A Playlist: Horror


Article by David Rosales

The eighties, as any other decade, had its own particular flavor, and popular culture had turned to fantasy and horror as a sort of addictive drug. The most grueling slasher films with fake yet more tangible appearances than the digitized reproductions directed at desensitized audiences that we have today. It may be guessed that a lot of this was an outlet for repressed feelings of hopelessness towards the end of the Cold War, in the midst of death squad strikes and political assassinations throughout the world by the very pseudo protectors of liberty.

The menace of a nuclear holocaust made the idea of a post-apocalyptic scenario not so much the stuff of dreams but a possible (and plausible) future not more than a few decades ahead. There was terror in the air, as desperation and fear had already become the habit of a whole generation raised in the shadow of the fairy tales of the great wars and disarmed through the enhancing of shadows on the wall as their very protectors backstabbed them.

The kids born of this former failed generation of proper workmen and citizens grew to distrust all the bullshit thrown at them. Growing up in this era of tension and constant threats outside a bubble of hypocrisy and bigotry made young men of a more realist mentality long for the collapse of the system of lies built by the ‘mature and responsible’. This is the world that gave us death metal as Slayer’s lessons were ran through hardcore punk and then grindcore.


1. Cro-Mags – Age of Quarrel (1986)

Expressing the most bare-bones discontent with society with a sincerity that only the punk spirit can deliver, Cro-Mags adopt metal riff phrasing techniques to give further elaboration to paint pictures of collapse and humanity’s demise that are more grim and nihilistic than the lyrics themselves.


2. Repulsion – Horrified (1989)

While Age of Quarrel is the image of a decadent civilization malfunctioning its way to its own zombification, Repulsion shows us the explosion and its aftermath. The first is fear of impending doom, this latter is terror, desperation and psychotic breakdown in the face of monstrous reality.


3. Carnage – Dark Recollections (1990)

Beneath the blatant visions of disaster and discomfort, the reveling in what is seen as an unavoidable outcome, or perhaps an already present state, is laughed at with the humor of a cancerous patient that knows no clean escape from his own impossible situation. It takes death metal to come out as the triumphant anti-hero, shotgun in hand, ready to do away with the weakness of modern man.

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14 thoughts on “A Playlist: Horror

  1. Meek Metalhead says:

    “popular culture had turned to fantasy and horror as a sort of addictive drug.”

    This is preferable to the hyper-social and self-referential media we have today.

    1. morbideathscream says:

      Even the worst of the 80’s is better than anything that is associated with today’s pop culture. I don’t know, Michael Jackson was pretty fucking bad hahaha. I’m not praising them, but I’d much rather listen to a band like Duran Duran than lady gaga, miley Cyrus or whatever mindless bullshit that is popular today for the braindead masses.

      Interesting that the author mentioned cro-mags, very representative of an era when hardcore was a respectable genre, not a bunch of wiggaz looking like retarded kung fo students in the pit and dancing to wannabe tough guy music, which the hardcore scene is known for today.

      There’s the b grade Italian horror flicks that are far more scarier and morbid than the digitized cgi plastic bullshit of today. Compare movies like demons or the beyond to the walking dead tv series. Nuff said.

      Repulsion are the gods of grind, not napalm death.

      Carnage, I don’t think I need to say anything about that. Sheer awesomeness, along with most of the old Swedish death metal movement.

      When it comes to movies and music, there’s just a certain aura to what came out in the 80’s, it’s the best.

      1. vOddy says:

        I didn’t live during the 1980’s, and I see it too.
        That time had its own style, and when it comes to popular culture, it was superior.

        1. morbideathscream says:

          I was born in ’85 so, I vaguely remember the tail end of the 80’s as a kid. Around ’93 or ’94 is when things started drastically changing. I’m not even talking about underground metal, I’m referring to what I remember as a kid. The hair bands of the 80’s may have been lame, but still a dream compared to what’s been popular in the mainstream ever since.

  2. C.M. says:

    Great introduction to these albums – way to connect the birth of a genre to the alienation of a generation.

    I’ve always detected that weirdly stoic-triumphant “reveling” as you put it in the Carnage album but you described it better than I could.

  3. vOddy says:

    The tag: “Click bait”.

    Ok, lol

    1. Not everyone appreciates a good playlist.

  4. Anthony says:

    Repulsion gets better every time I listen to it. Is other grindcore even trying?

    1. morbideathscream says:

      Perhaps, Terrorizer’s world downfall and the demos that came before it or pre-heartwork Carcass. Other than that, nobody challenges repulsion when it comes to grindcore.

    2. BLOOD is legendary. Every one of their albums is at least good.

    3. AzureMurakumo says:

      Gridlink and to a lesser extent Discordance Axis are up there, I’d say. However, they’re fairly different from “traditional” grindcore, especially Gridlink.

      Assuck are top-tier grindcore as well.

      1. C.M. says:

        Grindcore generally doesn’t do much for me, but I love Gridlink. :)

        Their song “Ketsui” sounds to me like grindcore pushed to its limit in terms of how much melodic/harmonic complexity and dynamic range a song can contain while still being pure grindcore.


      2. morbideathscream says:

        I forgot about Assuck, haven’t heard them in ages. Not quite Terrorizer or Repulsion, but they were good.

    4. morbideathscream says:

      The first 2 napalm death albums are quality as well, but just a bit overpraised. Scum and from enslavement to obliteration is damn good grindcore just not as good as repulsion, terrorizer or early carcass. I think napalm death gets the credit for inventing the grind sound which I believe that title belongs to repulsion.

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