Finally! My first exposure to this brutal yet criminally underrated early-90's metalcore band came from the "East Coast Assault" compilation a few years after it hit the streets. For a ballpark idea of Confusion's sound just think sick chugga rhythms and a sinister atmosphere that leans towards way more crunchy metal than hardcore, with pissed off vocals that really fit in perfectly with the feel of the music. I've been trying to get my hands on this extremely rare "Taste of Hate" 7" (which was released in 1992 on Hardway Records from France) for about seven years now. I radically intensified my search a couple of years ago, and after losing a few sparse auctions on eBay I finally lucked out and won a copy about two months ago for a reasonable price. Coincidentally, the seller just happened to be Inhuman vocalist Michael Scondotto, who I had been in contact with on and off several years ago. Like a true jackass, I didn't realize until looking at the 7" insert that Mike was also the bassist in Confusion! So of course I emailed him right away, and the result is this awesomely detailed account of Confusion's four-year existence. You can check out the tunes at the end of the post...
First and foremost, I want to say thank you to Andrew Aversion for giving a crap about a long dead Brooklyn band that had the nerve to mix NYHC and death metal long before many had even thought of it.
Confusion started in the summer of 1990 as the second wave of NYHC was coming to a violent end. Bands that had initially inspired Confusion (like Killing Time, Breakdown, Sheer Terror, Outburst, etc.) were either breaking up or changing their sounds, and the CBGB Sunday matinees were gone by the fall of 1990. It was also during this time that Brooklyn forged its own scene outside of NYC at places like L'amour and the infamous Crazy Country Club. The bands that made up the Brooklyn scene were Confusion, Patterns, Lament, Merauder, Life of Agony, Darkside NYC, Nobody's Perfect, Judgement Day NYC, and non-Brooklyn bands like Subzero, Dmize, and a bit later bands like Starkweather, Next Step Up, and All Out War.
I don't think by any means that Confusion invented "deathcore" or the idea to mix real hardcore with death metal. One could say that in NYC Sheer Terror may have done that as early as 1985 on their first demo. But by 1991, Confusion had become pretty obsessed with bands like Obituary, Morbid Angel, Malevolent Creation, Entombed, Death, and Deicide. So much so that NYHC was no longer a part of our sound, but only in our roots and attitude. We were a metal band completely by 1992, hardly even playing the songs on our 1990 or 1991 demos.
In the spring of 1992 we recorded our first and only 7" EP called "Taste of Hate", with the cover art hand drawn by our friend John from Patterns, who went on to become Candiria's guitarist many years later. Candiria was around back then too, but they were a satanic death metal band that didn't even play with hardcore bands until 1994, after Confusion called it a day! The record finally came out in the early fall of 1992. Only 1,000 were pressed and it didn't even sell all that great initially since the band didn't tour and "distros" hardly existed!
Confusion played both hardcore and metal shows, but by 1993/1994 the metalheads were embracing us much more due to how heavy we had become. We were quite popular in the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey due to the fact that outside of the five boroughs of NYC, those were the only places we played. The best hardcore shows for Confusion were the out of state shows and those that we played with our friends' bands in Brooklyn or NYC. But the biggest shows as far as attendance goes were death metal shows. We played with Cannibal Corpse, Disincarnate, Cancer, Unleashed, Incantation, and countless others. I remember one show in 1993 with Deicide, Dismember, and Vader in front of 600 kids in our hometown of Brooklyn at the defunct club L'amour. Glen Benton told us how much he liked us and the Hoffman brothers smoked weed with the band backstage!
Confusion as a band didn't really get along all that well. We fought a lot and there was even a time when I was kicked out of the band for like two weeks, ha, ha! Our lead singer Mike was going off to college in Florida and in the summer of 1994 we decided that we would end the band at the end of the year. Our last show was in December at L'amour with the mighty Deicide, and it was a good one.
In the summer of 2002, original Confusion guitarist and founding member Frank Collins was killed in a motorcycle accident in Brooklyn. A benefit to raise money for his mother was organized by Rich from Darkside NYC and myself and was held in January 2003 at CBGB's. Confusion reformed for the night and played for one time in honor of Frank. It was a sold out show that also reunited Darkside NYC, our "deathcore" brothers. The lineup also included All Out War, Next Step Up, Shutdown, Bulldoze, Subzero, Kickback, Most Precious Blood, Inhuman, and many more. It was Confusion's first time on stage in nine years and it was a lot of fun, but there was no talk of an actual reformation.
Here is an official discography of what Confusion put out. All of these are out of print:
1990 "Four the Force" demo (100 made, possibly less)
1991 "Distorted Visions" demo (200 made, possibly less)
1992 "Taste of Hate" 7" on Hardway Records (1,000 pressed)
1992 "Beheaded Cadaver" compilation cassette (a death metal comp.)
1993 "East Coast Assault" compilation CD on Too Damn Hype Records
1995 "A Call for Unity" compilation CD on Back ta Basics Records
Many people have asked me over the years when a Confusion discography CD would be made and I have no answer. If a decent record label cared enough to offer up the money to get it done, I would do it in a heartbeat and it would have everything on it, including live performances of the songs we wrote but never recorded, which was among our best material. I personally do not have the means to do it myself, if I did it would have happened years ago.
Here is a brief Confusion "Where are they now?"
• Frank Collins (guitarist 1990—1992): Became an NYPD detective in the mid- to late-90's and was sadly killed in a motorcycle accident in 2002 at age 28.
• Ralph Canovic (drums 1990—1994): I literally have no idea. I haven't seen or heard from him since 1996. He didn't even play drums at the 2003 reunion show. Our friend Dennis played drums.
• Mike Price (guitarist 1991—1993): The man who wrote some of the sickest material for the band. Mike lives in New Jersey and still does music on the side. I haven't heard from him in at least a year or so.
• Mike Fried (vocals 1990—1994): Lives in Brooklyn. I haven't seen or heard from him since the reunion.
• Pete Melucci (guitarist 1993—1994): Lives in Arizona, great friends with North Side Kings and has helped them on recordings.
• Michael Scondotto (bassist 1990—1994): I started the hardcore band Inhuman in 1995 as the vocalist and the band is still here. After Confusion, I wanted to return to my musical roots a bit and play NYHC again. I still love all things death metal and black metal and one day the world will hear me sing for a death metal band... I've been threatening that for like five years at least.
I'd like to again thank Andrew for his interest, as well as everyone who ever cared about Confusion in any way. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the bands Confusion or Inhuman, or anything related to the glorious early-90's Brooklyn, NY scene.
So without any further ado, enjoy this killer 7" and give it some of the well deserved appreciation it's been missing over the last 13 years:
Huge thanks to Mike Scondotto, both for selling me the Confusion 7", and for the killer write-up. I've tracked down 7"s from other Brooklyn bands mentioned above like Judgement Day NYC and Lament over the years as well, so I'll be posting some of that, as well as some Darkside NYC, in the future... at some point!