An Exhaustive Study: Wild Rags Records (1987-1999)

Wild Rags was originally a record shop founded by Richard Campos in East Los Angeles that was heavily involved in the promotion of extreme metal worldwide as well as tape and zine trading. Campos‘ tendrils reached zines and scenes of every language and though his reputation has been questioned before and after the dissolution of Wild Rags, the label would serve as a home and launching pad for some monumental bands/releases in the realm of extreme metal. Giants of the extreme metal world like Sigh, Gorgoroth, Necrophobic, Deeds of Flesh, Centinex, Behemoth and even Emperor found humble beginnings with releases on Wild Rags Records. I won’t even bother to go on and rant about how The Wild Rag! was one of the most enthusiastic and shameless zine/catalog reads of it’s time and Wild Rags Records full spreads and advertisements in other zines were insanely cool sources of obscure bands at the time.


History is full of moderately successful assholes, entitled dicks, and over-promising jerk-offs. The bustling cusp of extreme heavy metal was the right place for Mr. Campos to be opinionated and passionate about the music he loved and his shop was a lighthouse for the underground across roughly a decade. The accounts of who he was as a person, besides a weirdo, ranged from “Well, he fuckin’ ripped us off all things considered.” to “He was a great guy and nothing went wrong until the mail stopped coming.” My interest in the history of the label grew from a Metal-Rules interview with Patrick Rainieri of Hellwitch where he talked about their experience with Wild Rags and their debut full-length ‘Syzygial Miscreancy’. That alongside a somewhat elitist and soured Metal Injection article entitled “I was in the Wild Rags street team” I occasionally felt like I was getting hyperbole and unimportant information rather than a representation of Campos’ achievements and greater efforts. The kicker in motivating me to write about Wild Rags also came from a similar effort from Mithy’s Moving Castle blog entry back in 2011, with both personal anecdotes and the most complete list of the Wild Rags discography.

Richard Campos circa early 90’s. Photo attribution unknown.

Although it was speculated that Richard Campos was wanted for income tax evasion at one point, there is no verifiable source for this (the records would be public) and more recently his relatives have commented that his assets and holdings were in fact liquidated in auctions but it was due to his choice to retire and it was not a forced/legal situation. As stated in the Metal Injection blurb, the fine fellows in Sadistic Intent bought much of it and still parse it out through their Dark Realms imprint. I understand the importance of where the Wild Rags story ends up, but what really matters is that the incredibly diverse and groundbreaking catalog does not go on forgotten just because business deals went south or personalities clashed. Wild Rags was a very important underground distributor, trader, zine, and label for North America and deserves credit where credit is due!

A typical Wild Rags Records multi-release full page ad. Just look at those albums! These are some truly amazing underground metal releases.

So, my methods here are pretty straightforward and loosely chronological. I’ve taken lists of Wild Rags Records releases from three main sources. Keep in mind I’ve left out some of them specifically because I have no way to hear them. There will be a list of stuff I’m missing at the end of the list. The core of the list comes from Metal-Archives [Click Here] as it is an old and reputable list containing the most specific release dates. The list was otherwise compiled using RateYourMusic [Click Here] even though that database is often lazily crowd-sourced information, it has a surprisingly complete set of Wild Rags releases. Lastly I used Discogs [Click Here] to refine the list and check dates as Discogs is a database typically edited by ultra-serious collectors with direct from physical media information, despite a relatively low independent metal fanatic user base. I’ve additionally sourced some information and photos from Send Back My Stamps!, an amazing zine preservation society worth frequenting.

In forming a list of releases and writing up mini-reviews for all ~150 or so of them I am primarily aiming to drum up interest in some of the long forgotten gems within. Just because I blow-off a release as garbage doesn’t mean you’ll agree, so check for yourself if you’re inspired. The important thing is to give some nods towards bands that you might not have ever heard of because of bad business deals or problems between bands and WRR. The additional historical value of seeing currently huge bands when they were struggling youngsters seeking exposure on a tiny-assed hot shit label from California cannot be overstated. Anyhow, bear with my rambling nonsense and I hope you find stuff you’ve never heard that kicks your ass.



Artist Bloodcum
Title [Type/Year] Demo [Demo/1987]
LISTEN on YouTube!

D.R.I. influenced thrash metal from some literal relatives of Slayer members. Why people care that Tom Araya‘s brother played guitar on this is beyond me, he’s not even good. Is it party thrash or horror thrash? I guess depends who you talk to. Tracks like “Belligerent Youth” sure sounds like any other crossover band from back in the day and less like Slayer as many people suggest. The sound is clear, not too annoying and yeah for a 1986 demo (and a tape from this label) it sounds remarkably clear. I like crossover thrash, so I’m into it and then kinda out of it just as fast. The demo gets better as it progresses, so give it a good 10 minute try if you can.


Artist Resistant Militia
Title [Type/Year] Resistant Militia [EP/1987]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Furious hardcore with elements of death metal, grindcore, thrash. I guess if you’re into that early period of grindcore/hardcore and proto-death then this might have escaped you. I like the style of tracks like “Life Process” because it is ominous and sludgey without being too corny. Then tracks like “Slaves” wears its noisy welcome fast with choppy drumming and what I’d consider weak riffs. Overall this is pretty murky and dark for a hardcore band and they were unique enough to warrant a listen or two. Doesn’t really replace bands like Final Conflict for me, but a cool spin.


Artist Preacher
Title [Type/Year] Trapped in Hell [Demo/1987]
LISTEN on YouTube!

While I do love demo thrash this isn’t my favorite thrash demo ever. The style is sort of proto-black thrash that is heavily influenced by the scene they came from. Fast, raw, snotty thrash metal. I dislike the acidic vocalist who might be more fitting in a crossover/hardcore band, but the riffs carry the songs well enough. If you like demo thrash that is evil and ‘blackened’ in a revisionist sense, this is worth checking out. Fast and simple drumming kills it for me here, the sound is bad and it interrupts some decent Slayer-ish guitar moments. The soloing is cat scratching randomness and that docks a few points for me too. Meh.


Artist Anialator
Title [Type/Year] Anialator [Demo/1988]
LISTEN on YouTube!

I only every knew about this band because it shared members with Devastation (US, TX) and I love that band. It does kind of sound like a formative version of that band at first glance, but even Devastation‘s demos sounded better. I don’t like the weaker-than Slayer imitation here, and it seems to have been the sort of demos WRR liked early on as they pushed out a lot of awkward Slayer-ish demo thrash bands that never went anywhere. I know some folks love Anialator‘s demos but I find it all pretty bland. It does capture ’88 garage thrash pretty well though.


Artist Bloodlust
Title [Type/Year] Terminal Velocity [EP/1988]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Bloodlust is good, particularly on this pre-“Guily As Sin” EP. If you like bands like Laaz Rockit that still had the shrieking, awkward post-glam vocalist and a sound that is very LA metal without being soft and fluffy… this is that. Heavy riffs, some decent speed, and a character of a vocalist who can wail. For me, this is the first release on WRR that I actually really liked. As far as I know this band shared members with bands like Abbatoir and Recipients of Death, and falls somewhere between the sound of those two bands on this EP.


Artist Bloodcum
Title [Type/Year] Death by a Clothes Hanger [Full-length/1988]
LISTEN on YouTube!

While I do like many tracks on this album the whole thing is just really sloppy and weak overall. Too slow for a crossover or thrash album, lyrics that try to be as clever or shocking as like Suicidal Tendencies but don’t really come close and sometimes the sound is worse than their demo from two years earlier. I’m not a big Bloodcum fan anyhow, but hey you can’y deny the urgent hardcorish muscle of tracks like “Live to Kill” as derivative as they are.


Artist Recipients of Death
Title [Type/Year] Recipients of Death [EP/1988]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Awesome hardcore/thrash EP with D.R.I. sounding vocals and a guitar tone that reminds me of the earliest German thrash. The tracks get heavier as the EP plays. This was produced by Eric Meyer of Dark Angel who also did Bloodlust‘s stuff as well as some Mexican death metal bands (Transmetal, Blackthorn). Everything he engineered or produced is about as uneven but raging as ‘Darkness Descends’, production-wise. I enjoy this EP a lot in bursts, it is energetic and heavy without really breaking any mold.


