User (1996-present): a Hard Rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
llan C. Stewart, a vocalist and songwriter in Vancouver Canada, conceived of his basic idea not to stay with one musical style in 1996 when he formed his one-man-band User. His music was like Rob Zombie, Ministry, Marilyn Manson and Black Sabbath (with Ozzy Osbourne as vocalist) colliding. His albums featured deep, bass driven musical scores peppered with dark and tortured lyrics. The tracks were slow and fast, ranging almost the entire spectrum of the darker side of rock music since the late 1960s.
By 2002 User expanded his band membership with Steve Nobody (ex-Witches Hammer; bass), a member of "The AML Die Hard Metal Cult" (?!?) who took pride in his ability to eat 12 McDonald's cheese burgers in one sitting. Mr. Al (ex-Stone Gate/ex-MOEV/ex-Bacteria; vocals/guitar/bass/keyboards/computer), himself, as well as Matt Van Slyke (a.k.a. Fat Slyce; ex-Oak, also a member of the Royal Canadian Artillery Band 15th Field; drums) who's claim to fame was downing a Foster's in 8 seconds flat, joined in.
Back in 1996 User began operation with the eclectic Hardcore meets Sabbath-esq Goth Semi-Mental Journey and the spun off video Cyclops the following year. The video received international spotlight with rotation on Canada's Much Music, the Pulse in the UK and Comcast networks USA.
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By 1999 another release was out titled The Last Days Of Beauty, an album of "battered love songs draped in vengeance" in his style of punk rock meets modern Hardcore. Mixed by Vince Jones (Dave Gahan, P.O.D., John Bottomley, and Cowboy Junkies) and with such memorable tracks such as Slave, Wilted, Heart Attack and Invisible Dream, The Last Days Of Beauty showcased User as a confident and ambitious songwriter.
Bait (2000) followed and featured Ambient Dark techno mixed with what User called "Trip Hop". Now on his own as a soloist, User's Bait would become a collection of questions and answers on paying your dues and struggling to create music outside the mass media factory.
A disc great when at the bitter end of the day dreamless sleep seems like the only answer. Pissed Of would be the defining cut while the instrumental Devil Eyes and physical dark wave of Grabber kept this album in the mousetrap. Described as "Part two of a society split down the middle", the follow-up, Pagans & Anarchists (2001), featured hard rock with tribal beats put to a fantasy lyrical backdrop. Recorded at Vancouver's historic Mushroom Studio (the recording temple of such greats as Heart, Bryan Adams and B.T.O.), the Ghosts of yesterday were raised for that west coast rock sound for the album. Once again Vince Jones assisted the creation while the chaotic and unique techno songs on the disc were fashioned at User's own User Media Studios. Later that year, however, he did a 360 with the much quieter Quietly She Sips Her Blood (2001), a collection of acoustic numbers recorded in closets, bedrooms, bathrooms and studios spanning some six years but never released until that point.
In 2002 his next release, Hegemonic arrived following along the lines of his earlier releases. Recorded during the winter of 2002, Hegemonic would be another album in the growing collection of modern music by User. Combining the offerings of Matt Van Slyke (drums), Steve Nobody (bass), and Al User himself, the sound was headed for turmoil. Hegemonic knelt into the hard rock and stumbled in the cold chains to rock hard. A video for the album taken from the brooding rocker Underneath was directed by User himself and filmed on location in Vancouver, B.C. was released soon after.
User has yet to make it big on the musical scene other than becoming a top player at the on-line music video network MP3TV, and over several specialty satellite and cable programs. Nonetheless his unique style continues to push the mainstream aside in t he true spirit of his genre.
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