Hydra Head Records founder and owner Aaron Turner—also the former guitarist of the groundbreaking post-metal band Isis—announced the label’s “imminent demise” today. In a statement, Turner said that Hydra Head’s death has been “slow and painful,” and that the label’s “unwillingness to compromise [its] aesthetic standards, a tendency towards releasing challenging (i.e. unmarketable) artists, and the steady decline of the music industry in general” are among the reasons for his decision.
Since opening operations in 1993, Hydra Head has been at the forefront of experimental metal, hardcore, rock, noise, and ambient music. Besides Isis, the bands that have seen releases on Hydra Head comprise a staggering who’s who of underground music over the past 20 years, including Neurosis, Pelican, Big Business, Cave In, Botch, Converge, Sunn O))), Today Is The Day, Boris, Jesu, Merzbow, Lustmord, and Torche. Besides being a purveyor of innovative sounds, the label is known for its elaborate packaging and design.
According to Turner, he aims to close Hydra Head’s doors by December. Before then, he plans on honoring all commitments to his current schedule of 2012 releases. Following that, the label’s back catalog will be its main concern, the sales of which will go toward mitigating its debts. In Turner’s own words:
There is no way to sum up nearly 20 years of incredibly important music, experiences, and evolution other than to say a big heartfelt “thank you,” and that we hope this closing will provide an opening into other even more positive and rewarding experiences for all of us and all of you who have been a part of our shared experience. For now we bid you all a very fond farewell.
His full statement can be read on Hydra Head’s blog.