Ghostemane: 10 albums that changed my life

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Eric Whitney, AKA Ghostemane, has taken pretty much whichever genre he chooses to exist in by storm. Whether he’s dabbling in stark hip-hop, dipping his toes into more industrial metal, as he did on this year's ANTI-ICON album, or expanding out into black metal on his Baader-Meinhof side project, the man clearly favours eclecticism over being rigidly tied to one genre – something reflected in his choice of 10 albums that changed his life. “These don’t all need to be metal albums do they?” he asks. Absolutely not, as his choices prove

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The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow

“This was the first album that really got me into them. I don’t really remember how, I think it was the blue cover just drew me in. Once I got into that I couldn’t stop listening to them, they were a band that I tried to get into as a teenager, but it didn’t really click. But I went back to it in my early 20s and it just became undeniable for me. It really hit home. You need to have lived a bit of a life to really get The Smiths.”

Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral

“Undeniable. <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">The Downward Spiral was always going to be on this list. This record was one of the earliest records that my dad gave me, when I was 13. I listened to it a few times, and, again, I didn’t really get it, it didn’t really smack me in the face until I was older. I think I needed to be a bit older and to appreciate some of the themes and the sonic elements to it. This record basically sums me up. It would be the number one heavy record for me.”

Elliott Smith – Either/Or

“That record is still, to this day, getting me through a lot of tough times. I got into Elliott Smith quite recently – my engineer turned me on to him while we were recording some acoustic stuff – and it was one of those things that you discover a little later on in your life and think ‘Holy shit! Where was this when I was younger?!’. It’s pretty much my favourite thing in the world right now, my number one non-heavy record.”

Black Sabbath – Paranoid

“It’s an obvious choice, but it was one of the early albums that my Dad gave me that I loved straight away. I was super young, we used to drive in the car when I was a toddler and he would put it on and I loved it. When I was about 11 or 12, I got my first boombox and I played it over and over again. That was what made me get into heavy music, this was everything that I wanted, a gamechanger. Sabbath are a band who sound better raw, and this one and the self-titled are my favourites, because I love that late 60s, early 70s production.”

Dr. Dre – The Chronic

“That’s another one that I got super early. My Dad didn’t listen to a ton of rap, but when that came out he was in his early 20s so it hit him pretty hard. When I first heard it there was so much that was on it that I just didn’t understand, but I still knew that it was special, I knew that it stood for something and that it was honest. It translated much better when I started to dig much into the genre. It’s just an all time great.”

Christian Death – Only Theatre of Pain

“This was another sort of recent one for me, my it’s super recent. I listened to their compilation and realised that most of the songs I liked the most were from [debut album] Only Theatre of Pain, and it was sort of bittersweet because it just thought it was amazing, but it almost set the bar too high. I love <a href="" data-link-merchant=""">Sisters Of Mercy and the old <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Cure stuff, but Christian Death have this rawness – they use this unique drum sound and have this punk feel that I don’t think has ever been duplicated or properly derived from. They’re very unique.”

SpaceGhostPurrp – BLVCKLVND RVDIX 66.6

“I guess people would think this is an obvious pick for me, but it’s an undeniable album. It put me over the edge when I was thinking about releasing music in this style by myself or self-producing stuff on my own. I heard this and I just knew ‘Dude, you need to be doing this yourself.’ I had to get whatever was inside of me out. He did it all by himself – he was the creator, he released everything. He’s a trendsetter – he set in motion a load of stuff that just wouldn’t be here today were it not for that record. Without that record there is no way I’d be Ghostemane or have this project.”

Darkthrone – A Blaze in a Northern Sky

“I was debating whether or not to have any black metal in my list, just because of how late I got into it. It wasn’t until my mid-20's that it really started to hit for me. I included this album because it was the album that made me a believer, I had dabbled in black metal before and I liked and appreciated it, but it wasn’t really for me. But this made me see the line between this and crusty-ass punk fury, and that’s probably why to this day I prefer the more blackened crust side of the genre. The way the drums hit and the groove comes together, it’s so groovy for a record like this. You really don’t expect it at all. It’s undeniable.”

Three 6 Mafia – Chapter 1: The End

“There are tons of amazing Three 6 records – When The Smoke Clears is another one I love – but The End has this raw production which made me think ‘Maybe I can do this’. You know, suddenly I thought that not everything had to have this crystal clear, expensive sounding production’, so it was one of those gamechangers for me as well.”

Trapped Under Ice – Secrets of the World

“I spent the last 10 or 11 years worshipping that record. It’s kind of what got me into hardcore, I guess. I know that there were plenty that came before it, this is hardly the beginning of the genre, but what I was going through then meant that this album was something that really spoke to me at that time. They’re a very underrated band – when it came out, in our scene, it was like the bible. People should acknowledge how revolutionary they were.”

Ghostemane’s new album, ANTI-ICON, is out now

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Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.