Thursday, July 7, 2016

Five Stars For Failure - demo cassette

Let me begin today's addendum to Creation Of Minerals by first saying that I feel weird about doing a blog post on a band which I used to play in; there's just something a bit uncomfortable about the idea of doing so. Hopefully I can handle it...

I'm not going to go very deep into the history of Five Stars For Failure here, because that's what this website is for. Fundamentally, we were a three-piece emo/indie/hardcore band from suburban Philadelphia and we really liked Sleepytime Trio, Spirit Assembly and Four Hundred Years. This tape was the first thing we recorded, and it was comprised of the first four songs we wrote that -weirdly enough- appeared on the demo in chronological order. Our guitarist Jay recorded it (played live, of course) on a Tascam 4-track at our practice space, which also happened to be his bedroom in the house that his grandparents owned (we eventually got our shit together and migrated to the garage). It came out sounding very lo-fi and raw, which makes perfect sense. We were happy with it at the time I guess, but nowadays may be tough to make it through, as I just found out. I have no idea why we thought making 200 copies of this thing was a good idea, but that's exactly what we did. We brought a few demos for consignment to some local record shops in and around the city, sold / gave away a bunch at shows, and send a few off to some zines for reviews. A decent-enough review of this cassette (and then eventually our 7") in issue 24 of HeartattaCk gave us a little bit of exposure, which made us feel nice. Looking back on this band years later, we weren't great or anything, but at the same time I don't think we were that bad either. I'd say I'm happy with what we accomplished: this demo cassette, a four song 7", a few compilation appearances, and 31 shows in total. Not too shabby.

Anyways, we would re-record these four jams at an actual studio, and two of them went on the aforementioned seven inch. After we got tired of each other and broke up, we self-released a 13 song discography cd-r, but didn't include these original versions of the songs on it. If you are so inclined, you can also listen to and/or download the discography right over here. Realistically, the only reason I bothered to do this post is because I can't imagine that digital files of these songs exist in the possession of anyone who wasn't in the band.

I'm still very close to the bass player of FSFF, Justin aka The Reverend. He's getting married next month and has asked me to be his best man, which is honestly a total lie because he didn't ask. He essentially told me that I was his best man and didn't leave me with a say in the matter, which I'm obviously totally cool with. We've also put a new band together, King Slender, and will be recording some jams for a demo tape in a matter of weeks. Hopefully it turns out a bit better than this :)

200 copies were made, and this was recorded by Jay Donahue during June of 1999.

1) Break, Eye
2) Were It Car Invisible
3) Caterstories
4) Stuffing

- wine coolers -

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

V/A - "In Our Blood" compilation cassette

This tape comprises the only effort I've ever seen released by random 90's hc label Reform Records, which hailed from Mount Holly, New Jersey. There are indeed some notable bands that make an appearance here: Overcast, Conviction, Converge, Blindside, and pre-Autumn band Forethought to name a few. The best tracks have always been in my opinion the first two, which are the Conviction and Knockdown contributions. A close third would be "Mean Streets" from the influential Philly metal powerhouse Starkweather, who ruled.*  I very distinctly remember listening to to this tape during the bus ride to high school in the morning and just rewinding it to re-listen to both songs again right after "Engulf" ended.

Contrasting the abundance of information usually found within the layouts of many comps that came out during this time period, In Our Blood gives you absolutely jack shit, and you'll just have to deal with it. In case you think I'm making stuff up, I've conveniently included a picture of the blank inner part of the card stock cover for you to check out during your free time.

Some years after it's initial release, this comp was later pressed on vinyl by an Italian label called SOA, from which this rip was culled. I'm still not sure how Edgewise was left off of this compilation, folks, as this would be a perfect fit given the geographical locations for most (if not all) of these bands.

This tape was RR-1, and saw the light of day circa 1994^.

                      right? i mean, c'mon.

*I dunno though, that Strait Up song is pretty dope too.
^I think, but it could very well have been 1993 or 1995. I honestly don't know what I'm talking about, so let's just go with '94, y'all. Cool? Cool.

1) Conviction - "Peering Into Darkness"
2) Knockdown - "Engulf"
3) Firefly - "Infidelity"
4) Converge - "Savior Salvation"
5) Introspect - "Savior"
6) Overcast - "Iconoclasm"
7) Blindside - "Devotion"
8) Mode - "Control"
9) Forethought - "Sacred"
10) Starkweather - "Mean Streets"
11) Soulstice - "Know"
12) Strait Up - "Chastise"
13) Disregard - "Look Away (live)"

-carrying the weight of this world on my fucking broken back-

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ascension - "The Years of Fire" cd

First things first, this is NOT the same Ascension that released the excellent Consolamentum full length in 2010. Those dudes are a black metal band from Germany, and although that record is awesome, they are not the topic of discussion here. No sir, this is a 90s hardcore punk-oriented blog, so apologies if you were tricked into discovering this blog while looking for stuff from the current Ascension. THIS ASCENSION played mean as fuck, metal as fuck, and seriously moshy evil hc that would captivate fans of some more well-known, yet like-minded, somewhat similar sounding bands from twenty years ago: Morning Again, All Out War, Abnegation, Bloodlet, Undying, Earthmover, Torn Apart, For The Love probably get the idea.

My experience with this Ascension (who hail from suburban Cleveland, Ohio) when they were active was pretty minimal. I never saw them nor owned any of their records, but I did have a couple of comps they appeared on, including the absolutely loaded Definitely Not The Majors compilation cd, which was put out by Bush League in '97 ( it could very well have been 1998, now that I think about it). As an aside, I plan on ripping and uploading that disc here very soon, so keep an eye out, yo! Their contribution to that compilation, "Clayden", was one of the highlights of that release for me, and probably will be for you, too.

Upon inspection of the layout for The Years of Fire, one gets the impression that these dudes really loved Satan. Satan and moshing. They even include a quote from Mr. Anton LaVey, founder of the Church Of Satan, on the back cover; "I dip my forefinger into the watery blood of your impotent mad redeemer and write across his thorn torn brow: The TRUE prince of evil, the king of slaves!". Lyrical topics include the band's pro-choice stance ("Infusion") and their aversion to animal testing ("Behind Closed Doors"). They certainly get a head-nod from me right there. The recording decent enough, but more than once I thought I could have sworn the volume briefly either raised or lowered slightly during some songs, but I very well could have made that shit up because I'm getting old and losing my mind. "Evil" and Earth Crisis-influenced, this may or may not be for you. Ascension's guitarist Matt DeVries went on to play in notable Ohio metal band (to some, I suppose) Chimaira.

These songs were recorded in January 1996 at Spider Studio in Cleveland by Ben Schigel. Released by Florida's Toybox Records, who also put out shit from Dragbody and Hot Water Music. These seven jams were also released as a 10" by the same label, and is Toybox number 16.

1) Transit
2) Kaleidoscope
3) Infusion
4) Malignant
5) Behind Closed Doors
6) Chestnut
7) Station

- Chris would endorse Prozac, but prefers smoking crack -