Artist Gammacide
Title [Type/Year] Victims of Science [Full-length/1989]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Gammacide had the energy of Vio-lence and the heaviness of Demolition Hammer (almost) and copped a style in-between the two. The vocalists phrasing so closely follows Vio-lence you might be annoyed at first, but this album is truly great when given a fair chance. The songwriting lacks at times but the death metal drumming and stunning riffs keep it rolling in the best tradition of classic thrash metal. A must listen release for US thrash metal.


Artist Infamous Sinphony
Title [Type/Year] Manipulation [Full-length/1989]
LISTEN on YouTube!

This is a unique and surprisingly well recorded grind/thrash-core release with awesome vocals that are just pissed and evil in a way that I’ve only heard from Cryptic Slaughter before. I always hoped that final Cryptic Slaughter record sounded like this instead. If you are a crossover lover and you missed this one shame on you because the stupid name and small release kept it from every getting noticed but it is well worth tracking down and jumping into. I love the album art too.


Artist Not-Us
Title [Type/Year] Think What You Want [EP/1989]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Often mislabeled as thrash or crossover, this is obviously a hardcore punk album that is both typical and kind of weak for the time it was released. If you like the first D.R.I. album this follows closely that style with some NYHC dork-isms like spoken parts a la 7 Seconds. Not anything overly special for hardcore punk but should be interesting to fans of the style who have heard everything -but- this. Boring.


Artist Anialator
Title [Type/Year] 3+2 [Demo/1989]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Better sound this time.


Artist God B.C.
Title [Type/Year] Eargasms in Eden [Full-length/1989]
LISTEN on YouTube!

I consider this post-God/pre-Hysteriah G.B.C. album to be the Swedish version of Ludichrist but less heavy and somehow more fun. The lyrics are really bad, the vocals don’t carry the songs and it isn’t a great album, but it somehow captivates my attention when it plays. I don’t know who would even like this record but I guess if you like melodic hardcore, crossover thrash and can stomach funk metal (this is as goofy as that, but no funk thankfully). I like it but also don’t like it at all.


Artist Jersey Dogs
Title [Type/Year] Don’t Worry, Get Angry! [EP/1989]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Worst cover art I’ve seen in ages. I like Jersey Dogs though, good thrash sound and vocals are listenable. Nothing special, though.


Artist Blood
Title [Type/Year] Impulse to Destroy [Full-length/1989]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Could you blame Wild Rags‘ limited release for keeping Blood from taking over the world with their grind core? No, because this is done in such bad taste it couldn’t be more than a novelty. The vocals are pitch shifted and the music, while wild and heavy and insane is lacking compared to other early grindcore stuff. Blood is great, dont’ get me wrong, but this was as much of a joke then as stuff like pornogrind is now. If you like hardcore ass grind with hilarious vocals, this will be a lesson in history for you. For me, it is unbearable 60% of the time.


Artist Blasphemy
Title [Type/Year] Fallen Angel of Doom…. [Full-length/1990]
LISTEN on YouTube!

This band was important in the sense that they really influenced a group of black/death metal bands to use grindcore drumming and death metal riffs to produce war metal.. Which has morphed into more of a black metal thing over the years. I dunno if this was the first band to do that or whatever, I guess Sarcofago and Beherit did stuff first… I don’t personally care, this band is better. ‘Fallen Angel of Doom…’ is brutally heavy at times and there are good riffs here. Not really my area of expertise though, though.


Artist Hellwitch
Title [Type/Year] Syzigial Miscreancy [Full-length/1990]
LISTEN on YouTube!

These guys had all the raging energy and prowess of demo-era Atheist or Cynic and when they made it to album… they single-handedly one-upped “Seven Churches” and dumped off about 100 riffs that would be stolen for decades. The appeal here, for me, is the balance of the primitive brutality and the technically impressive. The recording evolves to a height of complexity and style as it progresses and ends up being one of my top 10 all time favorite albums. One of the only Wild Rags releases I’ve ever really tried to purchase. I absolutely love this album.


Artist Toxodeth
Title [Type/Year] Mysteries About Life & Death [Full-length/1990]
LISTEN on YouTube!

I had to sit and listen to the whole album again. I’d avoided this record because of the production and sound for a long time, but I think I was misguided because the style of this record is unique and kind of great. “Mysteries…” is largely the efforts of one songwriter over the course of three years and he basically pieced it together with a band and made an album of it. The result is an uneven sounding, sometimes too surprising record full of oddball long-winded lead guitars and angry death metal growls. It ends up working really well, and actually fits into the strange WRR catalog just right. It feels so cobbled together that I have to skip a few parts, such as the intro which doesn’t fit anything that follows… but yeah, another love it but kind of dislike it album. But this is such an obscure and cool record I have to recommend it.


Artist Impetigo
Title [Type/Year] Ultimo Mondo Cannibale [Full-length/1990]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Like War metal, I also rarely enjoy goregrind. This is barfy, catchy, gorey, dumb as hell and kind of awesome. The pitch-shifted vocals and general insanity of Impetigo made them stand out in the coolest way possible. Of course this album is awful for death metal riff admirers, it plays like a loop of bad Repulsion riffs with snarls over them. I had fun, but only once. Now I don’t care, again.


Artist Arcane
Title [Type/Year] Destination Unknown [Full-length/1990]
Listen on YouTube

Heavy progressive thrash metal with kind of weak vocals. As others have said this isn’t as good as stuff like Realm or Fates Warning but fits in that area of thrash metal. Lots of good speedy riffs and varied approaches to thrash riffing. It has grown on me over time but I don’t go around craving this sound, it is largely unheavy.


Artist Nuclear Death
Title [Type/Year] Bride of Insect [Full-length/1990]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Now this is more like it, another forward-yet-backward thinking album from the world of extreme grind variants and hot off the heels of Impetigo too. Female vocals, thrashy riffs, lots of great breaks and punchy riffs make this a sloppy yet thrilling ride to take. As much of mess as the recording can be, clattering and screeching abound, the vocalist follows the music in a way that is one part hardcore punk and one part death metal that really works better than a lot of early grindcore did. A dirty and brilliant mess of a record. WRR really had their finger on the pulse of special releases around this time.


Artist Sadistic Intent
Title [Type/Year] Impending Doom… [EP/1990]
LISTEN on YouTube!

The least satisfying band ever in the history of death metal. Not because they were bad, they’re incredible, but because no full-lengths ever came from them. Without any long-plays to test their songwriting steel, and a lot of generally under produced material, I always felt like Sadistic Intent was unfinished business. This is a great EP that is slightly mired by its sound and isn’t their best or worst material ever. This band could have been a nice footnote in the history of California death metal like Insanity, but instead seem to have been lurking around doing other things for decades.


Artist Hexx
Title [Type/Year] Quest For Sanity [EP/1990]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Fast, blistering thrash metal a la Sadus. I guess the demo for this EP was released and I’m not sure if Wild Rags released that version or the final release. I really like most of Hexx’s material as they went from Maiden clone to Sadus clone, great stuff. If you like thrash metal, this is a very heavy and polished set of songs to skim through. Some of their best material.


Artist Hexx
Title [Type/Year] Watery Graves [EP/1990]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Further refined sound from Hexx as they do their own thing with the Sadus attack sound. They start to remind me of Hellwitch on the next album a bit. A good preview of what would come with “No Escape” a year later but nothing essential at all (hence why I just link the Live version of the first song). The other two tracks are just re-recordings of old songs with the new sound.


Artist Dorsal Atlântica
Title [Type/Year] Searching For The Light [Full-length/1990]
LISTEN on YouTube!

One of the better thrash albums released by Wild Rags (a year after the initial pressing by Heavy Records) and maybe my favorite thing from this band. Brazilian thrash could often be highly derivative but I feel like this record wasn’t such an offender and wasn’t trying to sound like Sepultura, Slayer or Metallica at the time. A good guitar riff album to kind of zone out to, which I don’t find with a lot of old school thrash these days as the vocalist never gets in the way of the guitars. Highly recommended to thrash fans who might have passed this up.


Artist Blood
Title [Type/Year] Recognize Yourself [EP/1990]
LISTEN on YouTube!

GURRGHH! Bleeh la haaaaughhh! Heavy, dumb and I like this a little more than ‘Impulse to Destroy’ because there aren’t any pitch shifted vocal effects.


Artist Recipients of Death
Title [Type/Year] Final Flight [EP/1990]
LISTEN on YouTube!

