Earache Records

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Earache Records
Founded 1985
Founder Digby Pearson
Distributor(s) Caroline Distribution
Genre Extreme metal, heavy metal, hardcore punk, rock, experimental
Country of origin United Kingdom
Location Nottingham, England
Official website www.earache.com

Earache Records is an independent record label based in Nottingham, England and New York, United States. It helped to pioneer extreme metal by releasing many of the earliest grindcore and death metal records between 1988 and 1994.


Earache was founded in 1985 by Digby "Dig" Pearson. In 1985, before adopting the name "Earache Records," Pearson released Anglican Scrape Attic, a compilation of early hardcore punk and crossover acts (Hirax, Lipcream, Concrete Sox, etc.). The first official Earache release, on vinyl in 1987 and with the catalogue reference MOSH 1, was The Accüsed's The Return of Martha Splatterhead. This was followed by a split LP by the crust/crossover band Concrete Sox and the proto-grind band Heresy. The label's first release to gain attention outside the hardcore scene was MOSH 3, Napalm Death's Scum. The record did well, getting airplay on John Peel's show on BBC Radio 1, and going to number 7 in the UK indie chart. [1] Following on from the success of Scum, the label signed many acts from the then-emerging genres of grindcore and death metal, such as Morbid Angel, Carcass, Entombed and Terrorizer, all of whom, along with Napalm Death and Heresy, are now recognised as pioneers of the two genres.[2]

Hoping to capitalize on the increasing success and sales of death metal and grind, the label signed a distribution deal with Columbia records in the 1990s, through which it released albums by Carcass, Entombed, Godflesh, Napalm Death, and Fudge Tunnel. The records failed to meet sales expectations, and the deal was cut off prematurely.[3] Death metal experienced a commercial and critical slump in the mid-1990s, and bands such as Carcass broke up, while Entombed and Napalm Death left the label. At this time, Pearson began to release techno records alongside extreme metal, some of which were moderately successful.[4]

Later releases include work by Deicide and by Californian rockers Adema, who entered the US Billboard Top 200 chart in April 2005. In early 2007 the label signed a distribution deal with EMI. The deal includes both digital and retail distribution of the label's releases.

In 2009, Earache re-released Texas grindcore band Insect Warfare's World Extermination album for the European market, after having only previously been available from a very small independent record label in America. Later on in the year, even though the band had split up months beforehand Earache brought the band over to the UK to play a farewell tour playing numerous dates around the UK and Ireland only.[5]

In early 2010 it was announced that Earache's newest signing would be the Singaporean grindcore band Wormrot, and that the label would be reissuing the band's debut album - which had only previously been available direct from the band themselves - along with a second disc of over thirty bonus tracks.[6]

Until recently Earache had a number of sub labels, including Wicked World Records, Elitist Records, Sub Bass Records and the short-lived Necrosis Records, the later of which was run by Jeff Walker and released the first albums by Repulsion and Bill Steer of Carcass.

Earache has become inextricably linked with the death metal scene in particular, but also released Welsh ragga-metal act Dub War, Birmingham's industrial metal pioneers Godflesh, Nottingham's Pitchshifter, hardcore techno outfit Ultraviolence, and Mick Harris' industrial/experimental Scorn. Earache have signed even more musically adventurous groups such as Ewigkeit in recent years, but the death metal and grindcore with which it made its name still predominates.

The original logo of Earache Records was designed by Jeffrey Walker, vocalist and bassist of the UK band Carcass.


In June 1999, the band Iron Monkey started a European tour where there vocalist Johnny Morrow became very ill and a Polish doctor recommended he return home. According to their drummer Justin Greaves the label refuse to pay for his fight home. Due to this treatment the band wanted to be released from Earache Records. As the label refused the band split.[7] [8]

Notable artists (past and present)[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mundrian, Albert (2015). Choosing Death: The Improbable History of Death Metal and Grindcore. Decibel Books. pp. 143–146. 
  2. ^ Mudrian. pp. 148–186.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Mundrian. pp. 219–236.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Mundrian. pp. 243–244.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "Earache News: Insect Warfare Reunite for UK Tour". Earachenews.blogspot.com. 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  6. ^ "ASK EARACHE: How did Earache sign Wormrot?". Askearache.blogspot.com. 2010-01-31. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  7. ^ http://ironmonkey.freeservers.com/gigs.htm
  8. ^ https://noisey.vice.com/en_ca/article/the-strange-tale-of-cult-sludge-metal-band-iron-monkey
  9. ^ "The Temperance Movement". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 

External links[edit]