Sight Unseen – Sight Unseen

Sight Unseen
Sight Unseen
1994 (no label)
Garden Groove, California, USA

Jason Lohrke – Vocals
Niels Nielsen – Guitars
John Oliveira – Bass
Frank Lenz – Drums

  1. 3
  2. Take the Man
  3. What ‘Til Then
  4. Near
  5. A Ways Before

Wait – did I spell that name wrong? Isn’t it supposed to be “Asight Unseen”? Well, it was. But this demo finds the bass player and singer from Asight Unseen dropping the “A” and going for a slightly different sound. They are still keeping their connections to that “A” intact – the inside of the tape has both Circus of Shame and Hollywood Proverbs listed for sale. I’m not really sure if mellow is the right word to describe the sound here – its more atmospheric and ethereal. Kind of reminds me of how Raspberry Jam and the Prayer Chain both changed their sound for Oceanic and Mercury. The guitars seem to be more acoustic-based than on the Asight Unseen albums. But I kind of dig the groove they hit with this demo. I don’t think they recorded much under either name after this.

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X-Terra – New Terrain

X-Terra
New Terrain
1994 (no label)
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA

Clint Reed – Guitars, lead vocals
Anne Kachline – Bass, back-up vocals
Bob Kachline – Drums, back-up vocals

Tom Borthwick – Hammond organ

Side 1:

  1. Watch Be Ready
  2. Warrior
  3. Father’s House
  4. Sunshine
  5. How Long
  6. Emotional Overload

Side 2:

  1. Wolves
  2. Perilous Times
  3. The First Shall Be Last
  4. Nowhere to Run
  5. Modern Man

I wonder how many tapes this band has put out? They definitely kept them coming, that is for sure. I know I keep harping on this, but I have yet to see why they get the groove metal label. It probably came from one of their many releases, as they do seem to change styles somewhat from album to album. This tape feels more classic rock influenced, especially a mixture of AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. They are not outright cloning either, so keep in mind they still sound like a 90s hard rock band. It’s just that you can detect the classic rock influences in the mix. They play their brand of hard rock well. Don’t get me wrong with pointing out they are groove metal – its not a criticism, just an observation.

Jason Underground – Songs of Praise and Protest

Jason Underground
Songs of Praise and Protest
1994 (no label)
Santa Cruz, California, USA

Jason Underground – Vocals, guitars, harmonica

Joel Doswell – Beer box on “COPSEATFLOWERS” and “Pondering Asceticism”

Side 1:

  1. Talkin’ Freedom
  2. As Yet Untitled
  3. Love Rag
  4. 20 Looking Back
  5. Pondering Asceticism

Side 2:

  1. COPSEATFLOWERS (The Ballad of Rodney King)
  2. Rebuttal for Jerry
  3. Hard Times in San Luis Obispo
  4. 700 Ignorant Kids
  5. Strong Words

This is probably the demo from Jason Underground that most would be familiar with, seeing that some of these songs were present on many compilations back in the day (Especially “As Yet Untitled” if I remember correctly). I don’t think I have every learned what Jason’s real name is, but I am guessing there is someone out there who knows. If the title of the demo wasn’t clear enough, this is protest-style folk rock. Several Christians that try this style get tripped up by trying hard to sound like they are saying something deep, when they actually really aren’t. That generally comes from the fact they are trying more to attack things only on the other side of whatever issue they are on, rather than just let something profound about the issue come out and let the thought land where it may. The whole “I’m sticking with my pre-determined side of the issue no matter what” attitude just makes protest music come across as propaganda music. Jason seems to not fall into this trap, since he tends to criticize multiple sides of each issue he tackles in most cases. But that also means that he possibly will ruffle your feathers no matter where you fall on any particular issue. Most of the music here is acoustic guitar and vocals, with harmonica thrown in here and there, if you aren’t familiar with the genre.