The second EP from Recipients of Death is more straight forward Cali-style thrash that is less hardcore influenced and cleaner sounding. “Final Flight” strongly resembles bands like Blood Feast or Rigor Mortis with heavy guitars and a snarled vocal style. I strongly prefer the first EP, but this is still quite good.


Artist Death Courier
Title [Type/Year] Necrorgasm [EP/1991]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Death Courier was awesome up to and including their first full length. The first track on this EP could almost pass for a demo track from At the Gates around this time, if it was a little bit less thrash oriented. Great death metal band that was really overlooked for not being special enough, I guess, but all their stuff is worth several spins. Awesome 7″.


Artist Nuclear Death
Title [Type/Year] Carrion for Worm [Full-length/1991]
LISTEN on YouTube!

As much as I loved the first Nuclear Death album this second one takes such a strange garbled dive into garbage production that I can’t recommend it. I absolutely hate the guitar tone and bass-heavy drum sound, it is un-listenable and has none of the charm of the first record. No thanks.


Artist Nausea
Title [Type/Year] Crimes Against Humanity [Full-length/1991]
LISTEN on YouTube!

This one really, really benefits from being cranked up due to the distant, cardbord box sounding production. The style is a completely pure form of grindcore that heavily delves into crust punk and Amebix style freakouts. That should make sense because this is basically the folks who were partially responsible for Terrorizer. I love this record just as much as I do ‘World Downfall’, as different as it is most of the time. Easily top 5 best Wild Rags related release.


Artist Impetigo
Title [Type/Year] Faceless [EP/1991]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Not my style, but worth a listen. There are some pretty metal riffs on this album though, its not all punkish Autopsy riffs and zombie vocals. Best zombie vocals ever though, don’t get me wrong. I could do without the spoken word samples, though.


Artist Extreme Smoke
Title [Type/Year] Open Your Eyes… And Die! [Demo/1991]
LISTEN on YouTube!

A trance inducing noisecore/grindcore hybrid from a band at their heaviest on this first demo. Some of the best riffing you’ll hear in this style. Almost as good as their “Who sold the scene?” EP.


Artist Necrophobic
Title [Type/Year] Unholy Prophecies [Demo/1991]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Easily one of the best Swedish death metal demos of all time and preceded one of the finest death metal albums of all time. Everything they did between 1990 and 1998 is awesome.


Artist Sigh
Title [Type/Year] Tragedies [Demo/1991]
LISTEN on YouTube!

“Tragedies” is Sigh embodied, the weirdness and the heaviness is all here. The lo-fi sound of this demo isn’t my favorite but it still sounds better than their 2015 album. I think if you love ‘Scorn Defeat’ you should rush towards this demo if you haven’t already.


Artist Zombified Preachers of Gore
Title [Type/Year] Demo 1991 [Demo/1991]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Besides having a cool name and a weird cover that looks like a zombie preacher jerking off, this is a pretty bland and average death/grind demo. There are genuinely heavy riffs here, some cool atmosphere, and a lot of it reminds me of the Paul Speckmann school of death metal in general.


Artist Brutality
Title [Type/Year] Metamorphosis [Demo/1991]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Brutality were one of the absolute best death metal bands to come from the Florida death metal scene. This was the last demo before the first album and it has a thrash metal feel to it at times, with vocals that are fully intelligible most of the time. I dunno, I don’t think this is essential listening for me, but it is a nice demo with several great songs. Doesn’t hint at the refined colossal debut album though.


Artist Order From Chaos
Title [Type/Year] Stillbirth Machine [Full-length/1992]
Listen on YouTube!

‘Stillbirth Machine’ is interesting as the vocals are kind of crust punk/early grindcore most of the time and the music is garage death metal. Amebix doing war metal? Repulsion doing black metal? Unique and filthy stuff. The start of important lineage and obscure darkness alike.


Artist Necrotomy
Title [Type/Year] Indecent Exposure [EP/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

A self released death/grind EP with awful pitch shifted vocals. I guess it is relevant to Impetigo’s style, and while it is a halfway unique idea for the time the vocals are so horrible… and the riffs are cool but aren’t much more than slow atmosphere for gurgling.


Artist Nuclear Death
Title [Type/Year] For Our Dead [EP/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Yeah, I dunno. This kind of stuff just doesn’t grab me anymore these days. Messy, filthy, deathgrind with lots of big riffs and blasted parts. I mean, it is great in the way that powerviolence or hardcore punk is great, but at some point I would rather go bump Winter or Nausea instead.


Artist Impetigo
Title [Type/Year] Horror of the Zombies [Full-length/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Impetigo basically got twice as good on this second album with more boppin’ drum patterns and clearer guitar sound. In my opinion this was their finest moment, even if the clips aren’t as good as some other releases. I don’t mind the layered pitch shifted vocals, or the odd bass tone (when you can even hear it) but whatever this music was created in the wildest most ‘punk rock’ kind of way that it just buzzes by in the heaviest, not-too-serious kind of way. It is heavy, sometimes unpredictable, and always kinda catchy the way only an early 90’s grind album could be.


Artist Crucifer
Title [Type/Year] Festival of Death [EP/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

This is one of the more pure death/thrash releases from Crucifer, who put out the really interesting “Pictures of Heaven” a year after this. This is definitely a true gem for death metal fans wading through the sloppy crap Wild Rags was putting out in the early 90’s. The playing was tight enough, the riffs varied and numerous, there is a lot to like here on ‘Festival of Death’. I highly suggest grabbing this if you’re a death/thrash fan.. it is one of the beter demos of all time in that sub-genre.


Artist Ancient Rites
Title [Type/Year] Evil Prevails… [EP/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Nothing against drum machine death metal, but this was one of the worst things to come from this interesting band. That isn’t to say it is horrible, but it isn’t particularly listenable. As always Ancient Rites were extremely unique and the atmosphere of “Evil Prevails…” is excellent.


Artist Delayed Action Bomb
Title [Type/Year] Alice in Horror Land [Demo/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Decent demo from DAB, a stock standard riffing death metal band with a fairly primitive approach. Some of the riffs/drumming reminds me of early Loudblast.


Artist Lullaby
Title [Type/Year] Lucifer [EP/1992]
Never LISTEN to this!

Pretend this doesn’t exist. It has drum machines, bad guitars, whispered vocals from a woman with a thick Brazilian accent. Just avoid this please.


Artist Mausoleum
Title [Type/Year] Summoning of the Damned [Demo/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Decent death metal demo with a raspy, wild vocalist and some surprising guitar moments. This is a demo so I won’t go on about the bad drum sound, but I think this demo could have lead to an interesting album if they’d stayed together. It is fairly technical, lots of thrash feel to it, and heavy breaks keep things interesting in otherwise mostly rote tracks.


Artist Mordor
Title [Type/Year] Csejthe / Odes [Compilation/1992]
Skip to 1995 on the list to hear both. 

Hey! Are you looking for some truly amazing funeral doom that you’ve never heard of? These guys deliver amazing atmospheric death/funeral doom in one two hour long package that is just amazing. It seriously gives Thergothon a run for their money, the ultra slow and semi-goth howl of ‘Csejthe’ and the brilliant-for-its-time ‘Odes’ are both pure pleasure for those looking to frown, sit and stare off into space. I can’t recommend this enough, funeral doom is rarely this entertaining for this long. Must, must listen to this at least once if you like slow death/funeral doom.


Artist Necrophobic
Title [Type/Year] The Call [EP/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

A solid teaser prelude to the amazing album to follow. Skippable, as its all elsewhere on the first two records.


Artist Sigh
Title [Type/Year] Requiem for Fools [EP/1992]
Listen on YouTube!

The doom riffs of this short EP are stunning and paired well with the evil black metal vocals. Sigh were basically awesome from the start.


Artist Subject
Title [Type/Year] Nihilistic Perspectives [Demo/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Blasting, brutal and frantic. This band are kind of awesome if you like reasonably tasteful Terrorizer style but with the looser blast of “Scum”. Reminds me of Righteous Pigs in some ways. Overall a very cool demo with decent sound, I’m interested to see how they turned into a tech thrash band a couple years later and self-released an album with a horse on the front. Get this if you love stuff like Defecation, Napalm Death‘s ‘Utopia Banished’ and deathgrind in general.


