Pressure 4-5 expresses the optimistic, positive, mind-over-matter sides of life with rhythms that range from depressing and melodic heavy metal to upfront rap-metal conquering the negative via uplifting messages. Adam Rich (vocals) and Mark Berry (guitar) attended college together in Santa Barbara, CA, and in January 1998 put the word out for bandmates. College friend Lyle McKeany (bass) joined them. The group chose the moniker Pressure 4-5 because Joe Schmidt was taken on as the DJ for the first year. He really wanted to play guitar for the band, but at that time they only wanted one guitar player. Schmidt reluctantly became the DJ, but he was so irregular in showing up at practice and shows that they never knew if there would be four or five bandmembers performing. Hence the name. Once Schmidt switched to being the band's second guitar play, he was regular and the sound of the band was strengthened. His brother, Tom Schmidt, an exceptional drum player, also joined the band and in January 1999, they started touring and playing live shows. The band independently produced and released an original EP, Antechnology, in 1999.
DreamWorks released Pressure 4-5's official debut album, Burning the Process, in October 2001. Produced by Jay Baumgardner, who previously had nurtured bands such as Orgy, Slipknot, Papa Roach, and Coal Chamber, the album mixes heavy metal and rap-metal and contains two favorites: "Beat the World" and "Into Yesterday." The Pressure 4-5 aims at expressing the process of figuring out what life is all about and they chose the album name to reflect the concept of overcoming problems and moving on. Their lyrics touch on getting over grief and the sometimes irrationality of religion. Because all members of the band are both guitar players and songwriters, they create diversity in a thoughtful, nonconforming, and upbeat way.