12 Songs, 49 Minutes


About Brother's Keeper

Few hardcore band have been as universally regarded in the scene for their sincere, positive, and upbeat personalities as the men of Erie, PA's Brother's Keeper. The band's reputation as nice guys is only surpassed by their renown for show-stopping, audience-inclusive performances; vocalist Mike Ski's unmistakable shriek; bass player Eric "EMS" Shauffele's charged stage presence; and guitarist Scott Emhoff's keen songwriting ability. The band's sound shares similarities with Snapcase, though it has transformed into a wail of Brother's Keeper's own unique design over the years, with sharp flashes of the biting social commentary and delivery of Rage Against the Machine and the melody-infused, up-tempo rock & roll of Linkin Park. Shadowcast, a self-financed single, marked the recorded debut of Erie's favorite sons in the mid-'90s, shortly before the release of the Ladder EP. The band's first album, The Continuum (released at the beginning of a long partnership with New Jersey's Trustkill label), was the only record to feature drummer Bob, who would later go on to become a part of Problem Solver Revolver. The record contained many songs that would soon become staples of Brother's Keepers live performances, causing sweaty sing-a-longs from coast-to-coast and even overseas. Brother's Keeper toured in support of the album with Albany, NY's similarly minded One King Down.

Brother's Keeper followed up the album with an EP called Self-Fulfilling Prophecy that was also released by Trustkill and featured the guitar talents of new recruit Chris Bazan, editor of Housebroken fanzine, and new drummer Zach Hudock. Their next big release came in the form of the Sweet Revenge single released through bassist EMS's very own Surprise Attack/SA Mob label. The songs from the single were later put to CD as part of a split with New Zealand's Coming of the New Messiah. Trustkill compiled a bunch of the band's single and compilation tracks as the Foreverneverending CD, which included their charged take on Bad Brains' classic "I Against I." The band also released a cover of Suicidal Tendencies' "Trip to the Brain" as part of a 7" single available exclusively with Louisville, KY, magazine I Stand Alone. The next release from the prolific band was a split with Disembodied called Oxymoron, pairing the Keeper's peppy, positive upbeat hardcore with Disembodied's more punishing and heavy approach. Each band provided two originals and one cover song, with Brother's Keeper offering a unique take on Danzig's "Twist of Cain." In 2000, the band took part in Syracuse, NY's Hellfest, covering a bunch of Misfits tunes (as they would on an EP shortly after), a performance that was eventually included in the Trustkill released Hellfest VHS/ DVD. Florida's The Undecided label released a 7" single that featured Brother's Keeper tackling a Slayer song -- namely, "Dead Skin Mask," alongside their old pals One King Down, who recorded a version of "Spill the Blood."

The early part of 2001 saw the release of Brother's Keeper's long-awaited, long-delayed sophomore full-length album. Produced by Brian McTernan, Fantasy Killer was the sound of the band sticking their noses to the ground and focusing their energy into concise, hook-laden songs. Ski's vocal range narrowed in to a lower pitch as his lyrical scope widened, with the band taking more than a few nods from Adbusters-magazine style politics that attack mass marketed consumerism and lame-brained apathy. Obey Giant creator Shepard Fairey provided cover artwork, while High Roller Studios helped to make a video for the song "I Shot JFK," which was included on the compact disc. Stretch Arm Strong vocalist Chris McLane provided guest vocals on the song "The Poison Plot." To support the album, the band hit the road once again, with Bazan and Hudock exiting the group and being replaced by Florida native Mike Peters and New Jersey resident Rick Cali, respectively. Brother's Keeper was a headlining act at Syracuse, NY's annual summertime Hellfest, which drew a couple-thousand kids. After signing a new publishing deal with a major company, Brother's Keeper spent the latter part of 2001 recording a new demo. Called Box Office Smash, the four-song demo brings to mind melodic rock acts such as Foo Fighters, with crystal-clear production courtesy of Michael "Elvis" Baskette, who has worked with Stone Temple Pilots, Static X, and Incubus, as well as alongside producers like GGGarth and Don Gilmore. ~ Ryan J. Downey