The label was founded by Paul “Hammy” Halmshaw (of the bands Instigators and Civilised Society) in Dewsbury, England in 1987, who was also a one-time drummer of Sore Throat. Originally a tape label releasing anarcho punk, the releases moved towards metal through crust and similar forms of metal influenced English hardcore punk. Halmshaw started running the label full time in 1988, although the original tape label incarnation was founded in 1981 as a vehicle for releasing Instigators demo cassettes.
The label is therefore known for the connection between doom metal and the 1980s English crust punk scene. Sister labels ‘Deaf’ and ‘Dreamtime’ concentrated more on thrash metal (Deaf) and psychedelic electronica (Dreamtime).
However, the bands Autopsy, Darkthrone, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Opeth, Katatonia and Paradise Lost – known as the ‘Peaceville Stable’ – have been the label’s most recognizable traits since the 1990s. Peaceville also became known for its anti-major stance and left wing political outlook.