Hornetz Nest frontman and Reincarnation drummer, Sam Donchi breaks down his top five releases from Goodlife Recordings....
Formed back in Belgium 1995, the name Goodlife recordings has become synonymous with the growth of Metalcore in the 90's/early 00's, and was the breeding ground for the H8000 scene, with the majority of H8000 bands being part of the Goodlife roster. They released a large number of my favourite hardcore/Metalcore records and were the catalyst for a lot of great bands to begin and try their hand at copying the definitive Goodlife sound.
So this is not necessarily my top 5 from this label (although it would probably be fairly similar), but more so the bands that I think of when I would think of Goodlife. I didn't want to include any of the stuff that they re-released by bands either because then it's just giving me too much to choose from.
1. Arkangel - Dead Man Walking - GOOD LIFE 048
Straight up Metalcore gold from Belgium, just scraping in at the end of the 90's. This band only wrote one riff and managed to fill out this 10 song album with it, and you know what?.. It's fucking sick, easily one of my favourite metal/hardcore records of all time.
Vegan, Slayer rips, and completely brutal and unnatural sounding vocals, exactly what you want from this style of hardcore.
2. Reprisal - Mail Order Knife Set - GOOD LIFE 077
This is a tough one to pick, as the other Good Life release by this band is also solid, and definitely has more of a sound that you would associate with Good Life. This record also has a fair few filler tracks that you could have done without, like The Soul Gates (fuck you Dwid, come on man..) but I still pick this record because the good songs on it are that fucking good. If it had've just been a 7" then no competition it would've been one of my all time favourites. Musically a lot of the riffs and beats have way more of a 90's NYHC vibe which I love, but there's still plenty of metal riffs and stupid heavy parts thrown in to balance it out. Also, in the first song of a record, if the band tells you their own name and what year it is, that's how you know it's gonna be a good record. Reprisal, 2002, your arse is mine. (See also: Angel Crew - Angel Skin)
3. Liar - Falls of Torment - GOOD LIFE 001
The very first Good Life release, and set the tone for what was to come. This is one of records at the forefront of the whole H8000 sound, one of the early bands to perfect the euro Metalcore sound that so many a bands have since tried to emulate, and a band that I think that time has forgotten to an extent. (I'm in constant argument with a friend of mine that Liar are a better band than Prayer For Cleansing). It even has ridiculous metal artwork, made by Kris Verwimp from a whole bunch of black metal bands I don't care about cos I just don't get black metal. This isn't my favourite record by this band (they jumped labels a bunch throughout their discography, "Invictus" is my pick), but it's still worthy of making the list. My puppy has been barking at me for spending time writing this list and not chasing him round, then I put on this album and he fell asleep next to me. Coincidence, probably. The angle that this band was going for, probably not. Take his review how you will, it definitely makes me like this album even more.
4. Length of time - Approach to the New World - GOOD LIFE 027
My favourite Holy Terror related record, this is the unrelentingly heavy record the band released before the band changed and went to a more radio friendly sound. The vocals on this record are pretty low in the mix, so it makes it a bit indecipherable to pick up on the singers slightly broken English in parts, but this album is heavy from start to finish, and I guess that's what matters most (apart from the eerie clean singing scattered in songs through the record, which is so bad that's it's excellent). This record doesn't get as much love as it deserves, check it out if you haven't heard it before.
5. Morning Again - Hand of Hope - GOOD LIFE 007
An absolute classic when it comes to Metalcore and the 90's hardcore sound. Damian Moyal and John Wylie from Culture in the line-up for this record (if any footage from recent reunions has shown anything, it's that this band was at its peak with Moyal as a frontman), the lyrics and music are spot on, not necessarily the most polished and well executed, but that only adds to its charm. (See: the clean singing in Minus One for the perfect example of a part that will make you cringe so much that it's endearing.) Any record by this band could've made the list, but this is the one that I always come back to as my favourite.
6. XLairX/Arkangel - Split LP - GOOD LIFE 126
Soon to be released.
Some other honorable mention records, because 5 is too short a list.
100 Demons - In the Eyes of the Lord.
Angel Crew - Another Day Living in Hatred.
Shai Hulud/Another Victim - A Whole New Level of Sickness Split (purely because the two Another Victim songs on it are gold, disregarding the SSD cover, and it has my favourite Shai Hulud song on it).
Culture - Born of you.
Congress - Blackened Persistence.
As Friends Rust - The Fists of Time.
A large majority of these albums can be found on spotify or YouTube, so if you haven't heard them before, check them out.
I'll leave it there, but there's still a lot of classics worth checking out, so if you've got time, go searching.