A Decade of Disquiet: Chicago’s “Angry Peasants” Compilation Logs Its Tenth Volume
It's never easy to stay in touch with a local music scene, and it's especially difficult right now. Local music is something that really requires in-person gatherings to function (hence the name) and it's essentially entered hibernation, with live shows just a beloved relic of the past in most regions. We're limited to a pale imitation: Facebook groups, logistically-challenging livestreams, and whatever music people could get out under the circumstances. Despite these struggles, here in Chicago, one tradition persists: the ever-underground, ever-D.I.Y. scene chronicle Angry Peasants.
Their latest compilation, Angry Peasants: Volume 10, holds a whopping 32 bands -- a far cry from the first volume's ten-band roster. Give it a listen now -- like with every Angry Peasants edition, this is a variety-laden playlist packed with Chicago's best-hidden secrets as well as our premiere underground exports.
A one-man operation, Angry Peasants was established to promote Chicago independent heavy metal, notably in the (at the time of its founding) unappreciated sectors of doom metal, stoner rock and all the weird fringes attached to that space. That's a thankless job, for sure, and not something that has ever gotten wide acclaim to match the effort involved. That's okay, though -- it's a labor of love. I run into its founder (enigmatically known to the internet as "A. Human") at a large majority of the shows I attended last year in Chicago, and his appreciation for heavy music cuts right to its essence. It doesn't matter what subgenre it is or how big the show is: you'll find him in the front row screaming for more riffs.
A few of these tracks actually mark the recorded debut of their submitters: "Gravelust" comes from the eponymous black-'n'-roll band Gravelust's upcoming debut, and death-doomed rockers Downcaste offer a track from an upcoming EP. The Mons, a Chicago punk institution, also contributed the previously unreleased "Nobody from Nowhere," while Hypervolume (also run by A. Human) somehow have the mayor of Santa Cruz, California featured on their track "Struggling." Included also are heavy-hitters from Chicago standouts like Varaha, Black Road, and High Priest. I'll leave the rest of it to you to discover, but I'd be remiss not to mention that The Mound Builders, one of Indiana's finest bands, also have a fucking ripper on here from their last album.
I live just a few miles outside of Chicago, close enough that I can get to most venues in under an hour, but with the ongoing situation, I might as well be overseas for how much I can interact with the bands that I was photographing from five feet away this time last year. Frustrating, to say the least, but compilations like this help bind things together for those here and everywhere else: Angry Peasants: Volume 10 is an opportunity to peer inside the sewer drains of Chicago and see the raucous output of the teeming masses within.
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