Inside No. 9, Episode #20: A burning skull full of my girlfriend’s blood

Inside No. 9, Episode #21: A burning skull full of my girlfriend’s blood

I thought I’d go for something different for this mix, “balls out of the bath on this one” [Alan Partridge]. I first got into Metal when I was a preteen listening to Iron Maiden and Guns and Roses on cassette in my friend’s loft. These bands never quite scratched the itch I got from listening to Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple with my dad in the car – but who wants to like their dad’s music? It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started to go to metal clubs with friends. Places like the Cartoon in Croydon (anyone remember that?) and then up to various venues in Camden. I always preferred live performances over recorded material. As a twenty-something I got into Sunn O))) after seeing them absolutely amaze a crowd in Leicester Square’s Hippodrome of all places. I then got into Khanate and rinsed the Southern Lord discography. Since then I have picked up the odd record which scratched an itch finding a love for Black Metal, Doom Metal, Drone Metal and various other grandiose mutations. 

This year has seen three incredible records from new and old favourites, including an unexpected record from Khanate, A blistering second long-form record from the incredible Bell Witch and the most awesome of life-affirming metal courtesy of Agriculture. I also recently discovered a 90s record that blew my socks off – The Key by Nocturnus. This meant it was about time I put a mix together of some of my favourite metal moments. This mix kicks off with black metal blasts and ends with long experimental pieces from bands including Atramentus and Consumation. I had to end the mix with something a little more easy on the ears and from my all-time favourite Doom Metal band, Yob. Honorable mentions go to Sunn O))), Melvins and Boris who didn’t quite fit the tone of the mix, even though they are the best. In terms of format, I have most of my metal on CD for purposes on blasting in the car and nostalgia. Many of these are ripped from CD and vinyl with a few digital downloads for extra fidelity. Blood Incantation are owed a mention for making one of the best Doom Metal records of all time and thanks to John Olson for spreading the love. If you get a chance to see their episode of What’s in My Bag I highly recommend it. I haven’t mentioned Wolves in the Throne Room which fill me with nostalgia as I remember getting a double LP from my parents one Christmas and they weren’t happy when I played it. 

Metal is a crowded arena, but is full of gems; both hidden and high on the radar of music fans. It’s full of shit and gold and I love discovering new artists from the past and present. As someone who leans towards ambient and experimental, it is a genre that manages to swallow forms both in a unique and beautiful way. Devil horns on and trousers down. Let’s get messy.

The title of this episode comes from a couple of dark and strange gigs I went to back in the early noughties. One was Skullflower, where Matthew Bower burned his girlfriend’s blood in a church choking most of us sat in the front row, and another band I witnessed at the now dead Robert Peel in Kingston, where the lead singer (I Can’t remember the band) consumed blood from the top half of a skull and spat it over the audience. All very metal.

Skull One
The Giza Power Plant
Blood Incantation
Hidden History of the Human Race
CD on Dark Descent Records

Skull Two
Look Pt. 1
LP on Flenser Records

Skull Three
Lake of Fire
The Key
CD on Earache 

Skull Four
Wolves in the Throne Room
Two Hunters
CD on Southern Lord

Skull Five
The Eminent Fires of Sacrifice
The Great Solar Hunter
LP on Profound Lore Records

Skull Six
The Clandestine Gate [edit]
Bell Witch
The Clandestine Gate
LP on Profound Lore Records

Skull Seven
Stygian I
LP on 20 Buck Spin

Skull Eight
To Be Cruel
To Be Cruel
LP on Sacred Bones Records

Skull Nine
Clearing the Path to Ascend
LP on Relapse Records

Inside No. 9 is an attempt to share unique narratives through the mixing of 9 songs. Every episode will showcase a new theme, opening up new tributaries of discovery. Inside No. 9 is presented by Peter Taylor, a former features writer for Foxy Digitalis from back in the late 2000s. Peter is a visual artist and musician and has been creating music as MAbH since 2008. 

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