Philadelphia record label Horror Pain Gore Death Productions is rich with a diverse roster of bands from the metal underground. A one-man operation run by Mike Juliano, HPGD “is a record label / distro that caters toward fans of sick and vile underground metal,” according to their website.
The large majority of HPGD’s releases fall under death, doom or thrash metal, but genre tags don’t limit what comes out on the label. Decibel checked out a few of HPGD’s most recent releases and caught up with Juliano to talk about the founding, present and future of his label.
Sacrificial Slaughter – Generation of Terror
Sacrifical Slaughter make their second appearance on HPGD with Generation of Terror, pushing their frantic and grinding death thrash with as much intensity as the first time. Generation of Terror ends with a nice cover of Carnivore’s “Race War.” While the EP isn’t out until May 12, we can assure you that it’s a fun listen.
Sigil – Kingdom of the Grave
Swedish death metal meets crust for Texans Sigil’s first full-length release. Chunky riffs, crusty guitar tones, D-beat drumming and themes of the occult, suicide and police brutality inform the album.
Ordoxe – Towards Eternity
Longtime melodic black metal outfit Ordoxe find inspiration from thrash and death metal as well on Towards Eternity. Black metal fans will find plenty to love about the album, including throat shredding vocals, unsettling ambience, long stretches of blast beats, but the other genres’ influence adds a raw and punishing twist.
Q&A with HPGD Owner/Operator Mike Juliano:
Why did you start Horror Pain Gore Death Productions?
The seeds of Horror Pain Gore Death the record label began back in 2005 when I graduated from Film school at Temple University. I began looking for work as a video editor and decided to start editing music videos using clips from horror movies edited to various metal songs. I first had this concept and did some rough versions back in middle school but now had an Avid editor and really brought the concept to life. After the first 17 music videos were created I released Horror Pain Gore Death: The Essential Music Video Collection Part 1.
Over the next year and a half I released three more DVDs for a total of 68 videos. During this time I got some press from websites like Blabbermouth.net and began to trade with various labels and distros like Hells Headbagers, Relapse Records, etc. I ended up acquiring lots of CDs and vinyl from these labels and decided in early 2008 that I should start a label / distro. I wanted to release the EP from my band Mental Funeral and was approached by friends in the bands Ex Dementia and Lethal Aggression about doing releases. Everything just took off from there and before long I had a very large distro going with over 2000 items in stock, and was releasing my own releases around once a month.
The main reason for starting Horror Pain Gore Death was to expose bands that I love to the underground and help those bands grow. I’ve always been a fan of local music and the initial idea behind HPGD really is to expose these Philly area bands to the world, work with up-and-coming bands from around the globe that I love and also reissue classic releases that I personally love to the masses. Very quickly I was approached by bands from all over who were interested in working with HPGD, and things pretty much snowballed from there. I still try to work with Philly-area bands as often as possible but I have an international roster now that is very diverse.
Can you tell us about a couple of your favorite releases you’ve put out?
One of my earliest and most favorite releases I’ve done on HPGD is the Lethal Aggression album Ad Nauseum. I was a huge fan of LA from the time Relapse reissued their classic demo and was honored when singer John Saltz (RIP) asked if I wanted to do the album. I was only a few months into the label and this was a huge release for me. Getting to work with Chris Reifert on a 3″ mini CD from Eat My Fuk was awesome, I’ve continued to work with Chris many times through Abscess reissues and with Violation Wound. The Coffins/Spun In Darkness 7″ was my first experience with a release selling out really quickly and having to repress. Coffins at that were my favorite active death metal band and i’ve continued to work with them over the years also.
Some newer bands that have memorable releases for me are Druid Lord (now signed to Hells Headbangers) and Hammer Fight (signed to Napalm Records). I’ve also had the privilege to reissue the legendary debut album from Deceased, Lesch-Nyhan’s classic demo and the Master album Faith Is In Season. I’ve also done releases with bands like Agathocles, Anatomia and Haemorrhage, all of which are bands I’ve been a fan of for years.
What do you have coming up that you’re looking forward to releasing?
A lot of awesome releases are in the works, I don’t want to spill the beans on everything but i’m excited to be working again with bands like Organ Dealer, Violation Wound and Sacrificial Slaughter, and very excited to be working with Birdflesh. Stay tuned to horrorpaingoredeath.com for details! I am also vending Maryland Deathfest inside at Soundstage on Friday this year which will be awesome.
What do you see the future of HPGD being as the label continues to grow?
My one goal for the future of HPGD is to continue releasing music that I love to the world. It’s passion over profit for me and I will continue to release music for as long as I can… I didn’t imagine the label growing to the size it has now and i’m very proud of the label. Thanks to everyone for the support, and especially to people who still buy CDs and are loyal to the scene. Cheers!