Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Today Is The Day - Today Is The Day

Year: 1996
Label: Amphetamine Reptile

Ah, Today Is The Day, such sweet memories. This was their last record as the odd man out on AmRep before our little baby done grown up and moved on to Relapse Records, away from the underground connoisseurs, and into the arms of metal heads everywhere. Sometime before this was released I saw them on the Clusterfuck tour in Atlanta (with Guzzard and Chokebore...was it Chokebore, or did Janitor Joe actually play that show?) and they were as powerful as I was anticipating, but what I wasn't expecting was the menacing posture they took, the oppressive volume at which they operated, and the near constant rope of saliva connecting Steve Austin to his microphone (it was gross). They were unbelievable, seriously unbelievable (is that an oxymoron?). 
I've always thought this record's influence stretched far and wide into the world of hardcore and changed the way that genre evolved. Of course, they got no credit for it, but without this record, do you think Converge would sound anything like they do (shit, Steve Austin ended up producing for them after this album came out)? Do you think Deadguy would have even existed? Naw, they wouldn't. Today Is The Day utilized sonics and song structures that other bands couldn't control, and eventually that aesthetic wormed it's way into the late 90's hardcore scene and morphed into metalcore, back when metalcore meant Botch and Coalesce and shit. 
If you've somehow never heard Today Is The Day, this is a great record to start with as it will expose you to the band's "sound", but spare you some of their current philosophical musings. It's no easy listen, it demands your commitment, but the payoff is immense. I once worked in a kitchen with a dude from Nashville who had shared a practice space with Today Is The Day, and he told me that you would know they were inside practicing (and they always were) because when you got out of your car in the parking lot, it sounded like a jet airplane was taking off inside the practice space. I'll leave it at that.


scotg said...

FUCK YEAH! TITD is one of the best groups ever. i saw them in a small club in Connecticut back on the willpower tour and Steve was doing the same thing with the saliva! spit everywhere!

Anonymous said...

This album was fantastic but I'm not sure I buy your influential argument.

They were one of the first to get there but it seemed by the time anybody gave a shit around '95 or '96 an awful lot of dudes had already met up and said,"I like Unsane. You like Neurosis. Let's form a band!"

In hindsight, it was probably more often,"I liked Ministry and Helmet but now I like math rock so what happens now?"

To me, It seemed more like an accident or luck that a few of those those forgettable bands came out sounding anything like Today is the Day.

Even Deadguy probably would have gotten to the same place going, "What if we played Unsane but didn't have to sing and play leads at the same time? FUCK YEAH!"

I definitely don't think it did Today is the Day any favors.

Azbest said...


Gray said...

"So you're thinking, "Yeah, I guess they sounded a little like the Unsane, but not really." That's true, we found that the Unsane songs although cool and heavy weren't very hard to play, that's when we discovered a band from Tennessee called Today is the Day, (I had bought the cd a few weeks earlier) who we could rip off even more than the Unsane. The first TITD album, Supernova, is still one of my favorite records of all time. It's so heavy and evil and the music is so crazy that there wasn't even anything to compare it to. If you listen to "6 Dementia Satyr" and then "Black Dahlia" (in that order) and then listen to "Druid" from our "white meat" 7 inch you'll see the inspiration (basically we stole it, Cool, huh?)."

that would be the Deadguy biography i'm quoting from.

the most prevalent strain of hardcore stopped taking it's cues from the original 1st wave of bands about the time Absolution started adding in the start/stop dynamics of Helmet into their music, which then begat Quicksand, Burn, Crawlpappy, and so on and so on. from that point on, dudes (and i suppose the occasional lady) began searching the other underground landscapes for newer sounds to add into the hardcore mix, when one day someone discovered TITD down in tennessee cranking out music like no one else. TITD didn't sound like any band operating at that time. they certainly had influences and incorporated sounds from other bands, but what they warped those sounds into was something new.
Converge released (in my opinion anyway) the first "hardcore version" of TITD music in 1998 on the record Steve Austin produced for them When Forever Comes Crashing. listen to that record again, and tell me it isn't a full on ape job.
Notice also, that it was in 1996/97 that fanzines and "hardcore" record labels (like Hydrahead) started taking interest in TITD and releasing articles, 7"s, comp tracks and whatnot, effectively exposing the band to a new audience and releasing their influence onto dudes hungry to push hardcore into a more mutated "mathcore" or "metalcore" direction.

i think Today Is The Day plays a great role in the evolution of hardcore, whether they actually cared or not.

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