Subtitled "The Earache Peel Sessions," this mind-crushing three-CD set documents all the appearances by the legendary U.K. label's performers on the John Peel radio show during the late '80s and early '90s. DJ Peel was an early champion of Earache's bands, particularly Napalm Death, whose blindingly fast punk-thrash (christened "grindcore" by then-drummer Mick Harris) was the newest ultimate sonic extreme back then. So Napalm, Extreme Noise Terror, Bolt Thrower, Carcass, Godflesh, Unseen Terror, Heresy, and Intense Degree all took turns trooping to the BBC's studios to record live-in-the-studio run-throughs of some of their most intense material, all of which was then broadcast to unwitting listeners. Napalm and ENT are the most heavily represented here, with 34 and 22 tracks respectively, but that's at least in part because Napalm's songs at this point tended to run between four and 90 seconds. Most of these performances aren't that different from their equally raw album versions; this will give the listener an idea of what it might have been like to see Napalm, ENT, or Carcass back in the early days, but little more. And frankly, Heresy and Intense Degree are also-rans, their material included for completion's sake and nothing more. Godflesh, though, fronted by the always experimenting Justin Broadrick, took the session as a chance to explore his group's sound a little bit, and he brought in saxophonist Kevin Martin, with whom he'd later collaborate in God, Ice, and Techno Animal, among other projects, to shriek and blare on a skull-cracking version of "Pulp" that's like an argument between Swans and Albert Ayler in a vacuum cleaner factory.
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AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2