Regular No Echo readers might recognize Vince Gugliemi's name from his contributions to the site, namely 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 at the beginning of the year, the podcast finds the Toronto-based music head digging deep through the history of death metal and connecting it to the hardcore scene of today via its 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 launching the podcast.
I’ll keep this one brief cuz the prologue episode of DMD goes pretty in depth on my background and shit. I’ve been into punk, hardcore, post-hardcore, etc. for over a decade now, following the trends and stuff. I started noticing at the beginning of the pandemic that people in the hardcore scene were really starting to jock death metal, so I started checking out bands like Bolt Thrower, Death, and Morbid Angel. I wanted to understand the classics of the genre so I started doing some research.
Then I found this list from Terrorizer magazine, which is an older British metal publication, with the Top 40 death metal albums of all time. I decided to listen to every album in order.
I’ve been an amateur music critic for almost as long as I’ve been into hardcore, and I had just stopped doing my rap podcast at the time I found the list. So I basically stole the format of my old rap podcast, which is short digestible episodes of highly personal music criticism, and started running down this Terrorizer list.
Thinking back to 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 were around to witness the early '90s. I feel like, except for maybe black metal and turn of the century metalcore, the death metal explosion was the last time we got to witness real, high quality innovation in heavy music.
I mention this in my podcast a couple times, but I’m not super plugged in to what’s happening in the modern death metal renaissance. I think it’s because I’m consuming and falling in love with so much of this classic material. I’m kind of satiated on death metal at the moment so checking out new stuff isn’t a priority for me unless everyone is talking about it.
I also think a lot of the new bands want to sound super heavy and moshy, whereas I’m drawn to death metal more for the speed and head banging type shit. I’ll take a fast dbeat part over a double bass part 9/10 times. I wish more bands would channel the '80s vibe of fast, thrashy sloppy shit instead of trying to sound like Obituary mixed with Suffocation.
Then there are bands made by kids who have probably only been listening to death metal for as long as I have, and it kind of shows because they have super obvious reference points. Not to be a hater or anything, but I’m still so excited by the classic material—I don’t really care to hear it filtered through that lens at the moment.
That being said, I’ve missed so many cool things in the past because I had too many preconceived notions about them. I missed Trapped Under Ice on the first go round because I was an emocore wimp and they were shirtless chads playing goon music.
I missed the Rival Mob, Coke Bust, and Boston Strangler cuz their fans seemed like assholes. I really should check out some of the “death metal played by hardcore kids” stuff because I have a feeling I’ll miss out on something cool if I don’t. Maybe when I’m done this list I’ll really dig in.
Were there any albums on the list you hadn’t heard before that truly blew you away?
I’m trying to think of anything off top. I remember before I started the list I’d heard 15 of the 40 records. Most of the ones I haven’t heard do leave an impression on me in one way or another.
Looking back at the list, I think the one I’ve jammed the most since hearing it for the first time is 'Testimony of the Ancients' by Pestilence. I just love how fast that record is. They really have another gear on that shit but at the same time the songs are all really well written and interesting.
I remember listening to Clandestine by Entombed for the first time and picking out so much classic metal influence in it. Like Deep Purple type shit. That was a really mind blowing moment for me even though the album isn’t one I’ve come back to all that much.
One album I heard before but have been obsessed with since hearing it on the list is Heartwork by Carcass. I definitely didn’t have an appreciation for how unique that record was before I started this exercise. I thought it was good, but now I think it’s brilliant.
I just recorded the episode for album number 12. There are a few in the Top 10 I’ve never heard before, so I’m excited to have my mind blown again.
What’s the plan once you finish going through the list?
It’s funny, I was just thinking about that today. The first thing I’ll probably do is a couple bonus episodes talking about my feelings on the list 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 Terrorizer lists on Wikipedia and it exposed me to so much cool old music. I’ve been working through the punk list and the black metal list at the same time as the death metal one. I was thinking about doing the black metal list next but there’s some real bullshit on there that I never want to hear again.
I’m also thinking about maybe doing the Pushead Top 100 but I dunno how I would make a 10-minute long episode out of the numerous short hardcore EPs on there. That’s a logistical challenge for sure.
I’m definitely open to suggestions if anyone listens and has an idea of what they’d enjoy.
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