Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Clitboys - We Don't Play The Game

I was 3 years old when this record, We Don't Play The Game by Milwaukee's The Clitboys, was released, but reading this interview with them... it's apparent that the more things have changed, the more they stay exactly the same. Really good and fast punk rock, typical of the era.

The music on the CLITBOYS debut is solid straightforward stop-and-go thrash, but it's the lyrics that stand out here.

In this era of widespread punk jock attitudes, it takes a lot of guts to belt out songs like "Gay's O.K." and "Slogan Boy," but this Milwaukee band isn't afraid to tell it like it is (or should be) and face the consequences. More power to 'em.
-Jeff Bale, from MRR #7, August 1983

I asked around for some info on this band and Chris Ellis provided me with this tidbit of info:

I have a clitboys 7''. it's really good. came out in '83. Jason Ellis lives in the house they used to live in. they were sxe. had an anti-gay bashing song and had a demo tape with prank phone calls on the other side.

Thanks to Joel for sending me the mp3's and thanks to: this website for providing more information on the band. Anyone with more information on this band can contact me via


Friday, February 06, 2009

The Avoided - Put Down That Pipe And Pick Up Some Hope

Reed from The Avoided passed away yesterday (2/5/09), and though I can't say I was any sort of close friend, I can say that it's sad to see someone with as much intensity and passion succumb to whatever personal demons he must have been dealing with. 

The Avoided was a band that kept barreling along, despite member changes, despite drug problems, despite being located in multiple states... they were the band that not only shouldn't exist but whose existence was a statistical anomaly. How many bands have a grad student working towards a Ph.D. and a bunch of alcoholic junkies and can keep it together? I have a soft spot in my heart for music created by bands that are living train wrecks, which this band most certainly was. When you see a band this close to exploding that exists solely on momentum, you can be sure there's something special going on.

My limited interaction with the band doesn't put me in any place to give a definitive assessment of where they should stand in the history of Milwaukee underground music, but I consider them one of the elite bands that this city has produced, a classic of their time period. They're a band that I would see on flyers and would make time to see. That hasn't happened for me in years. Now that I think about it, they were the only band I'd gone out of my way to see on a regular basis this year.

Most of the insulated metal/hardcore kids in this city have probably missed out on this band but this is the best band that you should have known about and more importantly should have seen in this city that you probably haven't if you weren't that there is still a very active and quality punk rock scene in this city. It's sad that they won't be around anymore.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dead By Morning - 1999 Promo Cassette

This two song promo got a lot of attention, and more than likely had Dead By Morning kept it together, they'd have been a huge band and a leader of American black metal. That's not hyperbole, that's pretty much the fact. They'd made good connections during their limited time together and their appearance at the New Jersey Metal Fest put them on the covers of metal magazines without any product out. Unfortunately, member changes brought the band to it's knees before they could reach their full potential.

Dead By Morning was the product of the vocalist of Night World, that goofy dude from Mainstream Metal Shop I keep talking about, and all of the members of Paradox, minus the bass player and I. They took the black metal imagery of Night World, and kicked it up a notch, with a visual appearance that was similar to Gorgoroth. After kicking out their drummer and replacing him with Jon Engman (who isn't on this tape) the band got insanely faster, but personality/creative differences caused the band to start losing members until the band was down to a three piece and with it came a name change to The Cold Beyond. 

After a few more months of inactivity, Dead By Morning guitarist Tim Bleske began work on a full length record for The Cold Beyond, this time as a one man industrial black metal project (which I will upload shortly). But, this promotional tape is where it all started.

A Shroud Cast Over - Melodies From My Heart To The Grave

A Shroud Cast Over, during their short existence between 2001 and 2003, stood out as a band that was not afraid to create their own niche. They never bowed down to the typical cliches that were popular at the time, the At The Gates / Iron Maiden thrash riffing or the tough guy mosh breakdowns that made the second rate bands coming up at the time so forgettable. 

