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Into Another’s music was not easily categorized. At once hard rock, grunge, alternative, and post-punk, the band’s arresting melodies collided with their stop-and-go rhythms. They added to that a guitar wizardry steeped more deeply in classic heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden than the New York City hardcore scene that nurtured half of the band’s membership early on, and an esoteric, far-reaching lyrical scope delivered skillfully by Richie Birkenhead’s silky banshee wail.
Through several indie albums and one major-label offering, fans and critics got to know Into Another as an intriguing, soulful quartet capable of transporting listeners with their adventurous soundscapes and other-worldly approach to guitar-based rock & roll.
Into Another came together in 1990. Birkenhead, one-time guitar player for seminal straightedge flag bearers Youth of Today and vocalist for the reggae-tinged Bad Brains-inspired Underdog (who released an incredible album through Caroline), hooked up with drummer Drew Thomas, who he had known for years through the New York City scene. Thomas – himself a hardcore alumni who spent time bashing the drums for Revelation Records recording artists Bold – shared Birkenhead’s desire to abandon the limiting conventions of the hardcore music style and explore other types of songwriting. The pair found exactly what they were looking for in Lower East Side musician Peter Moses, a longhaired guitar player who had never performed in a band before. His wild and uninhibited playing style greatly impressed Thomas and Birkenhead, who next recruited bassist Tony Bono. Bono had done a tour of duty in proto-thrash act Whiplash – a band about as unlike Bold as one could imagine.
Into Another performed their first show at New York’s Pyramid, sharing the stage with a budding White Zombie. They were soon after offered a recording contract by Revelation. The following year, they released their debut, a self-titled album displaying Into Another’s sharp musical chops and tripped-out spiritual vision, encapsulated by the band’s multi-pointed star logo which adorned the album’s cover artwork. In 1992, Into Another released the playfully titled Creepy Eepy EP – four songs that reflected their increasing range. One of them was a lamenting ballad for a fallen friend laced with beautiful acoustic playing and heart wrenchingly honest and poetic lyrical prose.
The band grew in popularity, with the press, fans and major labels taking an interest in this odd band comprised of a shorthaired hardcore singer with a high-pitched range, a mod-looking drummer, and two longhaired guys in bell-bottom pants. 1994 saw the release of what many consider to be their masterstroke – the epic Ignaurus opus, filled to the brim with spectacular songs that venture into deep, dark, and progressive rock territory while still being firmly anchored in melody, groove, and abrasive angst. This album catapulted Into Another into the ranks of much-heralded “buzz” bands. Many proclaimed them to be the proverbial “next big thing” to arise out of the hardcore scene alongside one-time labelmates Orange 9mm, Quicksand, and Civ – all of whom went on to sign with major labels.
Into Another left the indie world in 1995, signing a deal with Disney-owned Hollywood Records, who at that time was best known for releasing the Crow soundtrack. They gave Revelation one last EP, a benefit release for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, as the band was made up of three vegans and one vegetarian. Into Another entered Seattle’s London Bridge Studios with producer Rick Parashar, a man who had previously worked with Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, to mix their next full-length album. They emerged with Seemless, an album that reigned in the excesses of previous works in favor of shorter compositions and more direct, straightforward lyrics, without sacrificing Into Another’s unique and well-established musical identity. They supported the album’s release with several dates on the Warped Tour alongside L7, labelmates Seaweed, New York hardcore veterans Sick of It All and, more yet, the public never quite warmed up to the band. They released one more record through Hollywood, the T.A.I.L. single (featuring incredible non-album B-sides).
Sometime after they recorded another album’s worth of material – weird, trippy songs steeped in electronica and drenched in effects that strayed far away from the band’s barn-storming guitar rock. But the recording was never released and the band broke up. Thomas went on to enjoy a short stint with New Rising Sons while Birkenhead reformed Underdog and embarked upon a reunion tour. – Ryan J. Downey
The Old Firm Casuals are an American street punk/Oi! band from San Francisco, California.
Famed NYHC drummer Will Shepler (formerly of Agnostic Front, Madball) and Sick Of It All bassist Craig Setari (also formerly Agnostic Front) had an idea for a hardcore power trio. Will called longtime friend, guitarist/vocalist Scott Roberts (formerly of Biohazard, The Spudmonsters, Bloodclot!, Cro-Mags) who had just left Biohazard only weeks before. It was perfect timing for Scott as he wanted to move on and create something new from the ground up with complete creative freedom and passion. Soon after, Scott and Will began working on what would become The Take’s self titled debut record. Craig was busy with Sick Of It All’s hectic touring schedule so Scott recruited friend and oi veteran Carlos Congote (formerly of 45 Adapters, Urban Noise, Legion 76) to complete the lineup.