Sad to read yesterday about the demise of Hydra Head Records. Aaron Turner's labor of love (founded while he was in high school, before he was in Isis) distributed some of the best metal of the past 20 years. Stoner, noise, experimental, sludge, doom, mathcore, call it what you will, no metalhead should be without the following five.
1. Converge, Caring and Killing
Before the internet, music fans used to burn holes in their wallets tracking down early recordings of their favorite bands. Converge and Hydra Head's re-release of Halo in a Haystack with some early rarities kept the rest of us from doing that.
2. The Dillinger Escape Plan, Counting Infinity
The Dillinger Escape Plan were more raw and aggressive than they'd ever be again on their debut. Hearing DEP at their loudest is like hearing Andrew W.K. at his partiest.
3. The Melvins, (A) Senile Animal
In hindsight, of course a band that made a career out of being unpredictable would wait 25 years to start making their best music. See if you can find the three-part harmony.
4. Big Business, Here Come the Waterworks
The Melvins' secret weapon on (A) Senile Animal gave themselves away on their second album, in which a guitarless, two-many army made treble sound like a waste of time.
5. Torche, Meanderthal
The catchiest stoner metal band in the world? On Meanderthal, Torche were the catchiest rock band in the world.