keep headbangin’ and keep metal trve. (Hey Mr. Editor, this is not a typo!) Hails!

Anton’s Evil 13 of 2010

  • Immortal at The Avalon, Los Angeles, April 2
  • Swans at Brooklyn Masonic Temple, Brooklyn, October 8
  • Enslaved, Axioma Ethica Odini (Nuclear Blast)
  • 1349, Demonoir (Prosthetic)
  • Agalloch, Marrow of the Spirit (Profound Lore)
  • Sleep at Brooklyn Masonic Temple, Brooklyn, September 8
  • Pan Sonic & Keiji Haino, In the Studio (Blast First Petite)
  • Nightbringer, Apocalypse Sun (Ajna Offensive)
  • Church of Misery, Live at Roadburn 2009 (Roadburn)
  • Kylesa, Spirit Shadow (Season of Mist)
  • Merzbow, Merzbient (Soleilmoon)
  • Ihsahn, After (Candlelight)
  • Burzum, Belus (Byelobog)