Artist Unholy
Title [Type/Year] Trip to Depressiv Autumn [Demo/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Unholy are rightfully legends of death/doom but I know this demo isn’t for everyone. The vocals are much more blunt and the buzzing of the guitars in the mix leaves a bit to be desired. But hey it is a demo and the music is actually pretty awesome if you’re into slow paced death/doom from a band you could fairly blame for funeral doom ever being good. There are faster sections here for folks who just love death metal, plenty of them actually, so don’t go pass it up as a snooze. Just uh… the clean vocals that pop up are meant to invoke depression and uncertainty. They were ambitious, and I effin’ love this.


Artist Ripped
Title [Type/Year] Easter Island [EP/1992]
Listen on YouTube!

I really love Ripped‘s “Blotter” tape and it remains one of my absolute favorite obscurities from the midwest USA but upon first purchasing ‘Easter Island’ I was kind of bummed. I love this style of prog/tech whatever thrash/death and it is unique but it goes sooo far to be technical and wild that it starts to feel like fiddly groove metal at times. The vocalist is nuts and if you want more of that their second album is insane shit. This EP can be great, parts of it remind me of Hellwitch even. If you don’t mind the hardcorish vocals there is a lot to like here.


Artist Thergothon
Title [Type/Year] Fhtagn-nagh Yog-Sothoth [Demo/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Easily one of, if not THE most influential release in the formation of funeral doom metal as a sound and style. I prefer ‘Stream From the Heavens’ but some tracks are better here with the stark demo production and kinda-burped vocals. I don’t honestly love this demo at all upon repeated listens but I do find it very important. It is essentially slow motion gothic metal with pitch shifted vocals and some acid-soaked death metal guitar sound.


Artist Nasferatu
Title [Type/Year] For the Blood is Life [Demo/1992]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Nice chuggy death metal with some thrash elements. I love the intensity here but I’m not hearing anything worth freaking out over.


Artist Judecca
Title [Type/Year] Awakened by the Stench of the Dead [EP/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Judecca is a pretty decent death metal band from Florida that shared a similar fate as Horror of Horrors (whom they did a split with) where their sound was heavy and solid but death metal had moved onto more brutal things and their label was really just hobby-grade and probably didn’t make enough money, or generate enough interest, to pay for anything beyond a few EPs and an album. This is a solid EP, great sound and it has a mix of Florida style moments, and what I’d consider a midwest death metal level of creativity. Nice gravely growls, buzzing guitars that register higher in the mix outside of chugging, and lots of cool atmospheric ideas. The second track could be from an Amorphis or Gorement demo. I’d definitely recommend finding all of this bands stuff and giving it a fair listen, the LP isn’t great as a whole due to production but the EPs are fantastic.


Artist Crucifer
Title [Type/Year] Pictures of Heaven [Full-length/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Crucifer never became a big name, or even a side-note, in the already low-profile world of death/thrash and that is a shame. ‘Pictures of Heaven’ has a lot of stupid choices (slow-mo voice in the first track…) in production and all that but ultimately succeeds as an interesting and varied death/thrash album. The guitar tone and the wobbling basslines compliment the tighter-than-normal performances (for a Wild Rags band, at least) and the songwriting is better than anything revered bands like Massacra did (past their second album…) I feel like these guys were inspired by Nocturnus in the atmospheric builds that appear in several songs, and the solos are mostly spot-on for death metal. I’d compare the guitar work to a band like early No Return minus the mid-80’s thrash, or Ripped‘s ‘Blotter’ tape. I think if this band had a producer and a budget this might have made a bigger mark, compared to no mark at all I guess, and it is worth spinning if you like death/thrash that is really a 50/50 genre splice.


Artist Deathcult
Title [Type/Year] Sodomy / Repulsive in My Ways [EP/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

I’m a sucker for obscure death metal demos that are actually completely conceived and written albums waiting for a budget to produce. This is exceptional, despite the sound quality, in that it is complete and well performed mid-to-slow paced death metal. There is something very raw, very Severed Survival, about this recording as it feels desperate and angry with guitarwork that is clearly meant to be heavy as it is clever. The dissonant ringing guitar lines and doom-ish riffs remind me of Winter‘s album minus the Celtic Frost tone and with a ton more Autopsy. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say this is a hidden gem for most people, it is absolutely worth hearing if you like filthy sludge-fucked death metal that isn’t at all concerned with playing fast in favor of inciting rituals that would raise corpses from the ground before eating them.


Artist Judecca
Title [Type/Year] Scenes of an Obscure Death [EP/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Judecca’s sound had changed a bit too much on this second album and it sounds like they were concerned with keeping up with modern bands of the time, but still couldn’t really play their instruments well enough. The drum sound is just obnoxious on this recording, the vocals are hollow and too distant and the guitars barely register in the faster sections. Nothing really works on this 30 minute EP unless it is mid-paced and there are tons of cool riffs and chugs here, well… mostly chugs. I never liked this EP as it just seemed to be trying so hard to be brutal and they lost the interesting songwriting of the first EP in favor of Cannibal Corpseified sound and terrible drumming.


Artist Lullaby
Title [Type/Year] My Master Lucifer [EP/1993]
Never LISTEN to this!

This is the most unbearably bad music that’ll be on this list, and that’s a feat because Wild Rags put out some total horseSHIT. Lullaby was a metal DJ from Brazil who decided she should make music, why? Who fuckin’ knows! So she stole some 80’s rock and doom riffs and whispered over them for an average of 1-3 minutes per song with about one riff per song. The title track has a riff that is lifted straight from Pentagram as far as I can tell, so that is good but it’s the same riff for 2.5 minutes. Just awful stuff and the ‘vocals’ are painful to listen to even for a few minutes. Never again!


Artist Goddefied
Title [Type/Year] Abysmal Grief [EP/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

If you’re a fan of Entombed‘s first two albums, particularly the second one, then there’s a lot to like here. They get the sound down perfectly but the guitar tone is thinner and the lead guitars are fairly spot on in their aimless, careless rock meandering. I like old school Swedish death metal so none of this offends me, but it isn’t very exciting to put this kind of album on when it just makes me want to listen to the hundreds of better versions of this that are being pumped out year after year since.


Artist Emperor
Title [Type/Year] Wrath of the Tyrant [EP/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Well I suppose a lot of people never bothered with this CD until the ‘Emperor/Wrath of the Tyrant’ compilation until after the next two albums came out. I never really liked this release from Emperor, it has great riffing about 30% of the time and the echo-laiden vocals are awesome but rarely enhance the direction of the music. I have no issue with the chaos that is Emperor composition but this record is always secondary to their first full-length. But hey don’t listen to me, it is a classic.


Artist Cauterizer
Title [Type/Year] Then the Snow Fell [Full-length/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

I think the only copies of this that made it to CD transfer came from vinyl or cassette copies because every version I’ve heard is completely lacking in bass. The drums are unbearable sounding when they get going fast, but thankfully this is only 14 minutes long and the style is sort of doom/death. The dual guitars reminded me of Sentenced during the faster parts and their transitions but the music isn’t so stylized and the songwriting is under-developed. A cool quick fart of death metal but feels like I’m going through the motions with stuff like this, meh.


Artist Morgion
Title [Type/Year] Rabid Decay [Demo/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Well I dunno if it’s been made obvious but Morgion is one of my absolute favorite death/doom bands of all time. At some point I’d put them alongside stuff like disembowelment or Evoken, which should be my highest praise. This demo is fantastic, too, because it is also their most ‘death metal’ material with creative rhythm guitar work and flailing guitar solos all over the place. The atmospheric stuff is there too. Easily one of my favorite demos of all time.


Artist Incarnated
Title [Type/Year] Wool-Gathering [EP/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

You know, not every damn song needs an intro with a voice clip or a weird sound. I haven’t heard the full thing, just two tracks that I’ve linked below. This is excellent and completely brutal death metal from Sweden, reminds me of Inverted (also Swedish). The title track is all over the place with chugs, blasts, and even clean vocals at the end. It is a really cool, experimental set of ideas. The other Incarnated demo from a year later is maybe more refined but this one appears to be at least halfway awesome.


Artist Landfill
Title [Type/Year] Confined Inner Beauty [EP/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Ugh, industrial death metal. Like, real late 80’s industrial too not the NIN style stuff. I mean… I don’t know what else to compare this to besides Godflesh and I think that is fair right? Judging by the drum patterns and sound they may have been fans of stuff like Head of David in particular because it isn’t exactly ‘Streetcleaner’. I could be way off I guess. The influence of 90’s rock music is apparent here and it actually ends up being a cool tape to listen to especially if you like the stuff I mentioned already. It is depraved, heavy, and just exhausted without being listless.


