Band Photo: Downset (?)
Last Known Status: Active
Founded in Los Angeles in the late 80's as part of the thriving hardcore scene, downset. has evolved into an icon of sorts. As one of the original blenders of rap, funk, hardcore, punk, metal, and socially aware lyrics, they drew influences from Black Flag to Black Sabbath, Public Enemy to Bob Marley.
Becoming a huge draw, the industry took notice and they caught the attention of Mercury/PolyGram Records and released their self titled debut in 1994. Vocalist Rey Oropeza, guitarist Brian Schwager, bassist Rico Villasenor, and drummer Chris Lee perfected their unique, in your face assault of rap/rock fusion, as their pounding street anthems, along with artists like Rage Against The Machine and KoRn, helped to pave the way for the hip-hop/metal explosion of the late 90's.
In 1996 the band delivered "Do We Speak A Dead Language?" and won praise for being "LA's best kept secret" (LA Weekly, February 28, 1997) and Guitar School raved that the band "delivers a pile-driving mountain of Sabbathian riffs, and harsh militant vocals, taking rap metal to its meanest, heaviest and mangiest heights to date" (April 97). The band tore up the festival circuit including Reading and Roskilde , and toured over 25 countries of the world with all their contemporaries, including Pantera, Deftones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slayer, as well as a well-deserved spot on the inaugural run of Ozzfest.
As efforts for their third album became frustrating due to contractual entanglements from its label’s merger with Universal, the band underwent internal changes and in Oct 2000 the band returned with a new label (Epitaph) and new album “Check Your People”.
Tearing up the main stage on the “Tattoo the Earth” Tour alongside Slipknot, Hatebreed, Slayer, Mudvayne, and Sevendust, and the Massive Distortion stage at P3, as well as jaunts with Soulfly, Fishbone, and Metallica helped reconfirm the bands place among the metal elite, and increased their rabid, ever-growing fan base. Sandy Masuo of the LA Times lauded their ability to go "from vehement punk rants to spoken word lulls" and "combine the blustery and balmy elements for a more dynamic attack"