Southern Lord Records

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Southern Lord
Southern Lord logo.gif
FoundedApril 1998
FounderGreg Anderson
Distributor(s)Caroline (United States), Southern (Europe)
GenreExtreme metal, experimental, heavy metal, hardcore punk
Country of originUnited States
LocationLos Angeles, California

Southern Lord is an American heavy metal record label that was founded in 1998 by Greg Anderson. Initially, Southern Lord specialized in what could broadly be classified as experimental metal, particularly the slow-moving doom metal, stoner rock, and drone metal subgenres. Some of the more notable artists on the label include Baptists, Earth, Om, Goatsnake, Khanate, Obliterations, Pelican, Sleep, Boris and Sunn O))), among others. More recently, the label expanded its line-up to include artists from the black metal subgenre, including releases by Twilight, Wolves in the Throne Room, Xasthur, and Striborg. They have also released albums by hardcore punk and crust punk bands like Burning Love, Agrimonia, and Wolfbrigade.


In the mid-90s, in post-grunge Seattle, two friends in their mid-20s were being influenced by the Melvins‘ sludge and Earth‘s suffocating brand of doom. Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley, of Thorr’s Hammer and Burning Witch, would tread their own paths after the demise of those bands, only to be brought back together in Los Angeles in 1998. In a new city, at the dawn of a new decade, the two would form a new band and launch Southern Lord Records with the primary goal of releasing their own material.

The first release on the new label was the CD version (previous released as a cassette) of Thorr’s Hammer‘s "Dommedagsnatt," a doom/death metal album with Norwegian lyrics. The second release to follow was none other than Burning Witch‘s "Crippled Lucifer." This was the release from Anderson and O’Malley‘s second project together and was considered a step among many that would solidify Anderson and O'Malley as drone/doom pioneers who would redefine the genre. It wasn’t until the third catalogue release that Southern Lord branched out to release a compilation album from Scott "Wino" Weinrich's doom band, The Obsessed. "Incarnate" wasn’t only the first release to bear the Southern Lord label that did not include Anderson and O’Malley; it was also the first embryo to develop into what would become an incestuous family of musicians; a family that would grow exponentially over the next few years. Soon after, Anderson's next band, Goatsnake, was born, adding another name to the roster of the doomed. As for “Wino”, he went on to be involved with the label through various bands such as Saint Vitus, Place of Skulls and a solo album in 2009.

2002 saw the first Southern Lord release of Anderson and O’Malley‘s latest band, Sunn O))). Sunn O))) went on to become regarded as leaders in its genre, garnering praise from critics in The New York Times and Rolling Stone Magazine. The droned-out duo decided to christen themselves Sunn after the amplifier brand and added the O))) to match their logo. The band's style is characterized by extremely slow tempos, heavily distorted guitars, avoidance of rhythm and melody, and alternate tunings. The guitars became noticeable for their incredibly low register, frequently utilizing tunings as low as drop A. Additionally, the band became known for using resonant feedback to create monolithic soundscapes and eerie atmospheres. Percussion is almost never incorporated, with a lack of any discernible beat.

During the first half of the new century, the Southern Lord family continued to grow with notable doom releases like Warhorse’s "As Heaven Turns to Ash," Place of Skulls "Nailed and With Vision" and albums from Anderson's band Goatsnake. However, releases by Darkest Hour, Orcustus and (former Nirvana drummer) Dave Grohl‘s side project Probot, proved that Southern Lord would not reject bands based on their death, black or heavy metal orientations.

In 2005, in what proved to be an extraordinary event for all involved, the band Earth became a member of the Southern Lord family, solidifying Southern Lord as ‘the’ label for fans of drone and doom. The first rotation of Earth was on the predominantly lo-fi, indie rock focused Sub Pop records. This label seemed an odd choice for a band creating these types of soundscapes, so it only made sense that when Earth frontman Dylan Carlson brought Earth out of a decade-long recording hiatus, he would seek a more appropriate habitat for his work. In 2005, a new Earth, now signed to Southern Lord, unleashing "Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method" on an unsuspecting world. This was the same project, with the same DNA, but the sound had evolved. Drums, trombones, banjos, chimes, bells and whistles? The sound had shifted from drone to something more experimental; a sound with elements of americana and jazz. The press release for "Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method" stated the band's music showed the influence of country guitarists/songwriters such as: Duane Eddy, Merle Haggard, Roy Buchanan and fuses it with the vibe of epic visionary composer Ennio Morricone.

Between 2005 and 2006, Southern Lord saw just shy of 20 black metal releases associated with the label. With a focus primarily on black metal with dark ambient undertones, some recognizable names included Xasthur, Leviathan, Lurker of Chalice and the ‘supergroup‘ Twilight, whose eponymous debut was released on Southern Lord. Relationships (distribution and otherwise) were also formed with international bands, such as enigmatic French metallers Deathspell Omega, Norwegian black metallars Urgehal, as well as bands as far removed as Tasmania‘s Striborg. The later part of the decade saw additional recordings from Earth and Sunn O))), including the heavily lauded "Monoliths & Dimensions," (an album that made many metal and non-metal year-end lists in 2009), and a series of Boris 7″s to go along with the album "Smile." [1]


This is a list of the artists who have recorded for Southern Lord Records.

Current roster[edit]

Former bands, One-offs, etc.[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]