Artist Centinex
Title [Type/Year] Under the Blackened Sky [Demo/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

A good demo from a mostly mediocre Swedish death metal band. I’m not a huge fan of their output but the slower paced stuff is really heavy on this demo. Centinex, and Demonical too, are at their best around mid-pace and this demo proves it for me. Not sure how a band as interesting as Utumno never went places but these guys keep it going to this day. A short and very cool death metal demo.


Artist Ritual
Title [Type/Year] Wave to Appear [Demo/1994]
Help me find this release!

I am a huge fan of Ritual‘s USBM majesty and have unfortunately never heard this first demo/album.


Artist Funeral
Title [Type/Year] Tristesse [Full-length/1994]
LISTEN on YouTube!

So, don’t hate on me for this but when the dual vocals kick in for this band one of them just sounds so hilariously retarded, the clean vocals on the left channel are just so bad. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always liked Funeral in theory but the early stuff was not only less heavy but just generally a series of flawed experiments. I still love the guitars on this album, the doom is so strong that the vocals only detract from the music on most tracks. Like “A Poem for the Dead” is this epic, amazing song with a shredding guitar solo near the end and it totally outdoes Opeth‘s best moments but somehow there’s a Kermit the Frog in the left ear just going “ooooh pigggy” the whole time. Maybe it’s just me…


Artist Inverted
Title [Type/Year] Revocation of the Beast [EP/1994]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Inverted were awesome, one of few obscure but totally balls-out Swedish death metal bands that could make in your face US-style death metal that still sounded Swedish. Kind of like what Seance did but less refined and this takes more cues from Deicide and early Florida bands I guess. The sound is pretty bad in these clips but there are cleaned up versions available in reissues. I’m a fan of this band and their full-length is even better.


Artist Drogheda
Title [Type/Year] Drogheda [Full-length/1994]
LISTEN on YouTube!

A classic style deathgrind record with a lot of awesome punk/death/grind/everything ideas in there. The spoken word stuff is really bad as they lace it through most songs, the vocal effects are bad in general. If not for the vocalist this would be a pretty interesting album that blows crap like Pungent Stench out of the water. There are a lot of slower moments that certainly recall the death/doom style and I only wish the fidelity was better as the approach is entirely unique. If you don’t mind the muddy, amateur sound (well, why are you reading about Wild Rags if you do?) there is a really cool album here.


Artist Resuscitator
Title [Type/Year] Iniciation [Demo/1993]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Uh, well it’s kinda like if Rotting Christ‘s second album was performed by the demo era of Beherit. I don’t know if that’s a good thing but I don’t like it about half the time. When the vocals stop and the riffs pop out it’s pretty great.


Artist Internal Bleeding
Title [Type/Year] Perpetual Degradation [EP/1994]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Not as good as the first demo because of production changes to stay in line with the scene they were hoping to be a part of. The style is all still there, but the sound is cluttered and claustrophobic beyond belief. Interesting if you’re into the early age of brutal death metal and ‘slam’ death.


Artist Thorns of the Carrion
Title [Type/Year] The Gardens of Dead Winter [Full-length/1994]
LISTEN on YouTube!

A new discovery for me upon making this list and a pleasant one at that. Thorns of the Carrion play a death/doom/funeral style that appears to be a cleaner and more adventurous take on Thergothon‘s ambition. The guitars move just fast enough to evoke doom upon the ears and the unconventional elements in the music are extremely fitting for the spirit of funeral doom, it reminds me of how a weird amateur band like Fungoid Stream can be so different from a lot of funeral doom but still fit so perfectly in the genre. This is actually close to my favorite release from Wild Rags at this point and I feel like that’s saying quite a bit. This would later be released as an album but the only addition was live tracks which are awful. I’ll only post this version.


Artist Nuctemeron
Title [Type/Year] A Time the World Forgot [Full-length/1994]
LISTEN on YouTube!

‘A Time the World Forgot’ is a rough edged gem that has been fully lost to obscurity. Apart from bands like Ritual, Abominant, and a few others this record was one reason I made this list because records like this were shoved aside and forgotten quickly being put out on a label like Wild Rags. Nuctemeron‘s sole recording covers the darkest and most twisted forms of death metal and death/doom but still whips out Autopsy like punkish death metal from nowhere once in a while. It is truly varied and somehow unpredictable, in the pleasant surprise sense, as it plays. It’s so rare to find an album like this that both holds up to the test of time, but fully fits back in 1994 where it came from. Its either the most varied death doom record of all time, or just a really impressive oddity that most folks won’t ever hear. You really should hear this one all the way through.


Artist Candiria
Title [Type/Year] Subliminal [EP/1994]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Uh, the first demo from this uh… Rap/jazz/metalcore band that was semi-popular in the 90’s and barely beyond. I really don’t know this group outside of the late 90’s stuff they did that never resonated with me due to hating nu-metal. This is a cool demo, it has a few death metal/metalcore songs with horror ambiance between them. I mean it is kinda cool to listen to, doubt I’ll try any more Candiria after this though knowing where things went from here. Folks who compare this to Atheist or Deicide are really, really stretching things.


Artist Gorgoroth
Title [Type/Year] Pentagram [Full-length/1994]
LISTEN on YouTube!

If you wanted to secure exactly what generic black metal from the 2nd wave sounded like, well Gorgoroth set a standard for basically unadulterated black metal that is simply just purely bland and rote black metal here. Is it important or very special? I don’t think so, I find it dry and tastelessly performed, but that is what is special about it to a lot of people. A genre example that I don’t personally enjoy that much but it isn’t offensive or anything.


Artist Vital Remains
Title [Type/Year] Excruciating Pain [Demo/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

One of the better demos from Vital Remains as it features tracks they’d use on their first album. Heavy and intricate death metal that is never overly technical or ambitious. Average stuff that mostly reminds me of Morbid Angel but Vital Remains was initially a great band that put out several great albums before Glen Benton ruined it for everyone. The Wild Rags issue of this demo really seemed like a bootleg, but I don’t think it necessarily was.


Artist Mordor
Title [Type/Year] Odes [Full-length/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Mordor‘s ‘Odes’ is an achievement in both noise/sound and in atmospherics in extreme metal. It simply creates the most extreme and dark form of doom that underground metal had heard. The slowness and the sustain of the the notes is exaggerated among muffled and barely audible ramblings, the whole thing is hard to even follow unless you’re intoxicated or space out so hard it hurts. It’s as if they heard other funeral doom and took it to the most psychedelic, dark and hidden place possible. I don’t know why but I absolutely love to sit in the stasis that is this funeral doom album. Few experiences compare, at least at the time it was made. The wild rags release is posthumous, about four years later on CD. This version includes a different track order and some minor changes to the length of the album. Honestly, get high and sit in the dark with this album up loud.


Artist Mordor
Title [Type/Year] Csejthe [Full-length/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

I do not like this one despite loving Mordor‘s ‘Ode’ because it is essentially some idiot with a couple of keyboards playing random spooky stuff with a drum machine as he kinda half growls and chants. Yeah, it’s fucking weird and dated at the same time. I couldn’t get into it at all.


Artist Crucifer
Title [Type/Year] Separation [EP/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

A poorly done EP/demo with a few bad thrash/groove/death songs. It’s just one guy and a drum machine, so all things considered this isn’t the worst thing ever but playing an Alice in Chains riff over some half-spoken growls isn’t very heavy not even for 1994. It’s hard to call this death metal at all honestly. I get a little bit of a Sepultura influence as things move on and it isn’t the worst thing ever but totally wasn’t worth tracking down either. I do like Crucifer in general though, right down to the aped Insanity font for the logo. The solos aren’t half bad either.


Artist Symphony of Grief
Title [Type/Year] Our Blessed Conqueror [EP/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Out of tune death/doom/funeral stuff that doesn’t really work. Sounds wonky during the slow parts and the drum machine is awful on faster songs. I totally get the appeal of this stuff and this genre but the drum machine and all that are just so poorly done I don’t know why this was ever released. It just isn’t good and trust me… I love death/doom and amateur shit more than most people.


