Beginnings - the late 1990s
ISKRA was founded in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada in 1998. The band was initially formed by Wolf(guitar), and Matt(drums) following the official breakup of BLACK KRONSTADT in 1997. Shortly there after Matt suffered a physical injury that put his drumming career on hold for the next ten years. During the first year, however, they managed to write half the material for the first LP. Due to Matt's injury, and Wolf's move to Montreal in 1999, the entire project was put on hold for the next four years. This early material was recorded for reference in 1999 with the intent of continuation.
ISKRA re-started in November of 2002 when Wolf returned from classical music studies in Montreal, Quebec. Within two months the band consisted of five members: Nick and Wolf on guitars, Devo on the bass guitar, Scott on vocals, and Calvert(formerly of SUBMISSION HOLD) on the skins. With this lineup, ISKRA recorded an eight song demo at the University of Victoria's electronic music studio in the summer of 2002. The demo was recorded live off the floor by Christian Solders. It was limited to a print run of fifty hand numbered CDs and featured bandmade, silkscreened covers and a lyric booklet(see discography).
The band continued regular performances in the area, but, after entertaining the idea of touring, Calvert left the band. He was replaced on the skins by Jasper, an experienced Metal musician from Holland who had emigrated to Canada. At this time, the band was also interested in adding a second vocalist. A young man from the interior of BC named Shawn joined up for the duties.
With the demo, a new drummer, and a second vocalist, the band (now a six piece)agreed to record a ten song fulllength LP. For this, they entered into a verbal agreement with the then legendary underground anarchist punk label PROFANE EXISTENCE for the release of an initial press of 1000 records. The label fronted the band $1000 for the recording(to be subtracted from royalty records afterward). In November of 2003 the band entered FRESH AIR STUDIOS for the recording.
2003 - The Self Titled LP and "Unsilent Storm From the Northern Abyss" Tour
The record was recorded by “Talking” Tony Herbert who, like the pseudonym implies, did more talking, and fucking up, then professional recording. The business did not go well when Tony figured we owed him two thousand for the recording. Most of the time was spent fixing his mistakes. We paid him the thousand, which, in the band's opinion, was already more than the recording was worth. Tony claimed we'd ripped him off and refused to give us the masters for the session, which was unfortunate since we wanted to remix the record later for a reissue.
Aesthetically, the band opted for a loud, raw, nasty sound in order to capture the chaos of their live shows. To facilitate this, they recorded live off the floor. It was decided, by Shawn and Scott, to record their vocals tracks simultaneously. They also agreed upon the rather unorthodox practice of recording through a P.A. system using broken cheap microphones. In order to stay “true,” the band kept the first takes of every song and accepted all of the resultant errors one would expect from this process.
The record was lauded as being the most chaotic, noisy, recording of that year. From the band's point of view, it was a success. Reviews, however, were generally in the negative and it was plain that not many people understood the rather eclectic mix of Metal, Crust, Grind, and Noise Punk.Clear from the very beginning, however, was the band's Anarchist/Nihilist point of view reflected in the lyrics; rather longwinded affairs on a number of themes such as criticism of mainstream culture, politics, hierarchies, religion, and abuse of power. As the band had predicted, these lyrics clarified where ISKRA stood, and the band was immediately embedded within the extreme DIY underground international Anarchist punk movement. Musically speaking the band's main influences at the time were CARCASS, early NAPALM DEATH, CRASS, DARKTHRONE, CONFLICT, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, IMMORTAL, EMPEROR and many of the more obscure DIY classics such as DROPDEAD, ASSUCK, DISRUPT, DOOM etc.