Vader- The Darkest Age (1994)

Death metal began in the early 80’s at Lyman High School with Death. There are few bands that can be mentioned in the same breath as them, death metal is a hard sound to pull off and started out as a very small genre. At the same time Possessed and Death were forming in the US Vader was exploring a similar sound in Poland, emerging from behind the Iron Curtain playing serious death metal (not just a novelty band from a communist country).
The Darkest Age is a live album from a show Vader played in Krakow in 1993 and is an excellent representation of early death metal and a must have for any reputable collection, 90%.

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G.I.S.M.

G.I.S.M. is Japanese hardcore from the early 80’s and they were on the first Japanese hardcore compilation. Surrounded by a veil of secrecy and rumor, they haven’t played outside of Japan and are the very definition of underground. Singer Sakevi is supposedly a Yakuza member, with stories of him firing a pistol during shows, using a flamethrower, once stabbing a member of the audience for photographing him, threatening members of the press, throwing a cash register out of a window and threatening to kill the clerk of a store selling bootleg G.I.S.M. shirts, etc. The list goes on and on, but the music is even better than the stories.
Randy Uchida was easily one of the best guitarists of the era (was, because he died in 2001). G.I.S.M. has been labeled thrash and crossover as well as punk/ hardcore, any of which is an over simplification, there are even space rock sounds sprinked throughout their albums. They don’t sit squarly in any genre, more parallel to Swans and Burzum than “like” the Sex Pistols. G.I.S.M. is a must have for any respectable music library and far more playable than most bands of the era. Highly recommended.
Also, they have reunited and are playing at this year’s Roadburn festival in the Netherlands.

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