While I was well immersed into the world of underground Metal by 2000, I was still naïve and impressionable in terms of my metal tastes.  I obsessed over sub-standard bands like Deeds of Flesh or Thyrfing.  I thought Vinnie Paul was one of the best drummers in Metal.  I thought “Re-Load” wasn’t THAT bad of an album.  And sure, I had become accustomed to the expected sounds of 99% of Death Metal, Black Metal, and (insert standard sub-genre here) Metal bands. 

But then, seemingly all at once, I was catapulted into a kaleidoscope of sounds:  ISIS, Discordance Axis, Cave In, Phantomsmasher, and Old Man Gloom among others on the Hydra Head roster.  What was wrong with these people?!  Were they, like, on a lot more drugs than your average metal musician?  How was it even possible to BE on more drugs than your average metal musician?!?!

Unfortunately, I was only ever able to answer the first question:  From what I could tell, they did not give a fuck what anyone else thought about them or their music.  They were bands and musicians that were brave enough to break away from the stale and standard sounds of most of their metal brethren.  Instead, they forged their own myriad musical paths.  In other words, they let their freak flags fly.  To this day, bands that are or once were on Hydra Head are still some of my favorite bands.

Thank Satan there was a label that was brave enough to foster them.

R.I.P. Hydra Head Records

I still want to know where you guys got your drugs.