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. There is also another un-dated demo from before or after this one called Combat Boots.

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.

Grammatrain – Demo

1994 (no label)
Seattle, Washington, USA

Pete Stewart – Vocals, guitars
Dalton Roraback – Bass
Paul J. Roraback – Drums, percussion, vocals

  1. Drown
  2. Mindform
  3. Need

Finally got this album in a trade. This short demo by Grammatrain (hopefully you know who they are) is notable mainly for the one song here that didn’t make it on to any later albums (“Mindform”). The sound here is a bit rougher and less mature than their debut album – but not by much. So this one song is not a throw away song – I guess they just ended up not liking it? The other two songs are somewhat different than their final forms. Still, an interesting peek into the bands early development. Cool DIY j-card design as well.

The Amazing Bone – Demo

The Amazing Bone
1994 (no label)

Kevin Guitierrez (Kevin 131) – Guitars, programming
Tim Guitierrez – Vocals, bass

  1. Frightened Dogs
  2. Butterfly
  3. Real
  4. Smashed Eye Socket
  5. Aura
  6. Enemy
  7. Motorcycle, Man

Oh yeah! Another demo purchase for me, finally tracking down the infamous Amazing Bone. The Amazing Bone was a project by Kevin 131 of Sorrow of Seven/Aleixa fame. I heard the opening track of this demo on the Samantha compilation back in the day, and loved the heavy industrial sound of that track. They sounded a lot like Ministry to me at the time. I wondered if the other tracks were as good? Turns out – they are. Overall, the demo does give more of a KMFDM vibe that many have compared them to, but I also hear a strong Ministry influence as well. If you are only familiar with Aleixa, the sound on this demo is more guitar (post grunge in sound) and male vocals (also post-grunge-ish) a bit lower in the mix, with a few loud trippy tracks (like “Butterfly”) that lean more towards traditional industrial here and there. Too bad there wasn’t more.

Dodavahu – Buy This Tape

Buy This Tape
1994? (no label)
Elkton, Maryland, USA

Matt Kenenske – Guitar, vocals
Darrel Jesonis – Bass, little vocals
Luke Kenenske – Drums, very little vocals

Side 1:

  1. Waiting for So Long
  2. Silly World
  3. SNG 4
  4. Façade

Side 2:

  1. Attitude
  2. Where I Am
  3. Compromise Hour
  4. As I Looked

Dodavahu was an underground band that got some national exposure by being on several high (and not so high) profile compilations in the 90s. They did record one full length CD, but never signed to any labels – even though they probably should have. Their sound was that heavy funk alternative spazz rock that was popular in the mid-90s. They were a bit more focused than Dig Hay Zoose, but with more swagger than Don’t Know. But I guess it wasn’t meant to be. “Waiting for So Long,” “Silly World,” “Compromise Hour,” and “As I Looked” were also on their 1991 demo as well.