Box Set Review – Various Artists “Grind Madness at the BBC” 2009

What: Subtitled “The Earache Peel Sessions”, it’s a three disc set of just that.

Selection: 118 tracks from a pile of influential grindcore artists recorded in the 80s and 90s for the John Peel Show. Take a look (click and the res will clear up):

Is it enough? Some might miss the inclusion of Peaceville bands like Prophecy of Doom, but this is Earache’s party, the product of a deal with the BBC to identify and catalogue a bewildering pile of master tapes. It’s plenty! 8 out of 10

Packaging: Bare bones. Two jewel cases in a slip cover. The cover art is identical on the two disc cases – don’t you just hate that? Ah well, I suppose the grind aesthetic was never lavish. The initial pressing was in a gatefold digipack with a bigger booklet; go for that if you see it. In summary, nothing to put on display, but it will slot into a regular storage scheme. 6 out of 10 

Sonic Manipulation: These are Peel Sessions – in many cases the recording is superior to released product by the bands! 9 out of 10

Rarities/Extras: Again, nothing fancy. The booklet is an interview with Napalm Death’s Mick Harris, who shares some old war stories and pays respect to the memory of John Peel. 4 out of 10

Overall: Not a lot of fluff to be had, but if you’re all about the music this compilation is definitely value for money. My copy was $11 CDN from Encore Records, a deal that can’t be beat. A great snapshot of a wild chapter in the history of these artists, the legacy of John Peel and the development of extreme music in general.  8 out of 10

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