The story of I Against I is a classic Punk Rock tale. Born and raised in Smalltown Holland, Ronald van Maren and Jasper Blazer were bored senseless by the time they reached puberty. There were no gigs, no record stores, and they were too young (again) to go drinking in the local bar. With nothing else to do, classmates Ronald and Jasper met up every Friday after school to play along to their Iron Maiden records ( Hey, they were young, okay?). Ronald owned a beat up acoustic guitar, while Jasper thrashed away on a plastic bucket. They couldn’t play, nor did they have the ambition to, who cared, no one was listening anyway. That all changed when a friend brought them a Dead Kennedys tape. Blown away by Jello’s anger energy, they burned their Iron Maiden records and started collecting Punk Rock records of all sorts, from The Clash to Bad Religion, from No Means No to Down By Law, from Fugazi to the Descendents. Listening to all these great records came the notion that they could actually form a band; I against I was born. Through a mutual friend, Ronald and Jasper met up with bass player Bob, and after getting rid of the bucket and the acoustic guitar they started rehearsing. One and a half year later, they were the first band to be signed by Epitaph. So far, this is the story a lot of people are familiar with; I against I becomes the first European band to ink a deal with Epitaph and in the summer of ‘97 they release their first EP called “Top of the world”. They play tons of shows in Holland and Belgium (on their own, and with the likes of Bad Religion, Down By Law, Pennywise and Blink 182) and by the end of the year they fly over to the infamous Blasting Room studio, owned by ALL/Descendents members Bill Stevenson and Stephen Egerton to release their debut album “Headcleaner”. Again, this release is backed with more live shows, in Holland, Belgium, Germany and the USA, but it isn’t until spring 1999 that the boys go on their first real European tour, as support act for ALL. A few months after this tour, their inspired titled second album “I’m A F***ed Up Dancer But My Moods Are Swinging” was released. This piece of plastic sees the band crossing the boundaries of melodic Punk more than once. Looking for a different angle, the band experimented and came up with a sound no one had expected from them: samples, drumloops, screaming vocals and clean sounding guitars. Other boundaries were crossed spring 2000 when they undertook their second tour of Europe, this time in the company of Down By Law. The band is now a four piece (introducing Robin Baard on second guitar) and played shows in Holland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Italy, England and France. They lose a few pair of pants (don’t ask!) and of course some equipment, but they gain a lot of new fans with their energetic and hard rockin’ live show. It isn’t until June 2002 before another release sees the light of day. I against I’s contribution to the Split Competition Vol. 2 of Ammonia Records (distributed by V2 Italy) was intended as a demo only, but the label liked the five songs enough to officially release them and send the band on tour in Italy, Germany and Belgium. In a review, leading Dutch magazine “Aardschok” remarks I against I sure sound dirtier and angrier after leaving Epitaph. And now, there’s a new, self-titled record just waiting to be released. Recorded in their hometown and mixed once again by Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore this is a record from a band coming into their own. Finally, I against I blended all the separate aspects of their sound into a coherent set of songs. Of course there’s the strong focus on melody. Try getting ‘’Once again’‘, ‘’Serve and protect’’ or ‘’Calm down’’ out of your head! However, the occasional shifting into overdrive isn’t forgotten either with “Nowhere else but here” and “I could be wrong for instance.” The band ventures into new directions with the spine chilling “Gone” and “Defeated”, which starts off almost like an Irish folk song but bursts into an orgy of loud guitars, just when you were getting comfy! The intro to hard-rocking anthem “The first element” probably describes this record best: we started on the corner, and finished on the square. Backed by the amazing mixing job done by Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore, I against I truly “finishes on the square” with this record.
Edited by CountDruckula on 22 Oct 2011, 21:04
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