Igniter – Fall of the Nation

Fall of the Nation
1996 (no label)
San Antonio, Texas, USA

Mike Better – Vocals
James Martinez – Guitars
Michael Travieso – Guitars
Steve Valdez – Bass
Ron Travieso – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. Psalms 91
  2. Heaven’s Gate
  3. Where Do We Go From Here
  4. Fall of the Nation
  5. Rose of Sharon

Side 2:

  1. Call to Love
  2. Holy Flame
  3. Black Widow
  4. Dominion

Back in the mid-90s, after the Great Grunge Onslaught, few bands were out there doing full on heavy metal. There were several metal bands around, but so many were going nu-metal, grunge, ____core, etc. Most were calling it quits. So it was interesting to hear Igniter raising the heavy metal banner without shame in 1996. No real hints of grunge/nu/core here. Lots of traditional metal, power metal, commercial metal, and neo-classical metal. San Antonio was a mecca of heavy metal back in the day, and it looks like “the day” lasted well after the 80s for some bands. Lesser demo tapes than this one have become legends in the underground metal circles online.

This Suffering – This Suffering

This Suffering
This Suffering
1996 Dead Records
Port Angeles, Washington, USA

Jeff Suffering

Side 1:

  1. Dreams I See More Clearly
  2. Blackened

Side 2:

  1. Shattered Images
  2. Crevace

So this is apparently a Gothic / Experimental side project from Jeff (Bettger) Suffering of 90lb Wuss / Suffering & The Hideous Thieves fame. I don’t know who all performed on this as there some female vocals, so it could also be Suffering mostly on his own or not. The song “Blackened” made it on to the Boot to Head Records Sampler #1 in 1996. It doesn’t seem like any of these songs made it on to future Suffering-related projects, but I could have missed one somewhere.

LuvzHugz – LuvzHugz

1996 Too Loud Records
Liberty, Kentucky, USA

Matt Davis – Vocals, background vocals, drum programming
Richard Easterling – Guitars, bass, extra drum programming

  1. Louder Than Words
  2. Kidz “R”
  3. Sin

My first guess on seeing the name of this band was pop punk. But the cover looks more underground noise/experimental. Upon listening to this, the second one was closer. However, the closest comparison I can think of is Situation Taboo. This is electronic music that is someone industrial, somewhat trippy, and somewhat guitar alt rock. They really don’t sound like SitTab, but that is the closest sound that comes to mind. The cassette card lists a song called “The Devil Had a Picnic” that does not appear on the cassette. Very interesting but obscure find.

Dog Baby – The Incredible Fart Post

Dog Baby
The Incredible Fart Post
1996 That 1 Record Co.
Fountain Valley, California, USA

Matt Bailey – Bass, vocals
Jesse Nason – Drums, vocals
Gary Tucker – Guitar, vocals

Side 1:

  1. Convalescence
  2. Almost Nothing

Side 2:

  1. Just Friends
  2. Knee Slap
  3. Carpet

Finally a bucket list item checked off! Well, not really. But this was a mystery from back in the day for me finally solved. I remember seeing an image for something called “Fart Post” in the corner of an ad in HM magazine back in 1996. I had no idea what it referred to. A few years ago in a Facebook discussion we found out that Dog Baby had actually named their demo that. Yeah, that is at least a “Top 10 Worst Album Names” award right there. It was also strange that after releasing a full-length CD called Donut the year before they would go back to tape – especially in 1996. Ethereal Soul did the same thing about this time. Speaking of Ethereal Soul, that is a good sonic comparison here. Dog baby was a funk metal band like Dig Hay Zoose, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hot Pink Turtle, etc. To my ears, they sound a bit like a cross between Don’t Know and Sage (from the Artcore comp). One of the members mentioned on Facebook that there was a demo before Donut and a second full-length album, but I have found no clue as to what those are.

Riveredge – 1996 Demo

1996 Demo
1996 (no label)

Jason – Drums, vocals
Jeremy – Bass guitar
Chris – Guitars, vocals

Side 1:

  1. Alien
  2. As You Freefall (Wasted)

Side 2:

  1. Youth in Asia
  2. Far Away

This is another random demo that I picked out of the stack because it was short and looked interesting. The sound is kind of a darker alternative rock – the first song based on electric guitar, and the other three on acoustic guitar. Not bad at all, but not really original enough to stand out from the crowd of bands that were also doing this same thing in the mid-90s. They also did that annoying thing of not listing band member last names, so I have no idea if they went on to other bands or not. But they also win the award for “band photo where the band members that look nothing like an actual band.”

The Way Sect Bloom – The Way Sect Bloom

The Way Sect Bloom
The Way Sect Bloom
1996 Flaming Fish Music (ffmcs003)

Jeff Bruce – Guitars, vocals, keyboards, programming, sequencing
Joe Gallagher – Additional guitars and vocals
Mike Cruz – Additional keyboards and vocals

Side 1:

  1. Subsidize
  2. Frustrate
  3. Washed

Side 2:

  1. Illumina
  2. Frustrate (reality edit)

Interesting – I had forgotten that there was a self-titled Way Sect Bloom release on Flaming Fish Music after their God demo, but before their Effloresce full-length. All of the songs here were also on Effloresce. “Illumina” is pretty different from “Illumina (Defenseless)” on Effloresce, and there are also slight differences with “Washed” and Frustrate (reality mix)” as well. The Way Sect Bloom had a unique take on industrial hard rock that I always liked. The first three tracks were recorded by Scott Albert aka Celldweller, so you can hear his influence on the music as well. Kind of more of a collector’s item for the uber fan more than anything else, but still cool none the less.

Smash Your Idols – Smash Your Idols

Smash Your Idols
Smash Your Idols
1996? (no label)
Colonial Heights, Virginia, USA

Lin Doak – Guitar, vocals
Kevin Poynter – Guitar, vocals
Doug Fletcher – Bass guitar
Swayne Castillo – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Hate Things
  2. Looking for Jesus
  3. Lost Soul
  4. Lies
  5. That’s Not What Love Is

Side 2:

  1. Waiting
  2. The Dark Side is Calling
  3. All I Wanna Do
  4. My Rock

No date on this one, but I picked 1996 because that is the copyright date on the archive of their website, which has this tape for sale (but it could have been earlier). They label themselves as “modern rock” – which is a pretty good description. In the mid-90s, it was a good way to identify the bands that wanted to rock out with loud guitars while not being full-on grunge or alternative. This was often because the lead singer sang in a higher range than grunge, or the guitar player wanted to do metal solos, or both. “Smash Your Idols” doesn’t really work that well as a band name, but they do a pretty good job at their chosen style of music. Their website indicates they were planning on releasing this on CD – wonder if that ever happened? Unfortunately, even though this is a fairly newer tape, there is a lot of tape warble in the last two songs on side 1 and the first two on side 2 (“The Dark Side is Calling” nearly grinds to a stop from tape damage).

Missing Information: Confirmation of release date