Corporate Avenger

Taking the controversial left-wing politics and aggro metal sound of Rage Against the Machine even farther, Corporate Avenger's blunt, confrontational lyrical critiques of American society were met with a predictable response in conservative quarters. Blending rap-metal and industrial metal with the sort of hardcore punk championed by Crass or Black Flag, Corporate Avenger grew out of Orange County's Humble Gods, where Spike Xavier played bass behind his brother Brad Daddy X. When the Humble Gods broke up, Daddy X moved on to front the rap-metal outfit Kottonmouth Kings, while Xavier adopted the alias the Corporate Avenger and formed a band of the same name. Xavier found a co-leader named the Wind, and the band began appearing in public with elaborately and symbolically painted faces. The lineup was eventually rounded out by stage dancer and self-styled "visual assassin" Palikela (aka the Taxman), who filled the same function for the Kottonmouth Kings, and DJ Hall of Records, plus an unofficial revolving cast of supporting musicians known as the ATF. Xavier had already begun recording sessions back in 1998, before the lineup took shape; the results of those sessions were released in spring 2000 as the six-song Taxes Are Stealing EP on Suburban Noize. A nine-song follow-up, The New Testament, was rush-recorded to be sold at that summer's tour with the Kottonmouth Kings, after which Corporate Avenger signed a larger-scale deal with Koch Records. Advance word of their first full-length album's lyrical content filtered out to conservative and religious watchdog groups, who raised an outcry over songs with titles like "The Bible Is Bullshit," "Drug Dealing God," "Jesus Christ Homosexual," and "Christians Murdered Indians." Several Southern retailers refused to stock the album, Freedom Is a State of Mind, upon its summer 2001 release; moreover, the group began receiving hate mail and death threats. ~ Steve Huey

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