As millions of Americans lined up at polls to select the country’s next president last week eclectic digital music-label Grindcore Karaoke released its 300th album, Never Work, a harsh and aggressive collection by Welsh metal trio Atomck. That’s a milestone for any record company, and Grindcore Karaoke reached it quickly: Founder J. Randall originally planned on dropping the label’s 300th album on its upcoming two-year anniversary on Jan. 1, 2013, but he ended up reaching the big number sooner than he expected.
Instead of putting the label on hold for a couple months for the sake of celebrating two big achievements on a single day Randall carried on as usual and released Never Work sans the pop and circumstance. Two days later he released Grindcore Karaoke album No. 301, a self-titled effort by crusty experimental-metal group Second Wave of Terror. Considering Grindcore Karaoke is such a prolific label there’s a good chance Randall may release another album by the time you finish reading this article.
Randall has been involved in the underground-metal community for decades: He’s a vocalist for Massachusetts grindcore group Agoraphobic Nosebleed and was once a member of beloved post-metal act Isis. Agoraphobic Nosebleed is one of the most well-known bands in grindcore, a metal subgenre that combines the speed and aggression of hardcore punk with a variety of extreme metal styles. Grindcore is fast, loud, and harsh, and—because of its sound—it has limited appeal. Randall grew up listening to bands that played grind and all sorts of other niche, underground styles of music, and in recent years he started noticing many of the micro-labels he knew and loved began evaporating, and fewer labels were willing to gamble on the kind of music he admires.
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