Artist Drogheda
Title [Type/Year] Pogromist [Full-length/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

A random grindcore album that literally nobody every cared about. First time hearing this band and I like the swinging grind vibes and terrible blasted drums, it reminds me of a more crazy Blood (Germany) or similar. Guitar tone is garbage and the drums can’t be real, but it’s far from the worst thing I’ve heard going through this labels’ dearth.


Artist Behemoth
Title [Type/Year] …From the Pagan Vastlands [Full-length/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

So, is it terrible that I actually really like this album? I mean seriously I love the lo-fi sound and the synths are magical. It is a bad sounding demo but holy shit I love the suffocating tape noise and reverby guitars that meander in an awesome melodic way. This is great stuff and Darken does a great job with synth as well as the keyboardist. I really like early Behemoth in general but this is the earliest stuff that I can actually just listen to casually without issue. I’m not even joking, I love this demo.


Artist Dying Fetus
Title [Type/Year] Infatuation With Malevolence [Compilation/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Yeah, goofy jock music from guys who are smart enough not to take brutal too seriously. Brutal death metal/grind with some urrt-urrt vocals that are silly as shit. Not the worst shit ever but goddamn if I wasn’t irritated just listening to 10 minutes of this stupid shit. This is a compilation of earlier demos. And yes, I know Dying Fetus is your mosh life.


Artist Necromantia
Title [Type/Year] From the Past We Summon Thee [EP/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Can you seriously even consider this black metal? Its just a bassist and a drummer fiddling around trying to sound evil. This shit is horrible. CD release of the bands 7″ and I just think it is entirely stupid besides the quirky “La Mort”. Hilariously bad and I generally don’t like Necromantia anyway. Blah blah at you if you like them for their cool bass sound, it’s not that cool.


Artist Sacrilegium
Title [Type/Year] Sleeptime [EP/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Darkthrone style death metal demo from 1994. This is the CD release with clearer sound. It isn’t bad at all, quite clear and furious. Misanthropic even in it’s plagiarism.


Artist Mangled
Title [Type/Year] Perish [Demo/1995]
LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Ok, the whole reason I care about Wild Rags at all is the frustration I felt in tracking down this ‘album’, which is a demo, for years. I didn’t have the smarts or the resources to find it and I only had two of the songs from the demo that I found online. I think this demo is brilliant and finding it was half the fun of finally getting it. This thing absolutely stands up on a list of demos that really deserved to be made into albums as the death metal you find here is atmospheric, calmly melodic but still filth-ridden and menacing. This was a fluke recording though as the band hopped trends into a more Swedish style of sound and I didn’t realized that sound is here, just muddled with the tape noise. Even still, this is a special recording that did interesting things in 1993 and the fact that Wild Rags found it special enough to release it in 1995 is a testament to this style of label that couldn’t exist today in the same way outside of a Bandcamp label that just gloms together things they like. “Perish” is awesome and basically nobody will ever hear it, but it is special to me for some very simple reasons. Yes, there are female spoken word parts that suck but they’re very brief thankfully.


Artist Morningstar
Title [Type/Year] As the Wolves Howl… [EP/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Morningstar were a weird Finnish heavy metal band that did a oddball Lord of the Rings metal thing but totally Black metal at the same time. This is perhaps their most grim and cult release and it should excite people who like black n roll or black/heavy metal combinations. I found that I preferred the records where they went kinda Celtic Frost later on but this is still cool.


Artist Rise
Title [Type/Year] Life Into Ever Black [Demo/1995]
Listen on YouTube!

Rise‘s 1993 demo released on CD in 1995 through Wild Rags. This is an excellent demo from a great band, this showed the band was already incredibly capable three years before their debut album, which is one of my favorite US death metal recordings post-1995. Heavy death metal that can really slow down without losing momentum, menacing and brutal at the same time without being extreme for the sake of it.


Artist Landfill
Title [Type/Year] Extinction is Mandatory [Full-length/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

This is actually pretty good for industrial metal. Great guitar playing and excellent samples that create an successful industrial atmosphere. This goes beyond the simplicity of the first few Godflesh albums and makes up for the kinda bad EP/demo stuff they did previous. I listened to more than half of this album the first time I came across it and it really didn’t offend me. Sure, it’s not exactly Nailbomb or whatever but it has some cool moments and samples.


Artist Ritual
Title [Type/Year] The Summoning [Full-length/1995]
LISTEN on Bandcamp!

This is one of those albums that I really love and basically nobody on this site shares my opinion. I understand it is rough around the edges but just barely and isn’t that the point? Ritual always were one of the most ‘metal’ black metal bands that don’t mind pulling out a huge thrash or doom metal riff within their stomping, heavy black metal sound. I love the riffing and the general pagan/viking feeling stomp of the drums, I mean why do people love later era Immortal and not this? This was way before Immortal even bothered playing trad/thrash riffs within their sound. Anyway, this is just a hugely underrated gem that is only obscure because it was made in the US and put out by a label few people cared about. This is easily one of my favorite black metal albums of all time and I know I’m the only one who feels that way.


Artist Morningstar
Title [Type/Year] Rivendell [Full-length/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Imagine a black metal band that wasn’t really a black metal band that played Motorhead songs but through the filter of Celtic Frost‘s Into the Pandemonium, but way more raw? Yeah this is a heavy metal album from a band that was never really black metal on tape, but maybe they were in person? I dunno. This is cool stuff, clearly more Lord of the Rings metal from these folks and more swingin’ than before.


Artist Torture Krypt
Title [Type/Year] Rotted Remnants [EP/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Very basic brutal death metal band that sort of sounds like early Suffocation but less uh… spastic. Bland.


Artist Deeds of Flesh
Title [Type/Year] Gradually Melted [EP/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Pretty damn brutal death metal from California. These guys were exceptionally clear and precise on this first EP and the result is a brilliantly intense and forceful death metal EP. I actually like this more than some of their more popular releases, the real legendary stuff would come later.


Artist Seraph
Title [Type/Year] Awakened [EP/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

So, this is basically two violinists and a guitarist and drummer. Two vocalists one that does an alternative rock style of vocal that sucks and one that is growly. This is really interesting but totally weird at the same time, the violins don’t really ever mesh with the guitars and drums outside of the slower riffs. These guys were onto an interesting idea but it doesn’t really come together very well on this demo. The lyrics appear to be eastern metaphysical as well, which is even crazier. You basically have to listen to this demo, it is just unlike anything else, it’s also not good!


Artist Hot Stove
Title [Type/Year] Murder [Demo/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

I don’t know what the hell this is. I found a track of it on YouTube and it’s just this average death metal song. The YouTube comments include the vocalist detailing how he left the band and moved to the Virgin Islands because he hated winter weather and the lyrics were stupid. Cool.


Artist Fear Ritual
Title [Type/Year] Fear Ritual [EP/1995]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Death metal riffing here mostly straddles Deicide style guitar work, but there is a sort of Ripping Corpse-esque urgency as well. Might have been interesting to hear a full-length from these guys, they certainly do not sound like your average Brazilian death metal band. Good stuff.


Artist Autumn Dawn
Title [Type/Year] Emptiness [EP/1996]
Can’t find it!

Apparently some spiritual death metal from members of Criminal Element, Misery Index, etc. I can’t find any clips of the songs or other information.


Artist Angelkill
Title [Type/Year] Artist of the Flesh[Full-length/1996]
LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Weird. I searched all over for this album and somehow found it all on Bandcamp of all places. For a very long time you could only find this band on obscure demo blogs or p2p clients. Angelkill was an average (terrible) death/thrash band that badly needed a second guitarist on rhythm and a different lyricist. It feels very much like cheesy garage metal, but it isn’t half bad. I only wish all of their stuff was available online as some of it is kinda cool despite never really going full death metal like they probably should have. I guarantee anyone who clicks the album link won’t sit through more than two songs.


Artist Centinex
Title [Type/Year] Malleus Maleficarum [Full-length/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

I’m kind of amazed I never gave this band a listen beyond ‘Subconscious Lobotomy’ because this really good melodic death metal album was just sitting in front of me the whole time. The clattering drums and smooth, beautiful melodic guitar riffs just Swede-jizz all over my ears. I’m not a huge fan of what I’ve heard from this band otherwise but this release combines Dismember style bludgeon riffs with some nice focused almost black metallish drumming. Parts remind me of Dawn and others of Necrophobic, this is truly awesome shit and I didn’t hear it until 2017.


