Sunday, March 20, 2011
So this post has been a long time coming. This is one of the few bands whose albums I've been unable to track down physical copies of. It actually even took me a few years to find Mp3s. As usual, I feel compelled to give a Path To Misery bump to yet another under-appreciated metalcore band from the early 2000s.
I actually don't know much biographical information about Compromise other than the regrettable facts that the hardcore world came to know on June 16th, 2002.
"Two members of Edmonton-based hardcore band Compromise were tragically killed this past Thursday in a horrific automobile accident on Interstate 20 near Heflin, Alabama. Jordan Wodehouse, 19, and Daniel Langlois, 20, were killed, and two other bandmates badly injured after a Pathfinder rear-ended the band's 1985 Ford van at 2 a.m. on June 13th. Singer Jesse Zaraska, 23, bass player Braden Sustrik, 19, and Ryan Kittlitz, 20, all sustained injuries in the crash. The band was on tour at the time, amidst a few shows with 7 Angels 7 Plagues. There is talk of a benefit show being arranged to help offset funeral costs. Sad stuff."
This was around the same time that I was beginning to go out on my own tours and I was roughly the same age as these guys at the time. Something about this struck very close to home for me. Still to this day I can't put my finger on why exactly I empathized with the situation so much; especially considering I didn't even know the guys in the band ... let alone the band itself. To see someone cut down in the prime of their life due to someone else's irresponsible actions just never settled well with me.
It would only be a month later that one of the surviving members of Compromise would join 7 Angels 7 Plagues as their replacement vocalist. Jesse Zaraska only ended up playing a handful of shows with the group before they turned into Misery Signals and produced one of the most amazing metalcore albums of all time in the form of Of Malice And The Magnum Heart. The undeniably best track on the album was titled The Year Summer Ended In June and was written about the tragic events that brought about the end of Compromise.
The band filmed a video for it which featured a lot of old footage of Compromise as well a dedication to the fallen members of the band at the beginning of the video. Also, Jesse rocks the shit out of an OG Too Pure To Die shirt.
The band vowed to never play the song again after Jesse left the band in early 2006. For some reason, however, I've seen some videos popping up of the band playing the song with the replacement vocalist in 2009. Needless to say, the performances shown in the videos pale in comparison to the intensity and emotion put into the song by original Misery Signals (and Compromise) vocalist, Jesse Zaraska.
While I've regretfully never had the opportunity to meet the other members of Compromise, I will say that when I had the pleasure of being on a tour with Misery Signals in 2005 where Jesse fulfilled every expectation I had of him judging from the emotion and sincerity that can be found on his recorded works. In fact, every member of Misery Signals at the time were quite genuine over the years of running into them. I would cross paths with them probably once a year on average and never expected them to remember who I was and, in turn, would never initiate conversation. They would always make a point to track me down and say hi to me ... which is probably something you wouldn't be able to get out of a touring band these days unless you were some sort of top shelf scene whore. But yeah, this post is about Compromise ... I digress.
The music is very similar to what 7 Angels 7 Plagues and Misery Signals were going for. If anything, Compromise leaned moreso on the "screamo" side of the fence than either of their counterparts with plenty of instances where the band casually drifts into entirely acoustic pieces. While the albums feature an abundance of Jesse's signature vocal stylings that range anywhere from sternly spoken words to painstaking screams layered in the background, there are these random bursts of vocals that resemble Rick Ta Life's vocals in a very, very strange way. In any case, they work because of the person who is delivering them.
Every time I listen to these albums, I'm left wondering what Compromise could have become if it weren't for the accident. Every song the band ever put to tape is worthy of being performed first or last in a live set. The music is seriously ahead of its time and despite not even having a lyric sheet or live performance in my memory bank to accompany these recordings ... the sincerity and emotion shine through without the slightest doubt.