Thursday, July 28, 2011

My journey to Insinnerator (music that grows on you)

What does Insinnerator's music have in common with Faith No More's Angel Dust, Ministry's The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, and Vio-Lence's Eternal Nightmare?

I did not like it when I first heard it.

Did. Not. Like it.

Before I get into why, let me offer another similarity between Insinnerator and the aforementioned bands: I now love 'em all. More on that later.

When I went back to my thrash roots last year, I had a lot of catching up to do. I poured over web pages dedicated to thrash metal, including band Facebook pages and forums such as Thrash Unlimited. Many band names seemed to reappear on blogs, reviews, and comments - the higher profile ones being Warbringer, Municipal Waste,Bold Toxic Holocaust, Lich King, Violator, etc.

When I dug deeper, hundreds of other band names floated around, in and out of the social media pages, and sometimes found their way into my iTunes. Most, however, were passed by. There's just not enough time!

One such name that continued to pop up was Insinnerator.

Like a ton of other bands I would like to check out (but do not have the time to sort through and absorb the music), Insinnerator simply fell through the cracks.

But they didn't disappear. As a testament to their loyal fans, I kept reading posts about these Texas thrashers. People seemed to freaking love them and had no problem using bandwidth to express that sentiment.

So, I did what any quasi-responsible blogger would do when faced with such evidence of pure bad-assery…I found a song online and clicked "play".

Now, let me take a quick break here and go back to those "aforementioned bands" and what initially turned me away from their music. It provides a bit of context, and let's face it - everyone has a few bands in their collection that they didn't like at first spin.

Faith No More-Angel Dust
Like many people, I was still riding The Real Thing wave when Angel Dust came out. I was a teen who liked the song Epic, but absolutely loved the album surrounding that radio classic opus.

Angel Dust came out of left field with a sound that was a 180-degree turn from the somewhat easy listening The Real Thing. At first listen, all the songs seemed to blend into one another. There was an underlying itch of chaos that served as a backlash to the previous album's popularity, and listening to it made me uncomfortable and a bit confused.

After repeated listenings, I eventually embraced the sadness, the filth, and the beauty that makes up Angel Dust. It reigns as one of my top 10 favorite non-thrash albums.

Ministry-The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste
My friend purchased this based off a friend's recommendation. We put it on and couldn't make heads or tails of this "industrial" music. Granted, it was really our first time hearing such stuff, so our disdain for the album came from a lack of understanding. After all, it was heavy as hell, had killer riffs, and sick-ass vocals. What's not to love? Well, the music was produced in a way that was foreign to me. So I hated it…until...

I saw concert footage from the In Case You Didn't Feel Like Showing Up video. The experience was raw, scary, and completely kick-ass. It was everything I enjoyed in my metal, so my level of understanding caught up, and Ministry became a favorite of mine.

Vio-Lence-Eternal Nightmare
I mentioned my journey with these guys before, so I won't go into much detail here. What I can say is that my problems with Vio-Lence sort of mirror the obstacles I had when first listening to Insinnerator.

So, back to my story. I found a song online and clicked "play". I could not get past the vocals. At the time, I couldn't get what the band were trying to do, and the way vocalist Ben worked the microphone was not my cup of tea.

I'd like to give a 20/20 visual of what I was thinking, but what happened was I simply stopped the song and Insinnerator was stuck onto the back burner of bands that didn't click with me. Since I generally do not write about what I do not enjoy, there was no reason to revisit them, right?

HA HA. Right.

Fast-forward a few months later. I get an email from Tom of Lich King (I'm such a name dropper) who asked if I've checked out Insinnerator, and that they are a great example of new thrash.

My mouth twisted as if I've just been asked to watch a marathon showing of Schumacher's Batman movies.

I told him that I heard some rough demos and had been waiting for some good recordings. Since they had a new album out, I then told Tom that I would give Insinnerator a listen that weekend.

That weekend I found a couple songs on YouTube, loaded them up and clicked "play".

After I listened, I wrote Tom an honest email. Here are some excerpts:

My God, I'm sorry, Tom, but Insinnerator really, really, really, really needs to find a vocalist. Their music is freaking good, but as a package, it is tough to get past the vocal delivery.

...HOWEVER! I have not seen them live and have read that they are a different beast in person. I still can't imagine the vocals working, even in a live setting.

One thing I dig about these guys (I follow them around the web here 'n' there) is that they seem to freaking LOVE playing music. They have a lot of heart and they pour it into what they do, but I wonder if that love has blinded them a bit.

I asked Tom if I was being a dick about it. He graciously said no, but gave a good defense in Insinnerator's favor, which simmered in my head for a few days. During those few days, I couldn't get Insinnerator out of my head. I would stream their available songs, catching bits and pieces that grabbed me, making my appreciation for not only the music, but also the vocals, to grow tenfold.

By the fourth day, I HAD to have Insinnerator's Stalagmite of Ice album. I couldn't just buy the download. No, I wanted the physical CD. In four freaking days, I went from cold to hot for this band and I couldn't wait to have their CD in my possession.

That speaks volumes about their music. Insinnerator truly does kick ass, vocals and all. It just took me a few listens and some understanding of their music to grasp it. Most good music takes a few spins to "get it" anyway.

The CD is in my car as I type this, making my trip to work more enjoyable. The album is copied in my iTunes at work, making the day go a bit faster.

Thanks, Tom for mentioning Insinnerator and getting me on track to becoming a big, fat fan. Also, a special thanks must go to Lister Fiend over at the Skull Fracturing Metal Blog, who has never been shy about his admiration for Insinnerator's music. We don't see eye-to-eye on everything (Testament RULES, Lister!), but I value his opinion a lot.

As I mentioned before, all of us have a few bands we now enjoy that we couldn't stand the first time we heard them. Sometimes it's hard to keep that in mind when faced with a band that is doing something different from what you or I consider "the norm".

Now that I'm finally done with this giant post, I'm gonna go thrash to some Warbringer! Well, after all, I was listening to Insinnerator all day at work! I need a break from them for about an hour.


  1. Dude, I freaking love you.

  2. Hey man! This is Christopher from Insinnerator! I can speak for all of us in Insinnerator when I say, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for not giving up on us. I know how easy that can be. Like so many others, I have done that, but I can learn from this. Thank you so much for the kind words, dude! We will always have your back. Keep doing what you're doing, and keep thrashing!

    And Tom, thank you for not only being our biggest critic, but one of our biggest fans and friends. We owe a lot to you, thank you so much, dude.

  3. I just finished listening to the album for a second time. And IMO I really like the vocals. It does fit in the riffs for some reason. Ok... There are better singers, but just like you said: Insinnerator truly does kicks ass!

  4. Insinnerator are my son's band. Thanks a lot and I love my little pumpkin so much.

  5. Ehhh I'll try listening again in a week or so... but based off the tracks I tried out [Sabretooth and Children of the Cult] I hear average riffs and the vocals REALLLLY bug me. Maybe it'll grow on me, who knows... but what I first notice is A. a lack of real intensity and aggression and B. that the vocal rhythm is off. Not sure if it's intentional or due to a lack of rhythm on the vocalist's part, but the vocals seem to grind against the music in a way I don't like. I know I can't judge a band's quality based off two tracks, but first impressions tend to last for me. I'll try'em again some time though, maybe second listen will change my opinion. Who knows.


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