Playing Enemy’s insane pedigree should be largely familiar to Decibel readers. But just in case you’re new here, please understand that a band featuring former members of metallic hardcore heroes Rorschach and Kiss it Goodbye as well as a dude that Decibel employed to write 4,000 words about nu metal is pretty goddamn awesome.
Philadelphia’s Escape Artist Records—who discovered ISIS, Keelhaul, KEN mode among others—had a good ear for the pretty goddamn awesome 20 years ago.
“Playing Enemy approached us in 2000, I believe, probably based on the records we’d been putting out and recommendations from the bands we were working with at the time,” recalls Escape Artist co-founder Adam Peterson. “I’m not even sure if we’d heard a note of their music. We were fully prepared to have our minds blown, but what Playing Enemy delivered exceeded all expectations.”
“Writing for Cesarean was a continuation of the collaboration between [guitarist/vocalist] Demian Johnston and myself that we started with Kiss It Goodbye’s  Choke EP,” says drummer Andrew Gormley. “I felt that Playing Enemy could veer off a bit more into an extreme/experimental direction, which worked well with Demian who already was into noisier stuff.”
“I was a massive fan of Demian, Thom [Rusnak] and Andrew’s previous bands, and when I heard Cesarean it was the exact kind of music, I wished I were playing,” says Shane Mehling.“Just a few months after the record was released, I was given the opportunity to play Thom’s incredible, daunting bass parts and then just a few months after that, with Ephemera, I was forced to try and create something that could stand up next to his work. I kind of biffed it and keep hoping no one notices.”
“With Ephemera, we got to introduce Shane, the missing piece of our lineup, and I got my first recording/engineering experience,” offers Gormley. “The format gave us a little more latitude to try stuff out and push the more experimental side of the band, with only [2004’s 7-inch single] ‘John Q. Russia’ as a full-band original.”
If you missed the angular bruising noise of 2001’s Cesarean and 2003’s Ephemera the first time around, Translation Loss has reissued both albums digitally and made them available starting today!
“Playing Enemy were always a band that elevated the state of music around them,” says Translation Loss co-founder Drew Juergens. “I remember getting a copy of the record from Gordon Conrad at Escape Artist—a label that was a huge influence on me—and being completely blown away, already being a big fan of Rorschach, Kiss it Goodbye, Undertow and Nineironspitfire. Cesarean hit me like a freight train, super angular riffs, killer drumming—you name it.
“I’m beyond honored to bring these two records into the digital world, and hopefully beyond at some point!”
Stream both reissues from Translation Loss below.