Beyond their strong musical abilities, intelligent song structuring, and vocalist CJ Krueger's great stage presence were a set of good people who weren't afraid to accept shows from bands that weren't considered cool and in venues and cities that weren't tied to Milwaukee's insulated hardcore scene. 

Their open mindedness created a lot of new hardcore kids, and they made sure to reinforce the ethics of hardcore to the people they introduced to the scene. Had they stuck it out a few more years, I'm sure they'd have been the biggest band in the city. 

This is their first demo, which was re-released shortly before their breakup on Beniihana Records with embarrassingly bad cover artwork (see to the right). 

Leval Blessing - Demo & S/T Full Length

I used to live on Fratney St., just off of Center. I remember waking up one afternoon, hung over, barely functional, and after taking my morning piss being surprised that someone in my house was blasting Leval Blessing loud as fuck. No one in my house besides myself was known as a huge fan of the band, at least not enough to be cranking the band at ridiculous volumes early in the afternoon. So I wandered around room to room trying to figure out who the culprit was... with no luck. Then I went to my front porch and low and behold, Leval Blessing is playing outdoors in the middle of a Center Street festival. I wandered down and caught them finishing their set in a pair of basketball shorts and flip-flops. 

For some reason I have a million similar stories about Leval Blessing, the band that just wouldn't go away. They were the band everyone knew that just couldn't seem to get the recognition they deserved. For years, I enjoyed watching them play their chaotic form of grindcore with every band imaginable, in every venue that would take them. I saw them at the Rave and the Rock Shop, in ten million different basements, in coffeeshops, in park pavillions, and even outdoors next to hippie bead booths like the kind at the aforementioned Center St. festival. They were a band that had the handful of members who always seemed to be around, always had their fingers in some new project, who always had something to say and the balls to say it and that deserves nothing but respect.

They were responsible for a lot of us getting into hardcore in Milwaukee. They offered Nuclear Powered Satan our first show (the flyer to the right) and although we broke up beforehand, seeing Leval Blessing go apeshit in a tiny coffeehouse was a life altering experience for me personally. Steve Krause, after trying on Ryan Schofield's mother's sweater, introduced the Scapegoat guys to the scene, which directly led to the formation of Shoot The Hostage. All of us displaced metal kids felt comfortable with this band and they should be remembered as one of the bands that bridged the segregated metal and hardcore scenes of their time.

The last time I saw them perform, Corey ripped my shirt sleeve off... and with that the band that would never go away did. People who didn't get a chance to see them, missed out.


Leval Blessing / Foetopsy - Barbarian Records promo split

This CDR was a promo for Foetopsy and Leval Blessing's Barbarian Records full lengths that were released a few months afterwards. I don't believe I saw too many copies of this floating around.

The Foetopsy stuff was recorded in Tim Bleske's living room over a weekend again fueled by lots of alcohol and even more marijuana. I remember riding with Jon Engman on the way to Taco Bell while they were taking a break during the recording of this where I sketched out what would end up being the Foetopsy logo on the back of some old flyer laying in the back of his truck. As you can see from the scan of the CDR's sleeve, I hadn't finished the logo by the time they released this. 

At the time, I believe Jesse from Screaming Afterbirth wasn't considered a permanent vocalist but after a few shows his absolutely hilarious stage and frontman presence pretty much sealed the deal for him as a full time member. Once the guys came to terms with the fact that they shouldn't take their song titles (since they didn't really have lyrics anyways) all that seriously, they became one of the most entertaining live bands I've ever seen.

Leval Blessings half of the split is equally as brutal although dramatically more cerebral. The cast of characters that comprised this band definitely gave them an identity. I'll be uploading more from them shortly.

Suffer In Truth - 5" Demo

Suffer In Truth was a band formed around 2003 as a project with the former members of Never Forgive Never Forget and Shawn of Wings Of Scarlet. The band was a straight forward hardcore band and played a series of shows without getting nearly enough respect during the tidal wave of Coma Eternal jocking clone bands that were beginning the spoilage of Milwaukee's underground scene (a trend that I would trace directly to the shit bands that pose as hardcore bands in Milwaukee now, who I won't even justify by giving a mention of).

