Vocalist Tim "Trim Swinger" Singer's talking, screaming, bellowing vocal storytelling sat so nicely atop Kiss It Goodbye's dynamic and explosive songcraft that drummer Andrew Gormley would later remark to Eclipse magazine that the screamer could effectively make "me throwing my drums around the room" sound good. Equal parts off-time warping and heavy crunching guitar play, Kiss It Goodbye's music was pummeling enough to appeal to fans of Pantera, personal enough for the hardcore set, and mind-bendingly creative enough to jar loose the cynical "musician" types fond of bands like Voivod and Die Kreuzen.
The roots of Seattle, WA's Kiss It Goodbye can be traced back to dissolution of the classic lineup of the New Jersey band Deadguy. Hot on the heels of a defining full-length for Victory Records that heralded the dawning of the noisecore movement – a movement later embellished upon by bands like Dillinger Escape Plan and Botch – vocalist Tim Singer and guitarist/songwriter Keith Huckins decided to leave the incendiary outfit as Singer made plans to move to Seattle to pursue a career in graphic design. Huckins followed his friend to the Northwest and Deadguy replaced them both where in 1996, they hooked up with bassist Thom Rusnack (Ambush) and drummer Andrew Gormley (Die 116), both of whom Huckins had played with on the East Coast as part of the groundbreaking hardcore punk band Rorschach. The four friends quickly made a demo tape, garnering interest from hardcore and metal-oriented labels alike with Singer's storytelling lyrical wordplay, Gormley's creative drum talents, and Huckins' explosive, dissonant guitar playing. Revelation Records signed Kiss It Goodbye to a multi-album deal and soon they were in a Seattle studio with San Francisco-based producer Billy Anderson (Neurosis, the Melvins, Sick of It All) working on their debut full-length album. 1997's She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not had critics heads' spinning with its conceptual album cover art and further exploration of the musical themes laid down by Deadguy's previous incarnation.
Kiss It Goodbye distilled the efforts of the members' previous bands into their base elements, astounding audiences throughout the country on tour with their often improvisation-based interpretations of the album's songs. The record recalled the fury of Black Flag while simultaneously charting a new course for heavy music. Two tracks that were left off of She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not later surfaced as the Preacher/Target Practice 7" single, complete with a cover illustration by noted Seattle hardcore veteran Demian "Headboy" Johnston. Alternative Press magazine would note that "Kiss It Goodbye…create(s) a blanket of hate so terrifying, so all-encompassing, it makes extreme noise seem passive," awarding the band's work five stars. The quartet toured with Relapse recording artists Unsane in 1997 and were mismatched briefly on the road with the decidedly death metal Obituary. Shortly after that tour, Huckins decided that he was done touring and playing heavy music for the foreseeable future, parting amicably with the band (even teaching his songs to his replacement, the aforementioned Johnston, before going) and returning to his native East Coast. The group continued onward, writing and recording material for a 7" single intended to be released by semi-legendary Seattle-based indie Sub-Pop. Singer was next to leave the group, effectively ending Kiss It Goodbye in September of 1998. Revelation compiled the later material (Sub-Pop declined to release the songs due to the band disbanding) with the previous 7" single – and one other track – and released it as the Choke 7"/CD EP in 1999. Johnston and Gormley continued to write, record, and perform together as Playing Enemy, releasing an album through Escape Artist Records in 2001 with Rusnack joining up briefly on bass.
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