Battered Fish – Bent

Battered Fish
Bent
1993 (no label)
Aspley, Queensland, Australia

Caleb – Guitar, voice
Jeremy – Bass guitar
Matt – Drumming

  1. My Umbrella
  2. Oath of Silence
  3. The Source
  4. My Shoulder
  5. I Don’t Care

This appears to be the first demo by Australian band Battered Fish, who went on to release a few more albums. This included their most well-known and loved Modern in 2000. This is a good seven years before that, so they had to yet really develop their dreamy, moody modern rock sounds of Modern yet. This sound here is kind of what was typical of early 90’s Australian alt-rock, although more serious than many of those bands tended to be. Still some humor, of course. Kind of humble beginnings for what they would go on to become, but still historically interesting.

Urban Nomad – Urban Nomad

Urban Nomad
Urban Nomad
1993 (no label)
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Lauren Brombert – vocals, acoustic guitars, keys
John Becker – Guitars
Ron Hilger – Bass
Phil Creighton – Drums

  1. I’ll Be Waiting
  2. Suitable Man
  3. Shadow of Shame
  4. Stars and Sand

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this demo based on the cover, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear an Americana-esque alternative rock sound coming out of the speakers. Kind of like a mixture of the first Hoi Polloi, the third Greg & Rebecca Sparks, and Lone Justice. The first song is pretty upbeat, while the last three are more somber but moving. It’s a great short demo, but I don’t know if the band went on to do anything else. Note that the song order listed on the j-card above is slightly off. Also, it might be that this is a project by lead vocalist Lauren Brombert who brought in other people to play on the demo by the say they are listed on the j-card (see above).

Nehemiah – Dangerous

Nehemiah
Dangerous
1993 (no label)
Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA

Rodney Huckey – Lead vocals
Steve Lockridge – Guitars, vocals
Chad Jasna – Guitars, vocals
Bill Rebsemen – Keyboards, vocals
Mark Clay – Bass, vocals
Kirk Gaither – Drums, vocals

Side 1:

  1. Structured Dissonance
  2. Dangerous
  3. Take It All the Way
  4. Message
  5. Something in Return
  6. Turn or Burn

Side 2:

  1. The Ascension
  2. Louder Than Hell
  3. Keeping Your Eyes on Me
  4. The Way It Should Be
  5. Look What You’ve Done

This starts off with a pretty driving thrash intro, but then switches over into kind of a heavy progressive metal sound for the second song. The vocals are still rougher than most progressive metal, so it’s kind of like thrash metal with progressive keyboards, or progressive metal with a thrash metal vocalist. Sometimes the music moves into hard rock or even AOR territory. The vocals seem to shift slightly from gruff thrash to raspy commercial metal vocals. By the time you get to “Turn or Burn,” it feels like you are listening to a straight out party rock band. But they are back to a power metal near thrash metal assault with “Louder Than Hell.”

Stinging Rain – Stinging Rain EP

Stinging Rain
Stinging Rain EP
1993 Nondescript Records
Grove City, Pennsylvania, USA

Nathan Depew – Vocals, guitars, harmonica
Paul Fry – Bass, backing vocals
Brett Kendall – Keyboards, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Jon Phillips – Drums, percussion

  1. Violin (live)
  2. Shoes
  3. Via Dolorosa
  4. The Minstrel’s Song (live)

Fans of Stinging Rain are probably giving this release the side-eye. All of the songs listed on here are on their 1993 full-length The Face of Stephen. But the list of current releases on the j-card itself doesn’t have that on there. There is also no mention of this being a pre-release. My best guess is that it was an ep they put together in the beginning of 1993, which got expanded into a full length later on in 1993. I own their three albums on CD, so obviously I like this band, but I have never heard of this ep. For those that don’t know, Stinging Rain was a Pennsylvania alternative rock band that got some attention outside of their area. The versions of the songs here are slightly different than the ones on The Face of Stephen, usually with a bit lower mix, so I stick with my guess that these were earlier versions, maybe even demo versions. I think I even hear some slight Celtic rock influences on some of the songs?

