Quest for Quintana Roo

I was standing outside the garage known as the Biko House, and I heard someone screaming. So I rushed inside, only to discover the screams coming from a nerdy-looking blonde kid on guitar. Nothing to fear.

They were Quest for Quintana Roo. I bought the six song CD (on New Disorder) they were selling. And then later got the split 7″ with Uphill Battle (on Lo Pan), and another 7″ (on Chongo Smash/Reeducation). I think the CD is the best of the records here. But the 7″ is good, too. The split is a little so-so – I think it was recorded inside a tin can. Edit: I take that back; their stuff on the split is now my favorite, and it sounds perfect. The songs arevery piercing and frantic and raw and even gruesome. They really lay it all out. It’s stinging, fringe stuff. (Reminds me of some bits from Usurp Synapse.)

They have a few other releases, as listed on their website, but this is all I have. All three mentioned, plus inserts, can be found in the zip below. They were from Oakland, CA, and around from 1999 to, I believe, early 2002. And I think the singer/guitar player later sang for Funeral Diner.


I liken them to the likes of Ettil Vrye, Bright Calm Blue, and such. Songs about interpersonal relationships, alienation, being lost and found.

They mention Arroyo Seco in the liner notes of the 7″. So I think next I’ll post the Arroyo Seco tape I have.

Uphill Battle was from Santa Barbara/Goleta. They were originally known as Crawlspace – and I have that demo somewhere, but I’m not sure where that somewhere is. I was friends with some of the members, and I saw them many times. They play fast, tight, and anguished metallic hardcore. They signed to Relapse a little after this split came out. I used to spend all my viewing time at their shows staring at the drummer, because he’s absolutely amazing. Their side of the split has one song, and it’s great. That last minute and ten is intense.

Quest for Quintana Roo

Countervail

I saw Countervail many times at the pickle patch. They were from Ventura, about 30 minutes south of Goleta, so they came up a lot. I always looked forward to seeing them. What I remember from the shows was the singer screaming his bones off with his head between his knees, accompanied by a relentless, pummeling wall of sound. They sort of looked tuff, but the music wasn’t at all your standard straight edge chugga stuff. Well, they could certainly chug, and there are some breakdowns, but they took more influence from Rorschach and One-Eyed God Prophecy (and, in terms of steady, driving hardcore, from OEGP’s later incarnation, The Black Hand).

The CD-ep is called An Empty Hand for a Heart. It came out on Phyte Records in 1998. Four songs.

Countervail

Rugburn – Iijima

After listening to and liking the Rugburn / Jeberrekenelle split, I sought out more music by both bands. And through the power of hard work I succeeded. Both contain materials that stand well alongside the songs I’d already heard. The disks came to me from mp3.com, back in 1998 or so. Basically, burned disks with printed covers, and that’s it. I will emphasize how this was a most agreeable service, simple and plain as it was, as I don’t believe that these days a person could so easily purchase CDs from these bands. But, fortunately, Jeberrekenelle’s stuff can be found and downloaded from Mr. Dwab‘s site. And now here’s Rugburn.

That’s really the cover. It must have been the cover of a later release. It’s nowhere near as cool as their cover on the split. As you can read on their myspace page, they were around from 1992 to 1995. They started in Santa Barbara, and halfway through moved to San Francisco. The move to SF also signaled a change in moniker. I’m guessing they did this because another band already had Rugburn, or something like that. Or maybe they just felt like kicking off their life in the new city under a slightly different identify. At any rate, nothing much changed music-wise (to which I say, thank you!). I don’t know when within this discog that the band switches names. Perhaps it’s when things go live! To me, those audience members sound like prototypical San Franciscans (I think you’ll find that you agree).

I can’t very well describe the same band differently twice, so: “At any rate, their music is very good: driving guitar, great drumming, some rocking, forward elements, somewhat reminiscent of Iconoclast, [and maybe some kirsch stuff… oops, this means I’ve officially described it differently], vocals kind of reminding me of 1.6 Band.” So give it a listen. Sometimes I wish I could put more meaningful things down in descriptions – some great phrases that really capture the sound and feel of the band, rather than mostly trite and general terms that I just fling out in order to fill space. But other times I don’t care, and I find satisfaction in knowing that the band can very well speak for itself. This band shreds and rolls, and I’m really into them. The live recording on this sounds great. I love hearing live versions of songs that can’t be found on other recordings.

The only part about this discography that I don’t like so much is in the first song when the singer repeats, “No!” I just don’t understand why he says it. And, in general, I’m not into when singers sing No!, or, for that matter, Woah!, or MmHmm. And so forth. I don’t agree that they need to fill in the space with such drabble. Just leave it blank. This is all to say that that’s my only complaint, and as it sucks as a complaint, I’m left mostly with strongly positive feelings toward these songs. 15 songs total. What a treat!