Artist Shredded Corpse
Title [Type/Year] Exhumed and Molested [Full-length/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Very old school brutal death metal that has that hardcore influence embedded in the riffing but still focuses on the breakdown style riffs that characterize things without always constantly blasting. This is actually a pretty amazing record when things slow down and get funky fresh mid-paced. The riffs are kind of slow and some of them really suck, but overall this is great shit.


Artist Primigenium
Title [Type/Year] …As Eternal as the Night… [EP/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

I like these two songs. They’re strange and almost perfectly capture what second wave black metal should be if it literally translates Venom as black metal but without the stupid rock jock silliness. There is a sort of wild, unrestrained pace that demands satisfaction as it confidently hikes through obscure European forests. This shit really rocks even a little more than their debut album, which I also like quite a bit.


Artist Bhaobhan Sidhe
Title [Type/Year] Corpse Crater [Full-length/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Uh, this used to be a black metal group on demos. This is some crazy medieval electronic music with a lot of really cool ideas that seem to be the bones for a metal album. What I like about this stuff is it reminds me of the Xytras album ‘Passages’ but maybe those oddball Samael electro instrumental things they did. Shit isn’t half bad.


Artist Astaroth
Title [Type/Year] Operation Warlord [EP/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

An average death metal song that sorta leans towards a more mid-paced kinda death metal. The riffs are great on the two tracks but I probably wouldn’t bother tracking down their other music on purpose. Kinda cool little obscurity, reminds me of finding NWOBHM bands with only one 7″.


Artist Judecca
Title [Type/Year] Beyond, What the Eyes Can’t See… [Full-length/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

A cool enough death metal album that sounds more like a demo from 1992. Tinny guitar tone and loud vocals make for a somewhat awkward listen. The guitar riffs are kinda slow and far from creative. It isn’t horrible stuff, but really needs more variety to keep me interested. If a song is just three riffs they need to be good riffs and the entire album is the same pace.


Artist Ysigim
Title [Type/Year] Whispers [Full-length/1996]
Listen on YouTube!

Oh wow, and really this takes early Esoteric and Mordor and turns it up and into something just massive and bewildering. This whole album is captivating and deeply uncomfortable. This type of music slows down the pace of the mind and either allows for great discord of focus in the mind. Ysigim is rife with chaos but it still drives itself in an incredibly focused way due to some incredible guitar work. This is another massive blip on the radar of Wild Rags that I greatly appreciate, I get a kick out of imagining a person recording this music and he somehow knew he was finished, he had created an amazing soundscape that is so incredibly layered and subtle with an edge of grime that is perfection and knew when to stop. To be fair this recording could use more dimension, but in its sparse state it feels almost tribal and organic. Enchanting funeral sad face music.


Artist Sadistic Torment
Title [Type/Year] Unearthly Horrors [Compilation/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Meh, 90’s brutal death metal demos compiled together. Not very good ones either, the drummer on the first demo is pretty awful. Second demo is less brutal but still just gore metal type stuff that I’m not really into.


Artist Corpsevomit
Title [Type/Year] Bastards of Foreverfilth [EP/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

I know CorpseVomit from their full-length which is good thrashy death metal that never really “goes for it”. This demo isn’t all that different and while the drummer is pretty good, the guitarist doesn’t have much more than some Incantation squeals to keep things interesting. I love the slower parts of their music but find the faster stuff lacking in any real ideas.  Not a bad release at all, just very forgettable.


Artist Angelkill
Title [Type/Year] Beyond the Black [Demo/1996]
LISTEN on Bandcamp!

I’m really surprised this is available on bandcamp. I really feel like a lot of folks should be smart like this and make old music available for sale and preview. I mean if Morbid Angel released their demos and single purchases of stuff like ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ 7″ they’d make good money I’m sure. The idea that a mediocre band like Angelkill is better preserved than much bigger names is still disturbing to me. This is probably the best of Angelkill‘s releases, it is aggressive and seems to be really working hard to make progressive death/thrash metal and not just the silly crap they did earlier on. It is easy to be brutal and mean to Angelkill, the music really is kinda bad, but it is somewhat listenable and historically interesting if you like obscurities and rarities. “Thirteen candles, THIRTEEN BODAYYS!” Hurr-durr! Trust me this demo gets all kinds of weird if you just let it spin.


Artist Hellbound
Title [Type/Year] Gravelust [EP/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Really basic-assed Deicide/Cannibal Corpse influenced gore death metal. Vocals follow riffing, verse/chorus/pit stuff/repeat. I honestly couldn’t stand the sound of it enough to finish the EP. It isn’t so bad for a demo EP, but I don’t really see why it needed a release from a label. So many bands were doing a lot more with this style at the time, this was the late 90’s already and Hellbound didn’t have their shit together beyond playing in time.


Artist Mangled
Title [Type/Year] …In Emptiness [EP/1996]
LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Well, uh, there I go ranting about old obscurities not being available. Who knows if the band sanctioned this Bandcamp page but it’s free. All three demos are very good from Mangled with ‘Perish’ being my favorite. This one really sees the band kicking into gear and getting loud and heavy, you really needed to be to feel modern in 1996 and the melodicism is still somewhat there. Mangled were likely just genre hopping to see which wave got the most attention and on this demo fans of Entombed/Dismember would likely have taken note first. I don’t detect any death n roll, though, so maybe they were just too late to the party each time and settled on what they could do ‘best’. I’m not shitting on this band! I like all of their stuff.


Artist Resurrecturis
Title [Type/Year] Evil Confronting Evil [Demo/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

This is popular 90’s metal influenced death metal from an obscure Italian band that I believe had their 15 seconds of fame at some point in their home country. Their sound was kind of careless, but varied, on this demo tape. It isn’t impressive but it also isn’t total radio-garbage death metal that you often find digging through bad demo tapes. Some moments remind me of ‘Erase’ era Gorefest but not nearly as good.


Artist Mucous Membrane
Title [Type/Year] Shallow Existence [EP/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Drum machine death metal. I tried to find their full-length a long time ago just out of cursory interest and apparently they are real serious about copyright infringement and takedown orders. I was always confused by that, I mean it is a cool and pretty competent death metal EP but there’s really nothing to it in terms of complexity and style. Kinda brutal stuff that would appeal to deathgrind fans and Dying Fetus babies.


Artist Sargatanas
Title [Type/Year] Sargatanas [EP/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Decent mid-paced (mostly) black metal with some death metal influences. I like this style of black metal a lot but I find the vocalist kind of lazy on most of these songs. The self-titled song is pretty great though, very evil and manages an ear-catching intro and some breaks that feel really second wave black metal. Most of this band’s stuff is kind of mediocre, but not bad.


Artist Abominant
Title [Type/Year] Unspeakable Horrors [Full-length/1996]
LISTEN on YouTube!

I love this bands early stuff, particularly the stuff pre-2004 when they kind leaned away from melodic death/black and experimentation in favor of a more generic death metal sound. It sucks that this isn’t easily available outside of purchasing the CD, I don’t think this is good enough to take up space in my home. The style of this record takes cues from European death metal but also seems influenced by NYDM and Malevolent Creation. I really enjoy this though I have greater affinity for the next few albums after this. Abominant always chose small labels and management, so all of their stuff can be hard to even preview if you don’t know where to look.


Artist Abhorrence
Title [Type/Year] Ascension [EP/1997]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Yeah hey this is -that- Abhorrence from Brazil that put out two pretty seriously heavy death metal albums as Krisiun created a big demand for brutal Brazilian death metal. This demo is three very solid death metal songs that are maybe not as impressive as something like Ophiolatry‘s earlier stuff but build upon Krisiun‘s first album in an interesting way.


Artist Drogheda
Title [Type/Year] Celebrating Five Years of Violence [Compilation/1997]
Listen on YouTube!

Uh, well there you go one wild track of grindcore/deathgrind that is almost certainly lead by a drum machine? This band is obscure and hard to find on the internet apart from a few compilations. The music has almost a sludge edge on the track here, reminds me of like Soilent Green a little bit. I got into it for a minute. Need to hear the rest before I thumbs up or down it.


Artist Abominant
Title [Type/Year] Never Truly Dead [Demo/1997]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Reissue of the bands 1994 demo on CD through Wild Rags in 1997. The songs here were improved on the first album. This was damn hard to find on YouTube or basically anywhere. I had to search for the song titles to find anything. Don’t ever say I don’t put serious research into these dumb lists, lol.


