By Carlos Ramirez |
Regular readers of No Echo might recognize Vince Gugliemi’s name from his contributions to the site, especially in the Reviews section.
Today I have Vince on the other side of the focus to discuss his latest passion project, Death Metal Discharge. Launched earlier this year, the podcast finds the Toronto-based head of music digging deep into the history of death metal and connecting it to today’s hardcore scene via his influence.
Check out Death Metal Discharge and find out what Vince had to say about the series in this new interview.
Tell me a bit about your background and the inspiration behind starting the podcast.
I’ll keep this one brief because the prologue episode of DMD goes pretty in-depth on my background and shit. I’m into punk, hardcore, post-hardcore, etc. for over a decade now, following trends and everything. I started noticing at the start of the pandemic that people in the hardcore scene were really starting to do death metal, so I started listening to bands like Bolt Thrower, Death and Morbid Angel. I wanted to understand the classics of the genre so I started to do some research.
Then I found this list of Terrorist magazine, which is a former British metal publication, with the top 40 death metal albums of all time. I decided to listen to each album in order.
I’ve been an amateur music critic for almost as long as I’ve been in hardcore, and I had just stopped doing my rap podcast by the time I found the listing. So I basically stole the format of my old rap podcast, which is short, digestible episodes of very personal music reviews, and started browsing that Terrorist listing.
Thinking back to the early 90s, I remember a lot of cross-pollination between the hardcore and death metal scenes. Like you said, there’s definitely a resurgence of that right now.
It’s so cool that you’re here to witness the early 90s. I feel like, aside from maybe turn-of-the-century black metal and metalcore, the explosion of death metal was the last time we got to witness true high-quality innovation in heavy music.
I mention it several times in my podcast, but I’m not very aware of what’s going on in the revival of modern death metal. I think it’s because I consume and fall in love with so much of this classic material. I’m kinda sated with death metal right now, so checking out new stuff isn’t a priority for me unless everybody speaks.
I also think a lot of new bands want to sound super heavy and ugly, whereas I’m more drawn to death metal for the speed and kind of head banging. I’m going to take a fast rhythmic part over a double bass part 9/10 times. I wish more bands channeled the 80s vibe of sloppy fast thrash shit instead of trying to sound like Obituary mixed with Suffocation.
Then there are bands created by kids who have probably only been listening to death metal for as long as I have, and it shows because they have super obvious reference points. Not to be a hater or anything, but I’m still so excited about classic material – I don’t really care to hear it filtered through that lens yet.
That being said, I’ve missed so many cool things in the past because I had too many preconceptions about them. I missed Trapped Under Ice in the first round because I was an emocore weakling and they were shirtless guys playing goon music.
I missed the Rival Mob, Coke Bust and Boston Strangler because their fans seemed like assholes. I really should check out some “death metal played by hardcore kids” stuff because I feel like I’m going to miss something cool if I don’t. Maybe when I’m done with this list, I’ll really dig.
Were there any albums on the list that you hadn’t heard before that really blew your mind?
I try to think of anything. I remember that before starting the list, I had heard 15 of the 40 discs. Most of the ones I haven’t heard stick with me in one way or another.
Looking at the list, I think the one I’ve stuck the most since I first heard it is ‘Testimony of the Elders by Pestilence. I love how fast this record is. They really have another gear on this shit but at the same time the songs are all very well written and interesting.
I remember listening Clandestine by Entombed for the first time and drawing so much influence from classic metal. Like Deep Purple type shit. It was a really mind-blowing moment for me, even though the album is not the one I went back to that much.
An album I’ve heard before but have been obsessed with ever since I heard it on the list is work of heart by Carcass. I certainly didn’t realize how unique this record was until I started this exercise. I thought it was good, but now I think it’s great.
I just recorded album episode number 12. There are a few in the Top 10 that I’ve never heard before, so I’m glad to have my breath taken away again.
What’s the plan once you’ve finished going through the list?
Funny, I was just thinking about that today. Probably the first thing I’ll do is a few bonus episodes talking about my feelings on the roster as a whole. Then maybe I’ll take a little break to focus on writing. I just started a bi-weekly hardcore column on my blog and I want to write at least one review a month for No Echo.
I found this old archive of Terrorist lists on Wikipedia and it exposed me to so many cool old music. I went through the punk list and the black metal list along with the death metal one. I was thinking of doing the next black metal list but there’s some real bullshit in there that I never want to hear again.
I’m also thinking maybe doing the Pushead Top 100 but I don’t know how I’d make a 10 minute long episode out of the many short hardcore EPs there. It’s a logistical challenge for sure.
I’m definitely open to suggestions if anyone is listening and has an idea of what they would like.
Listen to the Death Metal Discharge podcast on Spotify (and most streaming outlets). Follow Vince on Twitter for more updates and comments.
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