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Dank Slams

DANK SLAMS: The Definitive History Of Slam With Uncle Cam (Part 1)

So, we know this guy. This guy, man, he gets around. Dude is THE connoisseur of all that is brutal, slammin, groovin, gurglin, and chuggin. We'll admit, this guy has some years under his belt, yet he is incredibly young at heart. In fact, the number of years corresponds exactly to the holes on his bullet-adorned belt (upward of 40 – he wears his weight well, though).

Anyway, we invited this guy to give us a REAL history lesson in slam, as dude has been jammin this shit since the late-80s. In fact, dude still lives in the 80s (hence the Stranger Things-inspired Dank Slams feature image!). While your father was still jerking off to his Tiffany and Debbie Gibson collection (Google it), this guy was around, doin his thang – trading tapes with metalheads the world over. Dude also spun pre-slam tunes for a good eighteen years over the air waves on his very own, highly-rated radio show (Chronic Aggression Radio). This guy may be as old your dad – probably even older – but he has never lost his way as it relates to this brutal, beautiful music we all love.

We introduce to you Uncle Cam: The Professor Of Slam. Heed his wise words. Take it away, Cam!


CAM: For a true lesson in brutality, let's take this all the way back to the first time my face was fucked with a growl. We gotta go all the way back to '89 and a little UK compilation called North Atlantic Noise Attack which featured both Napalm Death and Extreme Noise Terror

CAM: Those blasts. The gurgles. What first drew me into death metal was that slow, grooving breakdown, followed by the abrupt stop of an insane blast-beating riff, or a thrash-tastic speed metal song then – WHAMMO – right back to slam fucking city! I get those musical goosebumps when that riff begins to crunch with a sweet drum fill before the destruction begins. I've molded my entire life after that feeling. What about that riff in Napalm Death's "Mass Appeal Madness"? This thing has got to be the first slam riff ever (check out the riff at 1:04 in the vid below). Anyway, this shit always goes back to Napalm, for me at least …

CAM: Let's fast-forward a little from the late 80s, and take this thing straight into the early 90s. My bros and I listened to a radio show in Toronto, which I believe was called Aggressive Radio (on 89.5 FM). If I remember correctly, this was the first avenue that opened up our young, impressionable minds to more extreme material, though most of it was relegated to Toronto and area. Less than a one-hour drive from me, we were told a tale of a record shop in Niagara Falls, New York called Cavages. They apparently had a handful of people working there that knew what was up in the world-wide heavy scene – a much larger scene than my noob head could fathom. I can recall like it was yesterday the day my friend Dan and I were heading over there to grab some killer tunes (big-box CD cases were the big thing at the time). He purchased Agnostic Front's Live At CBGB's, Incubus' Beyond The Unknown, and the now-classic Carcass album Symphonies Of Sickness.


CAM: Excited as shit as we headed up to the counter to pay for our killer haul, we became momentarily distracted by a flyer about an upcoming show. Could this be? A local death metal show happening relatively close by? We knew Cannibal Corpse was from the area, along with Malevolent Creation – heavy hitters right in our backyard – but that was all we really knew. As it turns out Goreaphobia and Grotesque Infection were on that fateful flyer. Being huge Relapse Records fans, we had heard of Goreaphobia in passing, but who were these others? I remember losing my shit at the thought of real, undiscovered brutality all within an hours drive!

CAM: We tried to make this show happen, but we just couldn't do it. Mind you, I kept track of that store because I had to witness the cultivating of brutal-in-my-backyard, and these dudes knew what was up. I started my venture into the local scene and it all started coming up Milhouse for me. It was around this time that Home Of The Hits was introduced to us, straight outta Buffalo. This was the underground shop of all underground shops. It was here that we spotted another flyer for another death metal/grindcore show. I went to this goddamn show. I fucking had to! This one also sported the mighty Grotesque Infection, along with Infestation and Obscurity, who absolutely kill…

CAM: Being seventeen and hanging out with these massive, larger-than-life American death metal dudes, I was, of course, a little intimidated, but that didn't stop me from grinding my face off. Infestation were an old-school styled death metal band with thrashy moments – which I totally dug – but this Grotesque Infection? WTF. Mutherfukin WOW!

CAM: This was it! This was absolutely unreal. The usual blast beats were there in spades, but this slamming groove? This was the shit. This was what I was looking for. I needed more of these breakdowns in my death metal – super-crunch guitar that chugged heavier than the donely load currently festering in your mom's arse – all with a slight double-kick flying into this mountainous groove that sent chills right through my gore-drenched heart… gimmie gimmie gimmie!

CAM: The underground was my family. I dived head first into tape trading, fanzine writing, bands and so on and so forth. The underground was a wonderful place at that time. People wrote to each other sending many tapes, discs, vinyl and sharing the love for all things not found anywhere else. But I needed more of that slamming groove. I found it. I had found the birth of what we all know today as "Slam". It was right there, in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY, where they took that Suffocation breakdown to realms it had never dared to venture before. This included Baphomet and their The Dead Shall Inherit release from '92…

CAM: If this weren't enough, there was the unfuckingbelievably crushing sounds of Rochester, NY's Disgorged (who later changed their name to Withered Earth, and re-released their Thy Hideous Wake EP from '93)…

CAM: In a similar vein as Digorged came Ritual Torment from down the road in New Jersey. I had the good fortune of catching these guys live back in the day, and still have the video from that show. I remember being crushed under the weight of sound emanating from the stage. Let's take this one back to their '91 demo…

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming at you in next week's installment of Dank Slams! In the meantime, head over to Uncle Cam's very own metal distro page, Friendly Fire Distro, where you can order many delicious and brutal goodies.

Update: Read part two here.

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