Friday, November 11, 2016

Defunct Local Band Profile Series: Integrated System Of Machines

After a slight delay (my apologies), here's this month's Defunct Local Band Profile! As usual, this is a monthly feature spotlighting one or two local metal, hard rock, or punk bands that are not active anymore, but deserve a spotlight for current audiences, and as usual, this month's band was randomly selected! This month's choice was a very prominent local metal band in both their first heyday and a recent major reunion, and had a solid fanbase too, so here's what you should know!
Integrated System of Machines

Genre: Epic/Death Metal

Hometown: Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Members: (Members not in their last full lineup are in italics. This information may be incomplete, particularly surrounding early lineups and full band member identities. Let us know if you can fill in any blanks!)

"Orb Hearthstone" Bob Helsten (The Creepy Little Coffee People), vocals
Art Dietz (The Creepy Little Coffee People), guitar
Jonathan Bennett, guitar
Chris Leask (Highway 63, Power Slug), bass
"Black Trab" Bart Rennels (Nightmare Grin), drums

Chris Sevens, guitar
"Sven Gilesten" Steve Giles (Theatre of Night), guitar
J. Rizzo, bass
"Grg Gilesten" Greg Giles (End of Existence), drums
Craig "Tubesock" Harrison (Theatre of Night), keyboard
Rachel Mender, backing vocals

Audio/Video: Integrated System of Machines (or I.S.O.M.) released two albums during their runs, including their debut CD "Apocalyptic Vision" in 2008, and a self-titled album to coincide with their one-off reunion in 2015. The former is available to stream online & buy on iTunes, and while the latter is not available at present time, half of it is comprised of "Apocalyptic Vision" re-recordings. A handful of live videos survive online, including this version of their self-titled song from a Stanton concert circa 2008 (sadly, a music video of this song has since been privatized), and most prominently, their whole set from last year's concert, featuring all but two songs from their last CD!

Info/Analysis: Originally active from circa 2006-2010, Integrated System of Machines were arguably the most prominent extreme metal band to come out of Sault Michigan in the past decade, with tour runs to Detroit and Wisconsin, many battle of the bands appearances, opening sets for bands like Soilwork, and a number of high profile local gigs at venues like The Corner Pub and The Merchant's Bar under their belts, though surviving online information on their original run is in short supply nowadays. Following sets at the Hogg Bash in Bangor in September 2009, I.S.O.M. fell inactive, with much of their then-lineup regrouping in the similar early 2010s band End of Existence and their theatrical sister band Theatre of Night, with the latter still recording today. After a lengthy hiatus, frontman Bob Helsten (the band's only constant member) revived I.S.O.M. for a one-off set in July 2015, where they opened for P.O.D. and Hoobastank at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino.

Integrated System of Machines were a welcome dose of extreme epic metal for fans in the E.U.P., and I roughly equated them as Sault Michigan's answer to Gates of Winter during their first run. The band had a catchy, viking-influenced blend of heavy originals, as buoyed nicely by Bob's aggressive growls and Craig's effective keyboard work (it's a shame he wasn't part of the 2015 reunion.) Though last year's reunion also saw the band drop harsh vocals, the improved production and polish helped them stand out on the big stage, and I know I.S.O.M. will pick up right where they left off if they ever come back to try and integrate us once again, but check out End of Existence for similar later work!
I hope you guys liked this month's Defunct Local Band Profile! Next month in this series, our random selection will take us back to Sault Ontario, where we'll be looking at two bands, as the first didn't have enough surviving information. As a result, we're planning to look at local black metal project Eden Plague (featuring Bear Hunters guitarist Mitch Sirie) and punk/classic rock trio Leaked (featuring The Din guitarist Tammy Hill), so look for them on or around December 10th! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates soon! Thanks everyone!

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