Fields of Youth – The Embrace

Fields of Youth
The Embrace
1993 Marathon Records
Peoria, Illinois, USA

Kerry Cox – Vox
Brad Avery – Six string, fiddle
Dan Aeschliman – Bass
Tom Elmore – Groove

Side 1:

  1. Time
  2. The Embrace
  3. Child’s Eve
  4. Still Be Mine
  5. Joy of Discipline

Side 2:

  1. Wake Me Up
  2. Secret Things
  3. Public Eye
  4. Fear to Fly

I didn’t really know anything about this group, but the cover and name look alternative, and sure enough – that is what it is. The sound is in the early 90s alt rock arena, somewhere between The Prayer Chain and early The Violet Burning. I think this was released on Jeff Elbel’s Marathon Records, but I have not heard of it before this. So I also don’t know if they did anything before or after this tape. It’s a pretty good tape – I just don’t know much else about it, unfortunately. The word on the street is that Brad Avery of Third Day was a member of this band before he moved to Georgia and joined Third Day.

Shroud – Candy, Darling?

Shroud
Candy, Darling?
1993 Rage Records
Tocca Falls, Georgia, USA

Lee Bozeman
Glenn Black
Jamey Bozeman
Chris Foley

Side 1:

  1. Velvet
  2. Touch
  3. (And I Say) Bitter
  4. Anniversary

Side 2:

  1. Me, The Lounge Singer
  2. This Season
  3. South
  4. Carnival Vamp
  5. Sleeper
  6. Stay Still

For those in the know, you immediately recognize this as an early demo by the band that soon changed their name to Luxury. Most of this demo is available on BandCamp (for some reason, “Carnival Vamp” was left off of BandCamp), so you can listen to this there. The year before this demo, the band was called The Shroud, and they released a demo called Tinsel. Later on the same year after this demo was released, the band changed names to Luxury and released It Might As Well Be Skin (also known as The Pink Tape). “(And I Say) Bitter” (renames “Bitter, Once Again”) and the full version of “South” (only 48 seconds are on this tape) was later re-recorded for their Tooth & Nail label debut Amazing and Thank You in 1994. Both of the songs “Velvet” and “Touch” were also included on their tape compilation Nude at Last in 1996.

John R. Williamson – Make a Songwriter Happy

John R. Williamson
Make a Songwriter Happy
1993 Sonic Hope Records
Claremont, California, USA

John R. Williamson – Vocals, guitars, other instruments?

Side 1:

  1. Where They Meet
  2. The Observant Scout
  3. 14 Adjustments
  4. Trying to Love Clayton Ides
  5. The Breadth of My Will
  6. Hot Jazz

Side 2:

  1. Exodus Revisited
  2. Friends
  3. From Russia With Love
  4. The Ballad of Funnycuzi
  5. The Death of the Rough Rider
  6. Hart Overboad
  7. Thanks a Lot

From what I can tell, this is at least Williamson’s 4th or 5th demo (depending on when the undated Sketches came out, or if there are other earlier demos I haven’t heard of. Since Canvas of Blues was also released in 1993, but ’m not sure which one came out first. There is also a missing song on Side 1 – seven are listed, but only six are played. I can name all of the tracks except for track 2 – so it is either “Roley Poley” or “The Observant Scout.” Based on the liner notes, I went with “The Observant Scout” – but I could be wrong. This tape follows other Williamson releases, in that it is mostly folk rock with many other instruments thrown in. That makes some songs come across as more Americana Rock than folk rock.

Sevenfold – Land of the Living

Sevenfold
Land of the Living
1993 Titus Records
Mt. Sinai, New York USA

Sheryl Ellenberger – All vocals
Robert Carlton – All guitars

Side 1:

  1. Land of the Living
  2. The Only One
  3. The Power
  4. You Saved My Life
  5. Salvation

Side 2:

  1. Preoccupied
  2. Handmade
  3. Walk Free
  4. Not Enough

So this is apparently a two-person band? Either that or they left some members off the credits. It doesn’t sound like a two-person project. They pretty much pull of a full-band sounding heavy metal album. The sound is kind of like a slightly less commercial but still heavy metal Ransom. Although there are some pretty commercial metal songs like “Preoccupied.” Not sure if this band recorded anything else before or after this tape. The actual tape cover is actually more of neon pink than shows up in the scan.

