Relapse could probably have found a stronger name for their 2013 autumn/winter sampler than, uhh, Relapse Sampler 2013. Cast your mind back when Earache were releasing their Grindcrusher sampler series, and Peaceville had the enigmatically titled Under the Sign of the Sacred Star; that was how you named a sampler. But that was back then, and nowadays Grindcrusher is (probably) an independent coffee shop in Williamsburg, Under the Sign of the Sacred Star too purple and profound for a promo comp. Yeah, never mind the name; we live in an over-marketed world and sometimes it’s refreshing when content is king. And the content on this free sampler—available as a free download from Relapse Records’ BandCamp page—is pretty much unimpeachable . . . And a moveable feast, too.
Reflecting where Relapse are as an underground metal label in 2013, this 26-track sampler runs the gamut; from Red Fang’s party-dude beer and bong metal to crossover champs Toxic Holocaust, from slow doom ‘n’ dirge from Windhand to Coffins’ sloppy joe O.S.D.M. Tracks such as Locrian’s “Exiting the Hall of Vapor and Light” serve as an abstraction of metal/post-metal; Ulcerate effectively rewire death metal, balancing the genre’s visceral brutality with a sense of bleakness that penetrates to the bone. It’s not all darkness; Baroness’ “The Line Between”, taken from their BBC Sessions Live at Maida Vale EP, offers some light, and Weekend Nachos’ powerviolence is manna from heaven when you’re bummed out.
Anyways, this sampler is free, it’s easy; download it, check it out, and be sure to exit through the gift store