Hard To Swallow are a band that time seems to have largely forgotten about. An excellent mid-to-late 90's UK grind band, who released a handful of splits and one full length. In all honesty, the only reason that I've ever heard of them is because of Iron Monkey. What you may not know (how would you?) is that Iron Monkey are easily one of my favorite bands in the known universe. Hailing from Nottingham (around an hour from where I live, geography fans) they created a stoner influenced doom/sludge sledgehammer-of-hatred type sound. Truly abrasive and totally misanthropic, yet with the most amazing grooves. The late Johnny Morrow's vocals are out of this world. Literally! He sounds inhuman. I hated them the first time I heard them on a compilation CD, but something must have gripped me and years later at some hardcore all dayer somewhere around '99 - 2000 (probably), I saw their 2nd LP in a distro and picked it up on a whim. I was blown away, and still listen to it constantly. Anyway! Justin Greaves and Jim Rushby were in Hard To Swallow & Iron Monkey at sort of the same time. Also, Rushby was in Ironside in the early 90's, who you'll have probably heard in some form even if you don't know it, cause these dudes covered one of their songs. I'm in danger of losing my point here, in fact I may already have done so. Listening to HTS a few weeks ago, I was hit by a couple of realizations.
1) I do prefer the songs on the splits to the songs on the full length but the full length DOES feature Johnny Morrow on guest vocals.
2) It's still a brilliant, shambolic, brutal & relentlessly nasty LP that I don't own on vinyl and suddenly needed to.
3) Any band that uses The Wicker Man references is a band I'll listen to.
So I was surprised to find that, despite only 1000 copies of it being pressed back in 1999, the label still had some. Released by Household Name (now there's a label I had LONG forgotten about) and pressed on white.
The tracks featured here were originally on a CD along with all of their songs from the splits and that was originally released in 1996, with different cover art. When it was pressed onto vinyl, just the new material made it across and with a bit of remastering.
One or some of the dudes from HTS went on to play in Dead Inside, who I saw play years ago upstairs in some crappy pub. In fact I think that the band I was in at the time possibly played that night too, which is why I was there. Anyways I bought a sticker from them and stuck it on my guitar where it still lives in a faded capacity. Loooooong after I even have any idea what they sounded like