Five Times A389 Recordings Got It Right

Yesterday, A389 Recordings announced via Facebook that they have closed their webstore, thus bringing their 14-year run as a staple label for metal and hardcore to an end. Consistently a one-man operation run by Domenic Romeo, also known as the guitarist in Pulling Teeth and Integrity, A389 were a label who put out high-quality releases from bands of all sizes.

To remember the now-defunct label, Decibel presents Five Times A389 Recordings Ruled. It should go without saying that there are dozens of honorable mentions that would also be worthy of inclusion on this list. Many of the bands that began on A389 have gone on to work with bigger labels (especially Relapse), highlighting A389’s ear for groundbreaking bands.

Full of Hell – Roots of Earth Are Consuming My Home
The Baltimore/Pennsylvania grinders recently signed to Relapse after releasing their breakthrough third LP, Trumpeting Ecstasy, on Profound Lore, but before that Full of Hell released a number of albums, splits and collaborations through A389. Roots of Earth Are Consuming My Home saw the noisy grindcore outfit come into their own for the first time.

Pulling Teeth – Martyr Immortal
The sophomore outing from Pulling Teeth–who featured label founder Domenic Romeo on guitar–fused a variety of extreme styles with hardcore, becoming something of a cult classic. The album was reissued last year and Pulling Teeth reunited to play the album at This is Hardcore. Decibel spoke with Romeo about the reunion around this time last year.

Noisem – Agony Defined
The Baltimore death/thrash outfit exploded onto the extreme metal circuit in 2013 with Agony Defined, a blistering debut that recalled Scum as much as it did Reign in Blood. Reviews hailed it as a breath of fresh air from a youthful (the members were in their teens at the time) band. Noisem have since shrunk to a trio and announced that they had an album called Cease to Exist finished, though no further word on its status has come out yet.

Integrity’s Systems Overload lineup reunites for A389 Anniversary Bash 2014
Systems Overload remains a hugely influential metalcore album, arguably the most important to come from the then-Cleveland-based outfit. Integrity have broken up and reunited several times in their career, including their current run since 2008, but this may prove to be one of the most significant. A389’s Romeo has also been playing guitar with Integrity since 2014. Systems Overload was inducted into the Decibel Hall of Fame.

Primitive Man / Fister – Split
Putting Primitive Man on one side of an album with Fister on the other is essentially a masterclass in miserable, anti-life sludge metal. Earlier this year, Primitive Man described Fister’s half of the split as “heavier than an mammoth covered in bacon grease.” Primitive Man’s side doesn’t hold up badly either–at the time of release, it was easily their heaviest material as well.