Section 8: Lost and Found

I’ve gotten three e-mails from strangers over the past couple of weeks inquiring about Section 8, a truly amazing metal-hardcore hybrid band that was unquestionably the best thing happening in the Albany heavy underground circa ’95 to ’97 or so. (There’s another band called Section 8 from elsewhere, a fairly standard neo-punk outfit. Not the same group).

One of the alltime best shows I ever saw was a Section 8/Clay People twin bill at the late, lamented QE2. The room was oversold and overpacked, both bands played way over their heads, and it was the closest I’ve ever come to knowing exactly what people mean that say “the room exploded.”

Section 8 issued two albums, Pain is Truth and Nine Ways to Say I Love You that have become local collectors items of sorts: definitely among the best heavy records issued in the market in the ’90s. I guess other people have been remembering them and wondering what happened to them, hence the inquiries I’ve been getting of late.

One of the e-mails commented favorably on the bio I’d written for them. “What bio?” I thought, and went fishing through my website. Sure enough . . . I had completely forgotten that they had asked me to write a one sheet for them, and I had completely forgotten that I had put it on my website way back when. But I had a good cackle when I read it . . . and having done so, I’m gonna have to dig out their albums and give ’em a listen.

Here’s the key text of the bio (minus the quotes and band lineup and the like) . . . it’s as over-the-top as Section 8 themselves were, and I think it does ’em justice.

“The processes of evolution, natural selection and survival of the fittest have just as much relevance in a musical community as they do in a rain forest or cave pond ecosystem.

Strong bands regularly pull down weak bands and eat them, plundering their best players and chops while letting the dead bands’ marginal organs rot under the unblinking gaze of blue and red stage lights in otherwise empty club spaces.

Bands with exploitable advantages in the breeding pit of audience favor live long enough to pass on their creative seed to the next generation, with their spawn then engaging in rote perpetuation of the parents’ style, hoping that they too will win a chance to hump an audiences’ collective leg some day.

And every so often, a stray musical neutron tweaks the odd creative chromosome and something unexpected pops out of some hithertofore unspectacular womb, with the monstrous progeny usually turning to eat its own helpless mother before chewing off its own legs in rage and lying in a pool of self-made filth until pop culture’s dung beetles come to bury it.

But sometimes those creative mutations survive and grow strong, returning in adulthood to wreak havoc on their musical ecosystems.

Clifton Park, New York’s Section 8 are one such musical mutation.

They have already begun leaving their demon seed in each of the fertile communities where they play, so you may as well get ready to offer your brain, your soul and your ass to these freaks of nature now, knowing that they’re stronger than you, knowing that they’re going to eat you if they don’t try to mate with you (and may do both anyway, just because they can), knowing that resisting the power of evolution is futile.

Charles Darwin would be proud of you for knowing your place in the cosmic scheme.”

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