Industrial Evolution

Industrial Evolution
2020 Retroactive Records

The Bumpus Hounds

Eric Shirley – Vocals and lyrics
Oatmeal – Instruments and music
Wally Shaw – Recorded, produced, engineered, and wrote “Sanctuary” (as Icon Tack)
MC White E – Guest appearance on “Temple”
Stephen Wagers – Guest appearance on “Temple”

Primary Censor

Eric Shirley – Vocals
Matt Wright – Guitar, programming
Chris Spoonts – Bass, programming
Stuart Lillard – Drums
Jay Vollentine – Programming
Mark Dufour – Drums

Coarse

Eric Shirley – Vocals
Matt Wright – Guitars
Richie Laxton – Keyboards, drums

Abstain

Matt Wright – Vocals, Guitars, instruments

Disc One:

  1. The Bumpus Hounds – World’s End
  2. The Bumpus Hounds – Blind Hate
  3. The Bumpus Hounds – Temple
  4. The Bumpus Hounds – Thrown Away
  5. The Bumpus Hounds – Sanctuary
  6. The Bumpus Hounds – Sanctuary (instrumental)
  7. The Bumpus Hounds – Thrown Away (X-Propagation Re-tool 1993)
  8. Primary Censor – Judgmental
  9. Primary Censor – Negative
  10. Primary Censor – False
  11. Primary Censor – Splinter
  12. Primary Censor – Arsen
  13. Primary Censor – See
  14. Primary Censor – Silence
  15. Primary Censor – Intro
  16. Primary Censor – Subtly
  17. Primary Censor – Circle
  18. Primary Censor – Artificial Heart
  19. Primary Censor – Silence
  20. Primary Censor – Judgmental

Disc Two:

  1. Coarse – Quiet
  2. Abstain – Release
  3. Abstain – Control
  4. Abstain – Whispers
  5. Abstain – Neuroplasticity
  6. Abstain – Recollections
  7. Abstain – Isolationism
  8. Abstain – Osmosis
  9. Abstain – Indyanna

Yes, this is a new CD. But it is also a collection of demos from back in the day, so of course I had to have it. The Bumpus Hounds and their awesome brand of metal/industrial on The Pit Dug for the Wicked has already been covered here. Two Bumpus Hounds bonus tracks have been dug up here: an instrumental of “Sanctuary” and a re-working of “Thrown Away” by Brent Stackhouse of X-Propagation/Deitiphobia fame. This compilation basically covers how different bands evolved out of The Bumpus Hounds. Primary Sensor was an Austin-area industrial metal band That Eric Surrey formed after The Bumpus Hounds. They produced three demos of some killer industrial metal that gained some attention around the Austin area. A few years after that, Shirey was approached to do a song for a compilation and the result was the band Coarse (with Primary Sensor guitarist Matt Wright joining him on guitar). Wright was also approached to do a song, so he contributed one song from his new project  Abstain. There were a few other experimental Abstain songs that were added to this comp here as well. The entire 2-CD release from Retroactive Records is a great archive of early to mid 90s industrial metal, so you really should grab a copy of you haven’t yet from Boone’s Overstock.

Sometime Sunday – Pain

Sometime Sunday
Pain
1993 Fearless Donkey Records
Portland, Oregon, USA

Mikee – Yells
K.C. – Guitar
Zip – Bass
Jake – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Blur
  2. Think
  3. Trip
  4. Home

Side 2:

  1. Words
  2. Death
  3. Rope

I wanted to take a quick moment to review one of my favorite underground tapes of all time (mainly because it looks like one of the members followed this blog). I can pretty much write this one from memory as I wore my tape out back in the day. I think I got it from True Tunes. I know that grunge became a highly mocked genre due to the fact that, like hair metal before it, too many bands became their own worst cliches. But I still enjoy many grunge bands that did it well and made it their own. Sometime Sunday was always more like a heavy alternative band that was influenced by the Seattle scene. After this tape they signed to Tooth & Nail Records and released Stone. The songs “Blur,””Home,” and “Rope” made it onto their debut full-length (although “Home” was re-imagined as an acoustic track). My favorite track on here is the driving “Words,” but there really aren’t any bad tracks here. The tape was also remastered and released on BandCamp by the Corral on Spincycle for your listening pleasure. Also loved the cool clear purple cassette tape.