5 Underground Metal Labels You NEED To Check Out Right Now
We all have them – our favorite underground labels who have such a consistent rate of return that we make a promise to ourselves to check out everything they release. There are countless GREAT ones out there, too many to name on one list. The thing is – with a great label a lot of the fandom boils down to personal taste, so my list of top labels is pretty much guaranteed to look very different from many of my compeers favorite labels.
That's because in the modern context record labels are much more interested in being curators of taste than making their bands millions of dollars. As is, I feel like this list serves as a primer for anybody trying to get a little more deeply involved in the world of truly underground music.
5. Transcending Obscurity Records
All the way from India, Transcending Obscurity Records has been extremely busy over the years. The Transcending Obscurity brand is in fact on of my favorite in all of metal, with a PR company and a webzine tied into the labels activities. They have had notable bands like Chaos and Norse sign with their label as well as a collection of underground darlings. For a fairly DIY spot they also have a ton of international bands, elevating the dialog around the fascinating Indian scene by proxy. With exciting avant garde bands like Albatross, the label is looking towards the future too. Forward thinking and artist oriented, this is a record label who understands what heavy metal is really be about.
4. Ripple Music
I LOVE Ripple Music. Asides from releasing multiple records from one of my favorite live bands of all time, the almighty Mothership, Ripple Music has made a name for themselves in the past few years by unleashing some of the best in modern rock and roll. Sure a lot of is steeped in stoner vibes and 70s worship, but that's exactly what it makes it so good. The label functions as truly top notch curators of taste, and everything they put out is guaranteed to make me listen. This is another one of those labels who have a tendency to look at the future and come up with ingenious marketing schemes in order to grow a bolder tomorrow. They may very well be the future of rock and roll.
3. Silent Pendulum Recordings
Silent Pendulum Records is far too quiet for my taste, and yet they manage to keep succeeding and doing exciting things year after year. I actually feel a little bad for label CEO Michael Kadnar because every time he put out a release the band in question seems to almost inevitably get picked up by one of the metal majors the next album. It's hard to complain though when your bands seem to inevitably go on to much greater success. Picking through his label's offerings is a great way to find out about up and coming bands before a bigger label hops on board. Known for exquisite post, doom and black metal, Silent Pendulum are certainly a cerebral label, and won't necessarily appeal to the entry level metalhead. Still, they have yet to put out a bad album.
2. Halo Of Flies
Halo Of Flies have rapidly made a name for themselves as one of THE premier underground black metal labels in the world. With countless triumphs on their roster, including Northless, Primitive Man, Svalbard and of course the almighty Rorcal they are one of my favorite labels to check out, and one who have me regularly looking back for more content. Though their work tends to be on the darker side of things they are starting to break through, especially with some of their bigger, more recent signings. Not a lot of labels embrace the darkness as thoroughly as Halo Of Flies and they are profiting because of it.
1. I, Voidhanger Records
These are the real bad boys. Sure they might be topping my list because they have Spectral Lore and I think Spectral Lore is the greatest thing ever, but there is an exceptional abundance of quality on the I, Voidhanger roster. With bands like Howls Of Ebb and Blizaro using the label as a way to put out some of the best music of their careers, this is a group of dudes who have managed to cultivate something EXTREMELY special and are using their talents to bring attention to some of the most powerful black, doom and experimental metal that you will ever hear. Best of all, not only do they not have a bad release, they put out a ton of stuff, more perhaps than anyone else on this list, so I pray that the list of sonic triumphs coming from the I,Voidhanger dudes will never end.