Formed in the early '90s in Korn's home town of Stockton, CA, Spike 1000 had to be patient while watching their "new metal" neighbors pile-up the platinum records and every other mega rock star accoutrements. Leading the group's modern hard rock (if not quite new metal) charge is vocalist Shannon Harris, a powerful singer. Harris has a muscular contralto that might fool casual fans into thinking they're listening to a male vocalist. Assisting Harris in her aggressive pursuit of metal excellence are musicians Bill Thompson (guitars), Mfat (bass), and Jeff Jones on drums. After four years together in Stockton, Spike 1000 headed north for the Bay Area where they lived in an Oakland rehearsal studio while pursuing the dream of taking their hard edged metallic music to as many listeners as possible. Five years after starting their assault on San Francisco music scene, recording demos and selling their own five-song CD at their ever more popular shows, Spike 1000 finally managed to attract the attention and eventually sign with a major label. In 2001, Columbia Records released the group's debut, Waste of Skin, a full ten years after Spike 1000's inception. It would make sense to expect that a band that had been around that long might have a leg up musically on other debut artists, and that assumption would be correct. Waste of Skin is a fully developed metal stomp that reeks with the odor of cigarette smoke, sweat, and stale beer that has stuck itself on the instruments and into the pores of each Spike 1000 member. Harris gives one tough performance after another, and the singer's lyrics aren't cheap or inflammatory just for the sake of controversy, but direct and unforgiving. Just as her bandmates approach their staccato riffs and grinding rhythmic shifts and turns, Harris backs down from nothing and no one without cheapening herself or going into a self-parody of posturing. While the qualitative musical disparity between Stockton's two favorite metal bands is minimal, Spike 1000 has taken a much longer, harder road to major-label acceptance. Whether the group can capture anything like Korn's massive audience still remains to be seen.
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