Lethargy

Discography '93-'99

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It came from Rochester, NY: Lethargy's intimidating beast of an oeuvre -- collected in its entirety on 2000's Discography '93-'99 -- helped set new standards for heavy metal extremity and, alongside the more notorious Dillinger Escape Plan, helped create the essential blueprint adopted by dozens of so-called "math-metal" bands in the new millennium. Sure enough, their songs were excruciatingly intricate, absolutely unpredictable, and seemed utterly spastic to those not clued into their calculated constructions, often resembling scientific equations as much as artistic endeavors, and therefore not exactly qualifying as Top 40 radio material for the masses to consume. Instead, their very intractability -- once described as the Mahavishnu Orchestra from Hell -- pretty much consigned Lethargy to deep cult band status from day one. Discography '93-'99 leaves "day one" for later, opening with five meticulously convoluted creations recorded when rhythm guitarist Bill Kelliher and drummer extraordinaire Bränn Dailor were already halfway out the door to join Today Is the Day (and later, the mighty Mastodon), then plummets into the ten tracks comprising Lethargy's sole full studio album, the fascinatingly head-spinning It's Hard to Write with a Little Hand. Disc two kicks off with Lethargy's five-song 1993 demo, where their technical skills are already quite impressive and the occasional Cookie Monster growls and evil death metal melodies reveal their early influences. It subsequently moves through the upward-spiraling complexities of the following year's "Tainted" demo and culminates in the next year's fully fleshed-out "Red Tape" demo, where many songs that would make it onto their 1996 LP were given a test run. A final "unplugged" rendition of "Lost" puts the final touch on a career completely overlooked in its day, but thankfully preserved for posterity by this anthology. In a few decades' time, normal human beings may actually have caught up to Lethargy's forward-thinking music.

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