Rugburn – Iijima

Pogrom

Like most of you, I’m sure, I only knew Pogrom from their one song on the XXX comp – the repetitive, trudging, double-bass robo-drummed, slow-motion vocaled song about “laughing at the world.” I was both intrigued and entranced by the song – and by the concept: a one-person straight edge metal band – and I wanted to hear more. So, back in 1997, when I saw an ad in Heartattack for a Pogrom album called “Diarium,” I carefully concealed my money and sent it off to him asap. Would “Diarium” feature more slooooow vocals, more languid, plodding riffage?

No! It’s a total metal attack: super-technical programmed drumming, major riffs and licks and shredding solos, and operatic, carrying vocals. Lyric-wise, this can only be labeled as personal metal. Songs cover such topics as shitty housemates, being a scientist, grandparents growing old, and really loving metal. The songs have explanations, and he’s also included some journal entries in the booklet.

As a solo metal project, it took him years to put this all together. I can only imagine how much work went into the drum patterns alone. So, the vocal styles vary a little from song to song (and, though it’s pretty consistent, you can tell this didn’t emerge out of one recording session). To get a clearer idea of the contents and ideas behind it, here’s the prologue in the author, Jason Green’s, own words:

Pogrom has always been about one thing: making and recording metal. Everything on this CD was recorded in apartments, houses, garages, schools rehearsal rooms – anywhere I could find to get the songs onto tape. For the past five years, since 1992, I’ve been saving drums patterns and writing lyrics, putting out little demos here and there. At this time, there have been twenty-one songs completed, most of them done on 4-track decks. A handful have been upgraded with better equipment and compiled to form this representative collection.This won’t sound like a real CD to me, it will sound fake. It shouldn’t rest on the same shelf as the incredible 80’s metal bands. But I don’t want these songs to fade away, because if they do, then so will I, for this is my everything. I love heavy metal, and I love making it. I just hope there are people out there that still like to hear it.

I figure that many people that listen to this will say that it sounds like some idiot trying to do something he wasn’t cut out to do. All I can provide for these people is honesty. These songs might as well be my skin, my hair – they are me, ugly and embarrassing. I will always wonder if I did the right thing by making this available to so many people, most of them strangers.

This booklet is essentially a diary. Most of the lyrics came from a hand-written journal. Other writings have been included here as well, some that relate to the songs, and others that are meant to stand on their own.

For a brief stint, I called this project Cephalon, but it didn’t seem right after the fact. There’s no political statement in calling this Pogrom. I chose the name because it sounded metallic. And it quickly grew catchy, to the point where *Pogrom* became synonmous with myself.

It’s good to be back.

I’ve been big into this CD from the day I got it. It’s different. It’s pretty epic. If you truly like metal, then you’ll probably appreciate it. Research has uncovered pretty much zero ‘net presence (I found some false information on one site, and that’s it). So I’m guessing not a lot of people have heard this. That’s a shame, but, well, here you go. I wonder what Jason Green’s been up to since this?

Pogrom

(My superdrive on my macbook pro sucks, so I have to thank world cup soccer pinball grand champ SSW, author of the Degrassi Digest, for ripping this for me. Thanks.)

Slave One

Named after Boba Fett’s unique starship, Slave One originated in the far-reaches of Fort Worth, Texas, and played piercing, crushing metal-fueled hardcore from 1996-1999. This post contains their 7″ (on Highwater 1997, I think), the split lp with Meadowlark (split release on Make a Difference and Sixgunlover, 1998), and their lp (Redwood, 1998).

As you’ll notice, the 7″ contains two songs that are later re-recorded and released on the lp. You’ll also notice that the vocals on this are different than on the later records. Personally, I’m more into these vocals – they seem to reveal a bit more emotion, and it’s a little easier to discern the lyrics. Later on, they became harsher and more brutal, a la His Hero Is Gone.

One of my favorite things about this band is how well they build up and then slice into the fast parts. They also, while not being a total metal band, certainly put in a few Slayer-esque (a la South of Heaven) riffs. At least, that’s how I see it.

The split with Meadowlark contains two songs by Slave One, and three by Meadowlark (included here, of course). A friend taped the Meadowlark 7″ for me, and I liked it. I don’t have that tape anymore. I think I’m more into the 7″ than their side on this record. Even today, each time it looks like rain, I like to say outloud to whomever’s next to me, “A storm is coming. Our storm. And when it arrives it will shake the universe.” The Slave One songs on this split are great!

Finally, the lp is solid. Bits of chaos, great drumming, plenty of crushing metal (as mentioned in the first sentence), slick riffs, songs about love and loss. Enjoy!

Slave One