Formed in 1991 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, by Mike Ayres (guitar) and Aaron Martinek (bass, ex-Corrupted), Next Step Up experimented with numerous musicians before eventually settling on a line-up of Damon Stowell (drums, ex-Premonition), J.R. Glass (vocals) and Jon Sampson (bass). Sampson joined after Martinek had vacated his position immediately following sessions for their Fall From Grace album. Their gruff, intense combination of doom metal and hardcore had previously been documented on several compilations, an EP, Intent To Kill, and their debut album, Heavy. However, neither this nor the subsequent Fall From Grace offered anything of significant musical vitality, despite the production assistance of Drew Mazurek (Corrosion Of Conformity).
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