Suffer In Truth's lyrics were direct insults to the people who were ruining Milwaukee at the time and was probably the most pissed off band of its time. Shawn and Russ would end up in Shit Outta Luck with me, and had we lasted long enough to do a full length I would have lobbied to do a cover of a Suffer In Truth song on it as an homage.

Gozarian - Demo 2002

So this band isn't from Milwaukee, but when a band is this good Chicago is close enough as far as I'm concerned. This band flew under the radar, basically as a side project for all of the members, and I don't think anyone took it that seriously... but this demo blew my mind when I first heard it. I remember setting them up with a show up here and trying to hype everyone up for them... I don't think anyone understood why I was going nuts for them until right after they played, and since they never came back, I'm assume everyone forgot about them.

Gozarian is black metal influenced hardcore... or perhaps hardcore influenced black metal? It's fucking pissed and evil simultaneously, which is exactly what I want to hear most of the time. Imagine the early Marduk records, with more of Swedish hardcore influence. It has that Entombed guitar tone, the Dark Throne beat, and evil wizard vocals.

I only wish the members of this band realized what a gold mine they were sitting on and kept going with it. This project deserved way more recognition than some of the silly bands the members went on to start afterwards.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Paradox - 1998 Demo

In the Mainstream Metal Shop, after a long night of fucking with Ryan from Night World, I happened to come across a singer wanted ad looking for someone who sounded like Hypocrisy / Carcass / Samael, which in 1997 was pretty unheard of. Samael and Hypocrisy were pretty outside the realm of the fatso death metal scene and I was interested in who these people were that would be looking to play music in that vein.

I called up the number and he invited me to come check out their band. I showed up and was surprised at how cohesive they were. I wanted in. They asked me what I thought and told them they sounded like this band called At The Gates, a band which they weren't familiar with. They were tuned to B, yet were playing melodic thrash metal which I'd find out was due to a heavy Megadeth influence. The only problem was that I was already supposed to be in a band with a friend named Adam Berg, who was playing guitar and keyboards. The band I was working on with Adam was pretty similar to Emperor and the first Covanent record, but we didn't have our shit together as much as these dudes did.

After they couldn't find anyone else, they finally called me back to be their vocalist since they'd signed on to play the Milwaukee Metal Fest and hadn't found someone yet. I went with them to Jack Koshick's apartment to pick up the tickets we had to sell and talked him into putting us on the Mortician show he was booking. We played that show with Night World and Cyanosis. I remember being excited for that show like it was my graduation from med school. After we played, I walked off the Rave bar stage and did a victory lap around the bar like a total jagoff 18 year old rockstar. For being a total loser 18 year old, it seemed like every ten feet I met a new girl. If I wasn't already, I was hooked on being in a band and how cool it made you feel afterwards. I lost my virginity because of that show.

We then opened up for Morbid Angel, where we invited two members of Night World, whom we'd been sharing a practice space with, on for a song which resulted in their band breaking up... then we played Metal Fest, which was pretty much the point of me joining in the first place. After Metal Fest, the bass player and I were kicked out and the remaining members started a band called Dead By Morning, whose demo I will upload and cover more thoroughly later.

Here's the 4-track demo recording we did in 1998, which was only released as a limited promo cassette for labels at Metal Fest.

Invoke The Flood Demo

So, what happens when you put Shawn Page (Wings Of Scarlet, Shit Outta Luck), Jerry Hauppa (Forever Is Forgotten, Wings Of Scarlet, Concentric), Brad Clifford (Poison The Well, Endthisday, Coma Eternal) in the same room and tell them they don't have to play shows with Midian anymore?

They turn into Invoke The Flood.

