1993: Frodus records cassette to document their setlist due to a fire alarm going off moments before they launch into the first chord at their debut concert. A musical extravaganza which was discreetly planned and executed under the noses of school administration and advertised heavily throughout the DC area. Around 500 people were in attendance and for one night in the high school gym of Springfield, Virginia was witnessed the beginning of a new scene that wasn't hardcore or specifically anything other than bizarre and kinetic. The spirit was DIY but the sound was the explosion of technology/societal frustration channeled through stringed instruments, drums and screams.
1999: After touring relentlessly and laying foundation for inspiring some of the "emo" bands that are heard on the radio today, Frodus falls prey to the Y2k bug and crashes in December after receiving orders from "The Conglomerate" itself. "End operations and fade into the collective unconsciousness"... *radio static*
2000: Frodus Shadow Ops™ leak tracks off final album via Napster file-sharing service while album is in label limbo to satiate supporters and virally spread selected tracks from final work to new and old listeners alike. Archive website is launched and Frodus fades into the data-streams.
Who is Frodus? Who was Frodus?
A concept. A meme. A secret-society. A punk band. A group of individuals striving to create something new and expressing disdain for the world as it was heading into a fast information obsessed corporate carcrash in the 90s. Questioning the fabric of society, the meaning of life and ultimately recording a musical therapy session as their final album "And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea" with no shows, no big bang, no haircuts, no posturing. Just music.
You. Us. You are Frodus. We are Frodus™. We are everyone. We are no one. Where we have failed, YOU™ WILL SUCCEED. You vs You or You vs. Them? Success in Paranoia. 9991, 1-9-9-9, 4888. Babel. CMD. FCAI in 2038.
Frodus Communique uplink to FBR HQ circa Nov. 2000:
(transmission begins) The door stands ajar as the ghosts pass through the walls of the now empty facilities of what was known as the Frodus Conglomerate International. Within these wayward mists, sounds resonate throughout and images flash by. The thoughts: Frodus, a three-piece musical outfit from Washington, DC. Labeled once as the purveyors of "spazzcore" and the warriors of "mech-core". Countless shows, countless releases, and constant reinvention.
The populous that was and will be ask if the entity of Frodus shall resurface... musically, Frodus resurfaces constantly with the ebb and flow of solar flares and the recycling of all culture through generations. As a live experience, Frodus resurfaces as past-memories and future-probability/im-probability.
The machines never died...(transmission ends)
Frodus @ Wikipedia.org
Synopsis of Conglomerate International (from allmusic.com):
Conglomerate International, Frodus' ode to corporate America, is about as subtle as a shotgun blast. That said, it is one impressive blast that rarely backs down and includes some stunning hard-hitting tracks. Opening and occasionally segueing into incidental noise interludes that mock the power of global corporations and showcase the group's ability to play quietly when absolutely necessary, the real meat of the record sounds more like a mixture between Helmet and an angry mental patient. Singer and guitarist Shelby Cinca is the most obvious force behind the sound, and his incessant screams are equally dynamic and destructive. The Frodus rhythm section carries its weight as well, laying down heavy, heavy grooves for Cinca's noisy guitar antics to fumble on top of. From start to finish, the tracks are fairly similar, but, on a whole, the idea is powerful and flawlessly executed. The high point of the record actually comes in the form of a cover of Devo's "Explosions," which, when given the Frodus treatment, becomes a full-on rocker complete with off-time stops and call and response vocals. While Conglomerate International isn't exactly the group's most innovative record, it still stands as an unapologetic slab of hardcore spazzed-out punk rock, and, given what their next record would hold, it also is a clear stepping stone in the musical evolution of the group and their wild politics.
Synopsis of And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea (from allmusic.com):
In a sadly ironic twist, Frodus' final record is also easily their most stunning accomplishment. The Washington D.C.-based trio, whose early chaotic recordings spawned the term "spazzcore," have upped the musical and topical ante for their final album, and the result is a complex record that takes major steps forward and still never lets up on the frantic energy that helped make a name for them. "Red Bull of Juarez" and "The Awesome Machine" find the band still leading the way with jerky instrumentation and vocalist Shelby Cinca's explosive screams, but And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea takes off in a number of other directions as well, and while unexpected, the ideas prove to be well backed up. Tracks like "The Earth Isn't Humming" and the deeply personal "6/99" (a reference to the passing of two individuals very close to the band) feature amazingly clear vocals and subdued but still evocative music. Instrumentals like the slowly creeping "Belgian Congo" or the experimental programming piece "Hull Crush Depth" prove that the can pull off a number of styles in an equally convincing manner. Powerfully affecting and surprisingly groundbreaking for such a pigeonholed act, And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea is a perfect example of solid record that is unaffected by the constraints of any ridiculously implied genres. From the onset, Frodus attack their listeners, and, when all is said and done, there's no arguing that their final march to the sea is a true moment of triumph.