Rabid fans of rock, punk and metal tend to be completists, obsessed with collecting every last scrap of music recorded by their favourite bands. And that can be a lot - these bands tend to be tribal, coagulating in scenes and splinter movements which encourage collaboration and side projects.
What that means is that if you want to find deep cuts and obscure albums - not to mention the rarer recordings that only had a limited release, or weren’t supposed to be released at all - you tend to have to dig a little deeper.
Fortunately the rock and metal genre has so many sub-genres, filled with all manner of cross-pollination and experimentation - not to mention volatile relationships and personalities that lead to all kinds of odd creative decisions.
For the true connoisseur, here’s a diverse selection of some of the rarest and most obscure albums in the rock and metal arena. To make things interesting, only bands and artists people might have heard of are included here - there’s very little audience for an article on Lithuania’s rarest black klezmer metal acts…
10. Cradle Of Filth - Total F*cking Darkness (2014)
Strictly speaking, extreme metal legends Cradle Of Filth’s 2014 release wasn’t a new album, but a special event: an expanded, remastered commercial release of the third of their original demos from 1993, which until that point had only existed on cassette tape EP, and possibly in the fever dreams of their fanatical fanbase.
To further whet the appetite, the now long-playing record didn’t just feature newly-polished tracks from the original demo, but Splattered In Faeces, the only surviving song from the band’s notorious lost debut album Goetia, which had been erased before release when the indie label that foolishly summoned it into being went out of business.
An obvious treat for diehards and fans of their earlier sound, Total F*cking Darkness holds up surprisingly well as an album even without the context of its release. Even repackaged old school Cradle Of Filth is recognisably Cradle Of Filth.
Released on CD and on limited edition gatefold vinyl, the release finally allowed fans who’d had to rely on ropey 10th generation copies of the EP to hear the tracks properly for the first time.