This band bridged the gap between metal and hardcore, literally, as several of the bands members were members of the death metal / bar metal scene in Milwaukee. The stagnation of the bar scene and the quality of Milwaukee's hardcore scene was strong enough to gain the attention of the best musicians who were tired of the rut that Milwaukee had fallen into.

The Invoke The Flood demo was recorded but never released, if I remember correctly. The copy of it that I have was scammed from Tim Bleske who did the mastering on the record after Shawn finally received a mixed copy years after the band broke up from the studio that they'd recorded at.

End This Day - Only The Tears Of Angels...

End This Day... I can't say I was ever a huge fan, but I'm sure some of the people who will read this have heard of but never actually heard them. Here's your chance. This is mp3'd from a copy of the demo that I found at Record Head and purchased for like a buck. 

Here's their Lifeforce Records bio because my bio for them will end up saying something about how I thought their lyrics were silly and how I believe this record spawned a lot of bands who all sounded stupid not being able to play At The Gate's ripoff riffs correctly:

Aaron Cosgrove - vocals
Noah Nickel - bass
Brad Clifford - guitar
Joe Dalen - guitar
Bill Kurth - drums/ vocals


endthisday formed in Wisconsin in November of 1999 with the goal of showing audiences in the hardcore scene that metal has a place on the dance floor. Blending the melody of European metal with the energy of American hardcore in a unique way, endthisday forges a new path for metal in the hardcore world. Combining blistering speed picking, massive breakdowns, catchy sing-alongs, and other well-rounded elements into their music, they create levels of intensity rarely achieved by others.

endthisday recorded their first demo CD in March of 2000. For the next year, they played a number of shows throughout the Midwest in support of this CD, sharing the stage with a number of large national acts, and gaining the attention of hardcore and metal audiences everywhere. In this time, they sold every one of the 500 copies produced with absolutely no distribution or touring, except for a weeklong stint with Undying in the summer of 2000.

With the addition of new members in 2001, endthisday quickly rose to a newfound level of maturity, creativity, and raw energy. The music became more dynamic and intense, and powerful live performances turned more heads than ever before. In July of 2001, endthisday returned to the studio to record their highly anticipated second demonstrational CD, "Only The Tears of Angels Will Reveal Our Sorrow." Since then, they have have played a handful of shows around the Midwest, done a brief tour of the East Coast, and winter tour of the Midwest and Southeastern United States, allowing them to sell over 800 copies of that CD with no distributional assistance.

endthisday signed with Germany`s Lifeforce Records, and released their debut full-length cd, "Sleeping Beneath the Ashes of Creation" on August 20th. This release sold 1,500 copies in its first two weeks alone, and is rising to the top of metal charts around the world. A summer tour in 2002 helped turn even more heads to endthisday´s sound.

Endthisday broke up in 2002.

Nuclear Powered Satan - Unreleased 2007 Recordings

It's 1999. I meet Jon Engman and his drum machine. We put together a handful of songs with the help of a guitar effects processor, some shitty Radio Shack mics, and do the demo tape circuit. We spend equal amounts of time on finding amazing samples as we do recording music. We call it all Nuclear Powered Satan and we give it a story line: a corporation decides that it's more profitable to just kill people than to obey laws, making it a terrorist organization for the new millenium. We book one show and break up before it happens.

Fast forward to 2007. Jon's moved on to bigger and better things as the drummer of Foetopsy and then Brodequin. Tim and I had just finished the Die Alone full length (see below). Tim's home studio conveniently hosted a couple nights of marijuana / alcohol induced songwriting and the product of it became a new Nuclear Powered Satan record. We book one show and this time pull it off, with Case from Shit Outta Luck playing bass and all of us on one practice as a full band.

We'd all discussed figuring out a way to release the recording, but it never happened and we all went back to doing our own things. 

So, this is the official release of the full live drum NPS recording.

Die Alone - Discography

Die Alone started in late 2001 and officially broke up in 2008, after at least a year of inactivity. The band started out under the shadow of the At The Gates-clone metalcore scene, but quickly evolved away from that and incorporated elements of black / death metal and proceeded to put out a few demos before releasing a full length record on Corrosive Recordings.

