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Uniting the efforts of vocalist Louis Penque, Joe Cafarella (guitar, vocals), Rich Spalla (guitar), Russ Martin (bass), and drummer Jimi Penque — all of whom have previous band experience — Stemm delivers alternative metal with a combination of hip-hop and other non-mainstream styles. Formed in Buffalo in 1998, Stemm enjoyed success within the local music scene, even playing their first show with Sevendust. Featured on several compilation discs and on various independently released motion pictures, Stemm recorded their first disc, the EP Further Efforts, in 1999.
Following a period during which their reputation continued to grow, they entered the studio again to record their first album. Dead to Me arrived in 2001, receiving positive reviews. Stemm also wrote the theme song for the Ultimate Fighting Championship ("Face the Pain"), thus guaranteeing their hard-hitting sound would become an integral part of countless pay-per-view broadcasts and extreme sporting events (their music can also be heard in various video games). The group toured and self-promoted relentlessly around the country, and by 2004, their hard work had earned them an endorsement with Jagermeister (joining a family of bands already including 36 Crazy Fists, Chimaira, All That Remains, and Mushroomhead, among many others).
Eventually, the band — now comprised of vocalist TJ Frost, guitarists Cafarella and Spalla, bassist Steve Crowl, and drummer Dan Nelligan — settled down for another album. The resulting Songs for the Incurable Heart was issued in September 2006 via I Scream Records. Third album Blood Scent appeared in 2008 on the Catch 22 label, and one track, "House of Cards," was chosen to be the theme for a UFC television show, UFC Wired.