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Band Review

My freshmen year of college was supposed to find me in a science lab for the good part of each day. Instead it found me in various friends' dorm rooms devouring their cd collections. I had gone through my highschool years on a steady diet of Rush, Yes, and Public Enemy. These really were among the only groups that I thought were worth listening to. But when my feet hit the campus grounds my little mind opened like the Skydome and I could hardly find enough music to fill it.

There were a few key people in that year (all those many, many years ago) who were chiefly responsible for the musical orgy. My friend Steve introduced me to Mr. Bungle, Primus, and a host of others. The strange bass playing chap nextdoor to me (my good friend Joe) did the favor of making me listen to Tool and Marilyn Manson. Drew showed me the wonders of Faith No More(!), Earth Crisis, and Sarah McLachlan. It was however a crazy fella named Bishop who first played Into Another for me and blew my mind. And dammit how I miss Into Another.

It's been a while since they split up, and no, there's no hope for them getting back together. Their bass player was killed in a car accident in 2002. They aren't the type of group who replaces a member. So I've got three full-lengths and two EP's to console me. All of their releases are great, two are superb.

Beginning with their self-titled LP, Into Another, these guys sounded like nothing else. They were rock, metal, prog, and they were very smart. The vocals of Richie Birkenhead (ex-Underdog and Youth of Today) set them apart immediately. He has one of the most unique and powerful voices I've heard. From tender, childlike passages to nails-on-chalkboard shrieks, and sometimes even operatic-style delivery, he was a fearless vocalist. His lyrics bizarre and beautiful. Peter Moses, a classically trained guitarist who could shred, and bassist Tony Bono whose lines often took the melodic lead, further defined the bands singular sound.

1991 - Into Another
Revelation Records

Beginning in 1991 with their their self-titled debut album, Into Another showed their chops, their songwriting ability, and a creativity uncommon in rock at that time (and even more uncommon now).
Standout cuts: Splinters, As It Were

1992 - Creepy Eepy
Revelation Records

First of all, great title. Creepy Eepy picks up right where the debut left off. This four-song EP is a good summation of what Into Another was about as there are three metal-esque, prog-y, rockers and one more relaxed song showing their soft underbelly.
Standout cuts: Absolute Zero, The Other

1994 - Ignaurus
Revelation Records

Their finest album. Ignaurus is a classic. Every song is great, the recording and sound quality is a step up from their previous releases, the energy and emotion jumps out at the listener. The songwriting and the lyrics are truly outstanding on Ignaurus. Tony Bono really shines with his bass leads and fills. There's less "metal" here than on the two prior efforts but the album is nevertheless more powerful and even heavier. This is due to a change in their overall tone, most notably in Peter Moses' guitar sound, and Richie Birkenhead's stronger vocals. This album is a must-have.
Standout cuts: Poison Fingers, Laughing At Oblivion, Anxious

1995 - Poison Fingers
Revelation Records

Poison Fingers was the single off of Ignaurus, released (somewhat strangely) after that album was released. There are two other songs included on the single though, which do not apprear on any album. Certainly a must-have for Into Another fans, but Poison Fingers is the best song here, and like I said, it's found on the full-length. The other two song, To Be Free and Herbivore are certainly very good songs but they don't quite measure up to the excellence of the Ignaurus material.

1996 - Seemless
Hollywood Records

Their final release, and it was another classic. Quite different from Ignaurus, it's more streamlined, slightly less adventurous and slightly more radio oriented. They changed up their sound again for Seemless, altering the guitar and bass tones, and compressing the mix more. The result is more dense sound. Drew Thomas' drums are one of the driving forces on this record, really pushing the band. While I prefer the mix and the sound achievd on Ignaurus, Seemless is a different beast, and shows that the band was constantly pushing forward.
Standout cuts: T.A.I.L., Seemless, For A Wounded Wren