Ben Hardwidge – The Rhyme of the Flying Bomb

Ben Hardwidge
The Rhyme of the Flying Bomb
1994 Bloated Rhino Records
Tring, England, United Kingdom

All music written, arranged, played, produced, engineered, mixed, and raked by Ben Hardwidge
Words by Mervyn Peake

Tom Carding – Narrative voice-over
Jill Kettle – Child on part 2
Ian Arkley – Sailor

  1. Rhyme of the Flying Bomb part 1 (15:04)
  2. Rhyme of the Flying Bomb part 2 (18:15)

Ben Hardwidge might be better known as the main person behind Metropolis. Well, there were several bands named Metropolis – this is the industrial prog rock one from England. Metal fans will notice that Ian Arkley of Seventh Angel / My Silent Wake fame plays one of the vocals parts on this album (or actually, I believe he growls the parts of the sailor with some death metal vocals). Don’t think of this music as an industrial version of Rush. The “prog” part means there are complex structures to the music with atypical vocals parts over music that is part instruments and part computer. The sound is kind of hard to describe – it’s like a metal industrial rock opera with spoken words instead of singing in many places. But the music is still some cool driving rock music – experimental in most places, but still with recognizable riffs and sounds you can rock out to. After this, Hardwidge gave his project the name of Metropolis, and put out a self-titled full length in 1996 and a cassette ep called Only Yours in 1999. I have never heard Only Yours, but the Metropolis S/T does continue with the sound started here.

Opinion 8 – Don’t Quit Yer Day Job

Opinion 8
Don’t Quit Yer Day Job
1994 Camouflage Records

Joe Wallace – vocals and instrument manipulation

  1. Psychadelic Beige Orangutangs
  2. The Oppressed
  3. For Art’s Sake
  4. Jack the Happy Suicide
  5. Test Patterns
  6. New World
  7. Decline
  8. Ostrich Behavior
  9. Won’t Be You Today
  10. Ends Abruptly & Too Soon

This tape is a bit different, even from those that are a bit different. The credits thank IDY and other experimental bands, and there is a noticeable influence of these bands on the music. But there is also a strong sense of song structure that is alternative rock in nature. It comes across as a more experimental Crazed Bunnyz or a more alternative rock leaning IDY. It looks like Wallace is responsible for the played and electronic instruments. I kind of dig it, and it sounds pretty original to me – but maybe I don’t know the experimental underground as well. Are you wondering about the title of the last song? It pretty much describes what actually happens to the song.

Jet Jaguar – Jet Jaguar

Jet Jaguar
Jet Jaguar
1994 (no label)
Mesa, Arizona, USA

Keith Cordell – Guitar, bass
Ted Worthless – Bass, guitar
Theresa Hodge – Drums
Nathan Marlowe – Samples

  1. Impala
  2. 51 Pegasi
  3. Spy vs. Spy
  4. Needle in a Haystack
  5. Speed the Light
  6. Mariner

This is another find from when I found the website for the Right Reverend Theodore Munk, also known as Ted Worthless of No Laughing Matter fame. He had some mp3s of old bands up there, but this band I had actually heard of before. The information above is from a tape that I traded a few years ago. The online version has a different song order, renames “Needle in a Haystack” to “Angels 20,” and adds the song “Menudo Patrol.” This is some cool instrumental surf rock. This band seems to be one of the bands that filled the gap between when No Laughing Matter broke up and reformed later.

God Speed – Called by Name

God Speed
Called by Name
1994 (no label)
Sequim, Washington, USA

Jonathan Simonson – Bass, vocals
John Himmelberger – Guitar
Greg Autry – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Intro
  2. Carry Me Out
  3. The Beginning
  4. Dead to Sin
  5. Forgotten Memories

Side 2:

  1. The Way
  2. Wanna Be
  3. See the Rain
  4. Called by Name
  5. At the Cross

Yet another BandCamp find. This is a different band than the one called Godspeed. It also seems that members used to be in bands called Fear Not (not the metal band signed to Pakaderm Records) and Evidence. The sound here is a heavier alternative rock sound with punk rock leanings. You can listen to this on BandCamp, but note that the songs are in a different order on BandCamp than on the tape listing. I went with the tape listing above. You can listen for yourself to see if you like it, but I kind of do.