|Stratford Road, Sparkbrook Birmingham UK
Heavy metal itself comes from Birmingham, England. Actual metal-making plants and foundries dominated the city for decades, and they seemed to exert a (super)natural influence on the Birmingham residents that invented heavy metal music. These pioneers include Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and both Robert Plant and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.
A decade-and-a-half after heavy metal’s initial forging, then, Birmingham begat a new, more extreme, and somehow even more terrifying version of the form. Grindcore, a singularly savage synthesis of thrash, death metal, and hardcore punk, exploded up from the city’s molten soul, with a dynamic scene lashing out all over the planet from the upstairs room of the otherwise nondescript Mermaid pub.
Led by Napalm Death, the Mermaid hosted heavy metal’s most extreme boundary-blasters, where UK locals such as Amebix, Extreme Noise Terror, and Heresy attracted touring marauders, particularly American hardcore battalions on the hugely influential order or DRI and MDC.