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.