As a member of the band, it sucks to try and write a decent explanation of the band that doesn't come off like some egotistic label produced PR release, but what we attempted to do was to bring real metal out of the era of fat guys in Packer jerseys. We were influenced by Immolation and Gorguts most obviously, but generally we listened to a lot of 90's era black/death metal and that shaped what we sounded like.

Our first vocalist, Art Henke, had vocals that were definitely hardcore influenced and he was never as metal as Tim and I were. Our first demo CD, "These Are More Than Words..." was a polished version of what we were doing, and I can listen to it and still be proud of what we did. The first few years of our existence consisted of us playing shows where people stood watching us with no idea what was going on. Looking back, I'd like to think that was because we were doing something outside of the box, but more than likely it was because we were playing through shit equipment in a room that makes bands that were as noodly as we were sound like a bunch of slop. Whenever we had the opportunity to play in a full sound environment with good stage (holy fuck?!) monitors, we came across better. Unfortunately, those types of shows were few and far between, often at venues (like the Rave, Vnuks, the Rock Shop, etc.) that couldn't get DIY kids to attend.

After some petty inter-band drama, Art left the band and was replaced by Mark Fisher (x-Shoot The Hostage). This allowed us to move even more solidly into being a death metal band and added a beefiness to our sound. Those years were awesome, even though we continued playing shows with barely any acknowledgement and I still believe that our full length record "The Arcane Suicide Movement" was put together extremely well. Eventually as time went on, we all developed other things in our lives that consumed our time and we slowly quit being a band. In retrospect, it took so much work to put together the material for that one full length that I don't think any of us had any urge to start over from scratch. I couldn't imagine at this point in my life being able to sit down and work on one song for months at a time like we did for Die Alone and I'm proud of what we did in that band.

So without any more nonsense, here's the complete studio recordings of the band:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Phantasm - The Abominable

Phantasm was a death metal band that broke up around 1995, just as I started going to shows regularly. I caught one of their last shows, opening for Deicide right before Once Upon The Cross came out. They played with Necrolatory (whose demo I'd post if I knew what happened to my copy of it), Cyanosis, and Broken Hope and I remember nearly getting my ribs crushed by a random stagediver at that show.

They played a very cinematic style of death metal, sounding like the soundtrack to some really low budget horror movie, which was an idea that I carried with me into how I wrote music for Die Alone. Their songs were long and dramatic, and the vocals were understandable enough so you could tell that they were trying to tell a story through mood. 16 year old me was thoroughly impressed. They've still got a regularly updated myspace, apparently and it's located here.

Haruspex / Rotted / Nightworld demos

Haruspex - Two Song demo cassette
I believe this is from 1995, approximately. If you're not aware, this is the eclectically influenced death metal band that was popular during the mid-90's Milwaukee death metal explosion. Haruspex featured two vocalists (one of whom was Shawn Page, who'd eventually front Wings Of Scarlet and Shit Outta Luck) and were known for their ridiculous live shows. It was typical seeing them cover the NWA song Dopeman while wearing pantyhose on their heads, throwing massive amounts of porno into the crowd, or whatever other silly idea they'd come up with. Looking back, the music was pretty silly but this demo is still a classic.

Rotted - Instinctive Demise demo cassette
I believe this is 1996 or 1997ish. Guttural death metal in the vein of Broken Hope. These guys were the sign of what death metal was devolving into. Fat guys wearing Florida gators jerseys, bad hair, with no appeal to girls whatsoever. It was absolutely entertaining at the time. This was the first band to play a show on the Rave bar stage, if I remember correctly. I dug up just a tiny bit more info here.

