Psychologically, I was never quite the same after first hearing the turgid and super-stoned gut-wrench of the immortal ‘Sweet Leaf’ as a brooding adolescent. Then it was Hawkwind, The Dead Kennedys, Butthole Surfers, Amebix, Rudimentary Peni (to name a few key players) and John Peel’s radio show late in the evening, followed by the DIY crust-punk scene and the burgeoning thrash metal/hardcore crossover scene of the mid-eighties. I started writing a goofy cut-and-paste fanzine called ‘Go Die’ in 1987 which I used to sell at hardcore gigs across the Midlands, with surprising success (possibly because it was only 50 pence). Then after a very long hiatus I started writing reviews and articles for The Sleeping Shaman in the summer of 2008. This got me back into a scene I had never really left.
Head of Crom Records is based in the Macclesfield area of Cheshire. I founded it in March 2010, after harbouring a long-held desire to ‘have-a-go’ at emulating the individuality and success of labels such as SST, Earache, Southern Lord and Sub Pop. Named after the mystic stone icon described in Alan Garner’s novel ‘Thursbitch’, Head of Crom aims to bring the finest noise to the ears of the down-trodden populace. To borrow a reviled business term, the mission statement is to produce eminently collectable, high quality, limited edition vinyl runs by some of the heaviest, trippiest and most interesting bands around, and with art work by some of the most exciting new artists around too.
CROM1: The first release on the label was a compact disc containing sixty minutes of hatefully visceral and superbly structured post-hardcore. Working with Future Noise of Manchester, this album was the vitriolic juggernaut ‘Twilight Of The Gods’, crafted by infamous Glasgow hate-mongers Black Sun. This remarkable and criminally over-looked album first went on release in September 2010, and then enjoyed wider distribution from February 2011. If you haven’t heard it yet, please grab a copy. It is simply breath-taking. If Black Sun were from NYC then this would have sold like crack. Amazing band. Sadly missed.
CROM2: SOLD OUT. Fast forward to May 2011 and the long awaited split vinyl album by Conan and Slomatics rolls out of the pressing plant. Limited to just 300 copies, this beautifully packaged long player (later released on CD by Burning World) quickly established itself as a very collectible piece of plastic indeed, evidenced by the fact that all copies had virtually sold out by the end of 2011. Conan went on to dominate the world afterwards.
CROM3: SOLD OUT. After selling out on Throne records, ‘Horseback Battle Hammer’, the awesome 2010 debut by Conan, was re-pressed and released by Crom in July 2011, on limited edition (300) white vinyl, with the original Tony Roberts cover in black and white. I have to say, its fucking gorgeous.
CROM4: 300 pressed, and on slick black vinyl, this is the Slabdragger/Meadows split long player. Mastered by James Plotkin and with cover art by Scott Move, this beautiful release went on sale on 21st August 2012. I’m so proud of this one – both bands are so utterly superb and the artwork is gorgeous. After a few delays we got there in the end.
CROM5 (SOLD OUT) is the third album release by Slomatics. ‘A Hocht’ is a slight departure in terms of sound for this legendary Belfast trio – being more pronouncedly psychedelic and experimental, yet still soaked through with Slomatics’ trademark riffage. Pressed on orange vinyl, limited to 300 copies, mastered by Plotkin (of course) and with awesome art by Tony Roberts, this has become a landmark release for the band who did much to inspire Jon Davis of Conan. Went on sale from September 2012, with Burning World handling the CD release.
CROM6 is the split lp from Lazarus Blackstar (none is heavier) and Headless Kross. 300 pressed on black vinyl. Mastered by Plotkin. Brilliant cover art by Andrew Sloan. Released in May 2013.
CROM7 (SOLD OUT) is the fourth album by the fantastic Slomatics, entitled ‘Estron’. 300 pressed on reddish-brown vinyl.
CROM8 is ‘From Nothing Comes Everything’ by Torpor. 300 pressed on clear vinyl. Released on 9th February 2015.
CROM9 is ‘Nacht’ by Jungfrau. 300 pressed on green vinyl. Released on 16th February 2015.
Just as sure as the earth revolves around the sun more releases will follow. Stay tuned.