Monday, 13 April 2015

Oliver: Raw Noise - [Peel Session] (7 December 1991)

Of all the musical genres that John Peel championed, death metal/noisecore is the one to which I was and remain the least enamoured of.  Nearly every time a Napalm Death/Extreme Noise Terror/Melt Banana noise apocalypse started its 90 seconds of aural destruction, I found myself marking time till it ended and he moved on to something more interesting instead.  To my ears, it sounded formless, pointless and, you know, I couldn't hear the lyrics, dammit!  Also, I associated a lot of death metal/noisecore with Satanism, which seemed a naff cliche even in 1991.

That being said, I admired the abilities of all the vocalists, whether they be demonic growlers or shrill male banshees.  It takes incredible skill to growl or scream your way through any song.  Try doing it to something like Old Macdonald Had a Farm.  By the time you get to the chickens, you'll be ready for a glass of water.

While listening to the Peel recordings, I disregarded a lot of these tracks, but the repeated Peel Session from Raw Noise, originally broadcast on September 14 1991 demanded inclusion in a way that no other examples had done previously.  I think the live nature of the recording helped.  Even under Maida Vale conditions, the ferocity and power of the playing and Dean Jones's vocal really cuts through.  Although there is one riff which seems to find itself used in every song, the set is brimming with ideas and invention.  I particularly like the shift to garage punk tempo midway through Under the Influence. Finally, for a music scene so obsessed with death and destruction, this set sounds joyous and life-affirming.  A glorious contradiction but then so much of the best music is.

This may turn out to be a rare highlight for me of the death metal/noisecore genre, but if Peel taught us anything, it's that there will always be something from each form of music that will appeal to you and if one example catches your attention, another one will do so eventually.

Video courtesy of  John Peel.

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