Musicians and labels alike are realizing that the old formula of recording, promoting, and releasing music is no longer sufficient. From the decline of CD sales to the death of radio the music industry has been struggling to define itself for over a decade now. The big-wigs are trying to hold on to an archaic model while more and more bands are realizing that it may be in their best interest to record and release their music themselves. This way they are not caught up in multi-album deals that pressure them into a creative tail-spin, nor are they financially indebted to a label that sinks hundreds of thousands of dollars into promotion. Emerging out of all of this change are multiple options for the independent musician, one of which is the music collective.
The Innervenus Music Collective is one such model. Formed in 2001 they offer everything that a label can offer, such as distributing records, booking shows, and creating merchandise. The benefit over a label, though, is the low cost due to the DIY approach. Innervenus uses some outside resources for certain aspects of manufacturing, but most of the support given to their artists comes from Innervenus themselves. In other words, if Innervenus can do it, Innervenus will do it.
Perhaps the most notable aspect to Innervenus is that while they do have a board of directors seeing to the business end of things: art direction, distribution, public relations, etc, the bands are just as involved in the success of the collective. In fact, a few of Innervenus’ bands share multiple members, testifying to the support everyone provides. When asked if this approach tended towards a lack of focus on a particular project, music and art director,Scott Massie, replied, “our connections are more with people than with bands, so it doesn’t matter if they’re in multiple bands. We like it actually. It keeps us closer.”
Innervenus is releasing two projects February 12th with a release show scheduled for Saturday, February 16th: Grisly Amputation’s Cannibalistic Tendencies and Lycosa’s self-titled EP. Cannibalistic Tendencies merges the grind metal aesthetic with old school slasher film imagery. The opening track is a gruesome auditory presentation of a murder victim begging that someone get his assailant off of him. As you may guess, the killer wins the day. It’s not all gore and horror, though. Grisly Amputation has some chops and their syncopation is superb.
Lycosa describes themselves as “new school meets old school mayhem.” The description is apt. The grindcore vocals are almost melodic, pulling the listener in to witness the song’s narrative that at first seems buried under an ocean of energy. With post-punk production and guitar riffs inspired by metal pioneers such as a Megadeth, Lycosa presents something new and interesting yet still recognizable.
Steel Town metal heads should be proud of Pittsburgh’s metal heritage and would be wise to check out Innervenus’ projects. With over a decade in the game, Innervenus is now raising the next generation of metal artists. Supporting them means changing the industry and being a part of the collective.