Monday, May 14, 2012

Snapcase - Progression Through Unlearning

Snapcase - Progression Through Unlearning
Released:  1997

Story by John Lowe, guitarist for Rock Bottom.

I've liked some terrible music over the years. Growing up, my father had a couple of cool Springstein and Billy Joel records, but they were vastly outnumbered by Garth Brooks and Miami Sound Machine CDs.  My mom and sister were into classical music.  I was never lucky enough to have that cool uncle or family friend to show me hardcore records growing up.

Like many kids without musical direction, I depended on the radio and MTV to show me my options.  My developmental years happened to fall during the musical black hole better known as the late nineties.  Nu-metal was king.  I would cruise around school in my Lee Pipes blasting Sevendust and Taproot records like it was the illest shit.  Eventually I got into a healthy amount of Epitaph type punk bands from skate videos, but the nu-metal bug stayed with me for longer than I'd like to admit (we still listen to Coal Chamber in the van fairly often).

I forget what the heavy music show was on MTV at the time, but I recall it being on Saturday nights.   I would try to hide from my parents and sneak a peak at whatever Jonathan Davis was up to and hear the hottest new jams.  There were a few cool bands I got into this way.  I specifically remember seeing the Deftones "My Own Summer" video and almost banging my head off my shoulders.  Of course for every Deftones there were ten bands like Cold or Godsmack.

Nothing was more exciting at the time than seeing the new video graphic pop up on the tv screen.  It gave me this feeling that maybe I'd see something totally different and new, or perhaps I'd find a new favorite band.  The latter was true when that graphic led into the Snapcase "Typcast Modulator" video. It was the coolest thing I thought I'd ever heard at the time. It hit all the nu-metal notes I wanted to hear, but without the fruity singing parts. I decided it was the coolest thing ever and needed to get their record.

I got my mom to take me to the mall the next day to snag a Snapcase record. I was so excited I couldn't remember what the song I heard was called or what record it was on. It ended up being a fortunate accident, because I ended up picking up Progression Through Unlearning from The Wall instead of the not-so-great Designs for Automation that I was really looking for.

I tried to put it on in the car on the way home, but after about 20 seconds my mom turned it off. Thats how I knew it was going to be good. When I got home I really started to investigate my new purchase. "Caboose" is one of the best opening songs on any record, and it floored me. I probably put "Zombie Prescription" on repeat like eight times in a row to hear that sweet nu-metal flanger riff. It took me a ton of spins to finally realize that the song I heard wasn't on the record, but at that point it didn't matter. I was hooked.

My favorite track on the record is probably the last song, "Breaking and Reaching". The opening buildup and riff are heavy as hell, while being just nu-metal enough to see what attracted me to the band in the first place. The verses and chorus have that ninety's hardcore groove, which is probably my favorite element of that era.

It would be nice to say that my tastes in music completely changed at that point, but there was still a long road of shitty bands ahead. Sure, Progression got me into some other Victory bands of that era like Hatebreed and Deadguy, but I still listened to more System of a Down than hardcore at that point. Eventually I bonded with some friends over bands like Snapcase and Converge in high school and started playing in metalcore bands. Now I'm twenty six, and I still play in a borderline metalcore band… and I still kind of like nu-metal. But if I never stumbled onto that video and bought the wrong cd, who knows how the future would have changed. Maybe I would be a lawyer or something.

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