As the nineties came to a close, more extreme forms of music continued to bleed together, resulting in dynamic new sounds and unique new hybrids of expression that stood apart from the faceless sea of followers. Such is the path that Kansas City's Coalesce have taken. The trio of guitarist Jes Steineger, bassist Stacy Hilt, and drummer Jim Redd formed Coalesce in January 1994. They shared similar underground hardcore influences and a desire to experiment with odd time signatures, discordant riffing patterns, and controlled dissonance. Vocalist Sean Ingram joined during the Easter of '94, the band chose Coalesce as their moniker, and entered Red House Studios with producer Ed Rose (who would go on to produce all their future material) to record a demo. This work was pressed to a 7" Ep that went out of print almost immediately, resulting in an offer from Earache to release their second Ep.
They recorded the Earache Ep, titled 002, in just one day, and then took their savage live show on the road for the summer of '95 supporting BLOODLET and 108 on their first US tour. After leaving a trail of blood, battered bodies, and shattered instruments across the states, Coalesce issued 002 to an overwhelming response. 002's strident blend of caustic vocals, raging aggression, and youthful exuberance was a huge step forward for the band and turned the US hardcore scene on its collective ear. The Ep received an overwhelmingly positive response from critics nationwide and inspired a wave of younger bands to follow a similar path.
Tensions had arisen while on tour and Redd persuaded the band to oust Ingram upon their return. Ingram crashed James DeWees' vocal rehearsal and, after a heated confrontation, the band splintered. A year later, in the summer of '96, Jes contacted Sean and the two decided to reform the band. Hilt returned on bass, and the drum position was filled by James DeWees, the same kid who one year earlier had auditioned for vocals. Without missing a step, the quartet re-worked some older material which was issued as their A Safe Place 7" (Edison Recordings) and a split Ep with NAPALM DEATH (Earache) in the fall.
Coalesce undertook weeklong stints of shows whenever the opportunity arose (including a reckless string of Northeast shows with CONVERGE in November) and covered quite a bit of the US in this fashion. 1997 brought a spurt of inspiration, which saw the band write, record, and tour at a furious pace. The band contributed to several compilations, shared split 7" releases -- with NAPALM DEATH, THE GET UP KIDS, TODAY IS THE DAY, and CONVERGE -- and participated in a particularly destructive summer tour that epitomized the desperate nature of Coalesce live.
In January '98 Edison unleashed Give Them Rope, the band's first full-length. Give Them Rope was unbelievably punishing: an unrelenting, exhausting exercise in brutality and one of the hardest, densest records to exist in its musical circle. Give Them Rope cemented the band's place at the forefront of the international hardcore scene. Before ...Rope saw the light of day, Hilt left and was replaced by Nathan Ellis, a guitarist who took up the bass in order to join his favorite band.
Before the dust from the full-length settled they conceived a half dozen new songs and churned out the Functioning On Impatience Ep. This work brought their technical prowess to the fore and tempered their almost-impenetrable wall-of-sound with deeper grooves and rhythmic twists. Before the summer's end, the band released a split 7" with BOY SETS FIRE. The band signed with Relapse in the summer of '99 and entered Red House to record a record of rock covers. Titled There Is Nothing New Under The Sun, it surfaced in autumn.
Coalesce attempted a US tour in its support. They completed East Coast dates w/ NEUROSIS, NILE and the DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN before insurmountable van problems forced them to head home for the remainder of the winter. That spring, the band reconvened to write 012: Revolution In Just Listening, their Relapse debut. Though certain band members had been working with other bands (Nathan started CASKET LOTTERY and DeWees joined GET UP KIDS), the material came together quickly. Recorded in July, 012... sees Coalesce melding the heaviness and musical astuteness of Functioning... with the style revisited on There Is... to propel their songwriting to another level. The band has created exceedingly memorable songs like What Happens On The Road Always Comes Home, cowards.com, and Where The Hell Is Rick Thorne These Days? without sacrificing any of the integrity or ingenuity of their five year maturation.
Coalesce again tried to put together a line up that could last, and did a short tour (and recording) in 2002 sans Jes Steineger, and Nathan Ellis. It was apparent that it would not work and was quickly abandoned by Sean Ingram. In 2005 original members of Coalese (Jes, Nathan, and Sean) put aside all of their differences and met on common ground (Nate's birthday party for his daughter). They decided to once again take a stab at Coalesce as a creative outlet, instead of a career ambition. Coalesce was slated to play in Hellfest in 2005, but a legal maelstrom against the festival's organizers prevented the festival from taking place. Since they had already made the travel arrangements, Coalesce booked and played 2 shows at small venues instead. One was in Philadelphia at the Unitarian Church and the other in the Wilkes-Barre area in an abandoned Nail Salon.
The band played what they perceived to be, and advertised as their final show in Lawrence, Kansas in September of 2005. During the Philadelphia and Lawrence reunion shows lead singer Sean Ingram announced that the band was going to begin writing new music but under a new moniker. However the new moniker idea was quickly abandoned, and it was official that Coalesce was writing again as a cohesive unit in the winter of 2006. A self financed and released 7" to be released late in 2007 was the product of those meetings.
All members of Coalesce have children. 12 children between the 4 members to be exact. The amount of time that is available for the band to tour and write is limited, but instead of trying to neatly package up Coalesce in a neat tidy description as "done and over with", the band has decided to leave it open ended. The songs, the lyrics, the ideas, do not leave the band members, and the pressure to not be able to express them, has proved to be greater than the pressure to do full us and european tours. Coalesce stands is as it has always been, unreliable, unpredictable, and quite simple unstopable in their creativity and and drive to push the envelope when time allows them to.
Jes Steineger: Guitar
Nathan Ellis: Bass
Nathan Richardson: Drums
Sean Ingram: Vocals