Artist Umbilical Strangulation
Title [Type/Year] Sexually Mutilated [EP/1997]
LISTEN on YouTube! (‘Disruptive Abortion’ EP)

Couldn’t find this EP but I’ve linked the first one in the meantime. I don’t really care to track this down. I don’t find it very impressive and its such an uncomfortable thing to search for on google. I’m kind of curious if this was even a different EP because the cover art is the same image for both EPs and this may have just been a Wild Rags re-release as they often did.


Artist C.O.D.
Title [Type/Year] Monolith Empire [Demo/1997]
Listen on YouTube!

Thankfully Wild Rags never really gave up on finding the most interesting Finnish demos. This one gives us a doom/death band that is actually quite good and they don’t really ever go full goth, as was the trend of the times, and instead gives us something reminiscent of Katatonia‘s first album crossed with a heavy dose of Tiamat influence on the keyboards and vocals. Oh, and there is a Phil Collins cover on this EP… You’ll have to listen to find out how uh, good, it is.


Artist Ritual
Title [Type/Year] Demonic Winter Metal [Full-length/1997]
LISTEN on Bandcamp!

So, nothing wrong with the album itself from a writing perspective and general sound it just has one very glaring flaw: The loud ass drum machine. If any album from the late 90’s needed a re-recording it is this thing. The drum machine is so poorly programmed and loud and it seems the vocalist tried to switch things up towards Immortal style vocals and riffing, the whole thing really doesn’t live up to his first album. It just feels like a very disappointing demo, even though there is a pretty solid full length here, the drums just destroy its replay value. There are some really strong elements here, like the clean vocals and it’s a shame about those drums. Drum machines suck.


Artist Abominant
Title [Type/Year] In Darkness Embrace [Full-length/1997]
Can’t find this one!

Well, I never saved the digital copies I had of this album due to a lost hard drive. Fuck. This band was so good. Please help me find a copy of this album.


Artist Of The Fallen
Title [Type/Year] Of The Fallen[Full-length/1997]
Can’t find this one!

Bathory worship that is mysterious and impossible to find.


Artist Angelkill
Title [Type/Year] Casket Lullabies[Full-length/1998]
LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Here we go again, another Angelkill album (eh? they’re all demos). The guitarist has gotten better but they recorded all of their stuff the same way and it really hurts the composition of the songs. The first track is actually kind of awesome, I mean if you want to find an Angelkill recording that is almost completely decent without escaping mediocrity then this is basically it. Though the label describes the band as black metal, this is just death/groove that you heard from a lot of weird bands that committed suicide in the mid 90’s (Massacra, Demolition Hammer, etc.)


Artist Death Penalty
Title [Type/Year] Conviction [Full-length/1998]
Can’t find this one!

Not to be confused with the Cathedral related female-led doom metal band that has the same logo. Can’t find it outside of eBay. Not gonna pay for it. Looks like Paul Speckmann on the cover?


Artist Subvertor
Title [Type/Year] Cryptobiosis [Demo/1998]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Bolivian death metal band that was apparently pretty brutal. I really couldn’t figure out how to find a copy of this but based off of their weird YouTube live videos the band was nothing special.


Artist Angelkill
Title [Type/Year] Bloodstained Memories [Full-length/2001]
Listen on Bandcamp!

I know it might seem like I’m getting lazy towards the end of this label’s output but the music is just effectively getting worse as things go. Angelkill released a burst of albums in the late 90’s and this was a 1996 demo (which was better than their other 1996 release) that got put out by Wild Rags in 1998. I don’t dislike Angelkill just find their stuff really mediocre and boring, it just sounds like it is supposed to: a bad death/thrash demo. This is actually one of the best drum and bass performances of their discography and as always the opening track is better than most everything else on the release. Meh.


Artist Season
Title [Type/Year] Nocurenofeeling [Full-length/1998]
Can’t find this one!

An ex-Ysigim gothic metal release. Can’t find it.


Artist Sermon
Title [Type/Year] From Death to Death [Full-length/1998]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Russian death metal band. Carcass vocals with sappy melodies, gothic style death metal that was likely riding the wave of Pavement stuff. Nothing special and especially poorly recorded vocals. Definitely worth tracking down if you’re into bad Russian metal or just death metal rarities and don’t mind the Gothic metal that is completely pervasive.


Artist Ritual
Title [Type/Year] Soldiers Under Satan’s Command [Full-length/1998]
LISTEN on Bandcamp!

I like this album a lot. It mixes the black metal sound with true heavy/speed metal and makes for a pretty awesome record. Black/thrash fans will probably like this quite a bit, lots of solid metal riffs and hissed vocals. I don’t like it quite as much as The Summoning but that was a different band entirely, this (I believe) shared DNA with Draconis as Mike was in both bands at the same time and changed Ritual‘s style. If you like stuff like Arghoslent for that galloping extreme metal feeling, there are some great metal moments here. Love the album art too.


Artist Casket of Dreams
Title [Type/Year] Dragons of Autumn Twilight [Full-length/1998]
Can’t find this one!

This was Mike from Ritual/Draconis making an ambient/dungeon synth style album. Impossible to find.


Artist Crucifer
Title [Type/Year] The World Dies (1989-1999) [Compilation/1999]
LISTEN on YouTube!

A compilation of obscurities on an obscure label from an obscure band. I like this stuff, though it varies in quality. The link is for Jeff Riddle’s, Crucifer drummer, YouTube page with audio for most of their albums. This compilation was not official or sanctioned as far as I’ve heard. You won’t miss anything important or particularly special by skipping it.


Artist Subvertor
Title [Type/Year] Transgreso-Evolucion [Full-length/1999]
Can’t find this one!

Brutal band from Bolivia, I think. Can’t find the actual record or any clips from it.


Artist Shadowcaster
Title [Type/Year] Temptation [Full-length/1999]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Uh, think like Mortiis or Sopor Aeternus style blackened dramatic spoken word dark ambient stuff. I can’t find anything from this specific release.


Artist Shadowcaster
Title [Type/Year] Psychelectronic Experience [Full-length/1999]
LISTEN on YouTube!

This was a solo project of a guy who I believe was in Tearstained? And heavily involved in metal projects in the 90’s. I like this track and would have liked to hear the whole album, buy hey fifteen minutes gives a pretty good idea of how elaborate of a soundscape he was making at the time. Gone are most of the gothy/growly things he did previous and we get just space noise and synth, which I love.


Artist Abominant
Title [Type/Year] The Way After [Full-length/1999]
LISTEN on YouTube!

Abominant was one of the best USDM bands that took on the Swedish style of melodic death metal pioneered by Dissection/Dawn/Sacramentum and filtered it through their own eyes. This isn’t the absolute best Abominant album in this style but they’re all pretty great and the guys were putting out literally an album a year for a while there. I’d highly suggest tracking down this stuff but stop at ‘Conquest’ because things get real generic and less than melodic at that point. I tend to like the follow up ‘Ungodly’ just as much, should be able to find the full thing if you go to the channel of the guy who I took the videos from for the playlist (DarkForgottenArt).

Missing Releases: 

  • Necrophagia – Necrophagia (1987) Demo
  • Outcasts – Outcasts (1988) Full-length
  • Humanicide – Human Right / Sick (1991) 7″ single
  • Brutality Reigns Supreme – Sexorcist (1992) Demo
  • Altar (Sweden) – No Flesh Shall Be Spared (1992) Demo
  • Internal Bleeding – Invocation of Evil (1993) Demo
  • Mordicus – Wrathorn (1993) Demo
  • Enslaver – A Place of Terror Inside (1993) Demo
  • Intense Agonizing – Soul Locked in Flesh (1994) Demo
  • Immured – Torture Master (1994) Demo
  • Ritual – Wave to Appear (1994) Demo
  • Nero Circus – Nailed Harder (1994) EP
  • Legal Butchery – The Cause and Effect of Eternal Suffering (1995) Demo
  • Of The Fallen – Of The Fallen (1997) Full-length
  • Death Penalty – Conviction (1995) Full-length
  • Season – Nocurenofeeling (1998) Full-length
  • Casket of Dreams – Dragons of Autumn Twilight (1998) Full-length
  • Subvertor – Transgreso-Evolucion (1999) Full-length
  • Meatshits demos [needs confirmation]

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