Nightworld - Raising The Flag Of War demo cassette
In 1998, if you were a metal kid you hovered around the Mainstream Metal Shop on 27th and Loomis. In the back of this record store they'd given control of a 20 foot long by about 3 feet wide storage area to a guy who'd call himself Lord Raven Sithicus. Raven, real name Ryan, would stockpile tons of imported black metal records and spend the day eating McDonalds and Cheetos, dressed in full black metal regalia... spikes, chains, leather, cape, etc (seriously... plus he rode the bus to work, which meant he had to survive the gauntlet of the hoodest black people on Earth while dressed like that). Several of my friends and I would go there religiously just to fuck with him, pulling cassette tapes out of order just to mess with his OCD, arguing with him over metal trivia, and basically bullshitting our lives away. Eventually, he started this band and they got huge. They never officially put out a single item of merchandise, although they did send out autographed photocopies of their logo to members of their mailing list, and their one demo release party was supposed to be a giveaway of this demo. It wasn't finished in time for the show. Apparently, they were embarrassed by the quality of the recording and it was never released. Their bass player eventually smuggled me a copy and again, I believe I'm one of maybe 3 or 4 people who have a copy of it. As a footnote, their guitarist is a regularly posting member of didntthathurt.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Forever Is Forgotten - Live Bootleg 11/02/01

November 2nd, 2001. I didn't own a car. I wasn't working. I was living off of selling CD's and was getting obliterated with Tim Bleske almost every night. I had been posting on the Shoot The Hostage messageboard (back when every band had it's own messageboard and which ultimately would be the inspiration for what would become thanks to Chris Wenzel keeping that website up somewhere, there's some really awesome old pictures archived on that website) for a few weeks, seeing as I knew a few of those dudes from the band Scapegoat that had Ryan Schofield in it, and I was interested in seeing what they were up to since.

If someone has a copy of the Shoot The Hostage demo, I'd love to archive that as well... but anyways, I digress.

This night I convinced Tim to go with me to see "those Scapegoat guys" in a basement in Riverwest. When I got into the basement I ran into Jim Becker and Jim Kanno, who I'd known through an ex-girlfriend. They were playing in the other two bands, Forever Is Forgotten and A Shroud Cast over. It was Jim Becker's first show with FIF and ASCO's first show ever. The show had been booked by Art Henke, and he'd set up a bunch of mic's in the room and was recording the FIF set for what was supposed to be a live record or something for his record label that he was always trying to put together. 

Needless to say, that live record never happened. The performance, the first with their 'classic' lineup that would go on to record their two CD's, was sloppy and endearingly frantic sounding. I remember everyone commenting about how awful they were for the next few months, but I was hooked instantly. They were the obvious next evolutionary step away from the Killtheslavemaster strain of Milwaukee bands.

Art, Tim and I eventually started a band and I coerced a copy of this live FIF bootleg out of Art as a keepsake of that night. I believe that I'm the only person in Milwaukee to possess a copy of this until now.

Method - S/T CD & 7 Inch

So, this is Method. 

My connection to Method and the reason I'm posting this collection of their self-titled CD and 7" is because in 1996 this band was my introduction to Milwaukee hardcore. 

I was friends with a guy named Romie, and his cousin worked at McDonalds on 76th and Oklahoma if I remember correctly, and was in this band. Romie borrowed the CD to me, and I dubbed a copy of it to tape with Neurosis' Through Silver In Blood record (which at the time, and still in retrospect, I can hear a similarity / connection between) on the other side. I'd listen to this on the busride to school all the time. 

That cassette got me to start branching out from listening to nothing but death / black metal, and opened a lot of doors for me. I was bored with the monthly Morta Skuld / Rotted shows that were popular at the time and hungry for something outside of the box. Method's death metal looking logo gave me just enough of an excuse to give them a shot, and I'm happy right now that I did.

I don't believe I've ever knowingly met anyone who was in this band, and I only got to see them once in a basement in Riverwest so long ago that I barely even remember who I went with or who else played, but this CD was well ahead of its time. Kids would be eating this shit up if it came out today.

If anyone's got a better history on this band, comment in response.