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10 Lost Noise-Rock Albums From The '90s

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Growing up I had to abide by my parent's rules. Holed up in my room, I found sanctuary through music and it had to be music they disapproved of in order to feel some sense of autonomy. I found that the louder the music, the more disapproval I received from authority figures. As such, the anger emanating from these loud bands mirrored my adolescent frustration and my musical curiosity eventually drifted towards more satanic and occultist rhythms.

I still remember stealthily turning down the volume at home when Tom Araya of Slayer would get to the line "learn the sacred words of praise hell Satan" on Altar Of Sacrifice and only listening to Iron Maiden's song "Number Of The Beast" with headphones in order to avoid a household blowout with my parents.

And it was this constant danger quotient that became irresistible to me and other like-minded kids. This supposedly diabolical music remains my most favourite because it found me at a time when I was most impressionable and innocent. Only now, I turn up the volume when someone screams out "Satan" into the mic.

And as successive generations embraced this music, the way they articulated this fandom became increasingly extreme. Pastimes such as smoking pot, underage drinking, vandalism and headbanging turned into heroin usage, church burning and murder. There undoubtedly had to come a turning point where the younger generation headed in the opposite direction. Thus, the state of music we're left with today -- The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons.

Just like my mom disapproved of Ozzy Osbourne's Speak Of The Devil album cover, I am mortified by the recent succession of softer bands hogging up airtime, critical acclaim and hipster-doofus approval. Please don't misunderstand, I am fully aware the pendulum of popular culture must swing from soft to heavy and back again in order to maintain an equilibrium. I, myself, love soft music for that very reason of balance. But when did all these bands decide that dressing like the Amish Mennonites was cool?

This quaker-like style that I've coined "Pioneer-Chic" (trademark 2013) comes with its Grammy-nominated musical accompaniment and has become the soundtrack to college kids "slumming it" in hostels across Europe. By the way, "slumming it" doesn't get any better than when you dress up and pretend to be from a world where there's no such thing as modern plumbing and looking like you travel by horse and buggy.

To counter this, there has been a recent crop of bands that stand in direct audible opposition to this new folk movement, harking back to the awesomely noisy '90s. Bands like Pissed Jeans, Shining (Norway) and Metz (who I've raved about before in this space) sound like the successors to Jesus Lizard, The Melvins and The Butthole Surfers.

In order to get what I perceive to be an oncoming trend on solid, noisier ground, I submit 10 lost '90s noise albums for all to search out and let into your lives. Anything to counter the 38-million YouTube views these Pioneer-Chic (trademark 2013) bands get nowadays.

Slug The Out Sound (Matador/1995)
Full-on audio assault. Finally a band not afraid to heavy-up the bass guitar in the mix. Think Big Black, Glen Branca, Swans, The Unsane and a scratched record skipping like Chinese water torture.

Sweet Pea Chicks Hate Wes (Trance Syndicate/1996)
Straight from the school of Slug, I don't know much else about these guys but if you can track this gem down it won't disappoint you. That is if disappointment happens when you aren't bludgeoned in the head.

Glazed Baby Karmic Debt (Red Decibal/1994)
This three-piece put out a couple of records and then disappeared. Too bad too 'cause they were phenomenal and this record proves it -- a noise rock decree.

Crunt Crunt (Trance Syndicate/1994)
Most side projects don't come anywhere near their respective members' main gigs so I usually ignore them, but not in this case. I wish bands could come close to the ass-kicking Kat Bjelland (Babes In Toyland), Stuart Gray (Lubricated Goat) and Russel Simmins (Blues Explosion) simply threw together as an aside.

Distorted Pony Instant Winner (Trance Syndicate/1994)
From the name to the sound, this band defined what '90s noise rock came to be to me -- bludgeoning wall-of-noise guitars, smarmy vocals, bass as guitar, busy caveman-like drumming.

Love 666 American Revolution (Amphetamine Reptile/1995)
Slow a Helmet song down to a snail's pace, add anthemic singalong group vocals, make sure you sing about guns and pills and you'll be close to what Love 666 came to be -- the sound of a metallic pep rally.

Cop Shoot Cop Release (Interscope/1994)
If there can be any more certainty that the music biz is rigged, it's that Cop Shoot Cop never became bigger. Sure they were abrasive, but in my humble estimation they also had an equal amount of potential wide appeal that no one ever bothered to mine. Listen to this and see how right I am.

Grotus Slow Motion Apocalypse (Alternative Tentacles/1993)
Think of that ol' '80s/'90s term "industrial" and now mash it up with every contemporary "ism" to describe "heavy" and you'll come close to describing this proto-Rammstein, NIN-compeer.

Monorchid Who Put Out The Fire? (Touch & Go/1998)
Every person who bought a Stills album or a Jay Reatard album or an Arcade Fire album or a Lumineers album or a Marilyn Mason album should buy this. Don't ask why, just do it. Easily one of the best albums no one ever got to listen to.

Cherubs Icing (Trance Syndicate/1992)
You gotta hand it to King Coffy's label, Trance Syndicate, for its knack of finding diamonds of noise in a melodic rough. Cherubs were one its greatest finds. I describe them as "catchy Unsane." If that doesn't make sense to you, just smile and nod politely.

 
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