Slapshock’s enduring presenceBy Joseph R. Atilano
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Bands like Slapshock have become one of the most enduring and time tested bands we have now. I still remember more than 10 years ago when they were the subject of focus in a show called “In The Raw” on NU 107. That was when I was still a regular listener of the said FM station. The local music landscape then was on the verge of shifting once again away from Pop, thanks in part to the dominating Nu-Metal scene in the States which was slowly making its way here in the Philippines. And that feature on Slapshock was a sign of things to come and their introduction couldn’t have been at a more perfect timing because that was at the break of the century. Change was fast approaching–a kind of change which reflected the times we were in.
I have always considered Slapshock to be the equivalent of bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn. Slapshock were clearly their counterparts on our side of the globe. I know that, now, those two other aforementioned foreign bands are largely forgotten or disliked with disdain by the large majority of young music aficionados. But during those years, those bands were the “bomb”! Back then, we really didn’t have all the conveniences and “portals” that are now easily accessible right under our finger tips. In short, we had to make do with what we had and what were only made available for us.
I think that, over the years, Slapshock has been unfairly underestimated and may have even been overlooked in some aspects.
One of the those characteristics that I have always enjoyed about the sound of Slapshock was their more straight forward approach to the crafting of their songs and performing them. In a sense, they just “winged it” and as cliché as this may sound, they “rocked hard” and didn’t hold back for anyone at all. This mindset of theirs became their winning formula as it was the most effective way for them to make their presence felt. It definitely helped too that the music of Slapshock wasn’t overly complex, and yet not dull to listen to. Even now, you just can’t help but bop your head to some of their greatest hits.
I know that some may disagree with what I’ll say next. But I believe Slapshock helped fill in the gaping void left by seminal 90′s bands like Wolfgang in the early 2000′s by the time their (Slapshock’s) third studio-release ‘Project 11-41′ hit the market. Sure, we also had other heavier sounding and equally aggressive bands. However, with all due respect to those other bands, I think Slapshock led the charge and was at the forefront of the then dominating scene. If every group of bands needed a leader or someone that they can take after then, in my eyes, Slapshock was that chosen band at that time.
Their music was really big in the years 2000 to 2003. In those years, they dominated not only the radio airwaves, thanks largely in part to groundbreaking FM stations like NU 107, but they also became visible in television because of music channels like UNTV, MYX, and through more exposure in publications like PULP magazine.
Even before the term “Noypi” would soon become a household name–”Noypi” having been coined and popularized by a band called Bamboo which were comprised of seasoned and established musicians–and in the meantime that Bamboo Manalac had not yet returned to the country, it was bands like Slapshock that kept a lot of us attuned to the local scene and reminded us that, indeed, there were “remnants” left of the 90′s band explosion. And Slapshock certainly played an important role in helping our local bands maintain a presence in the mainstream scene. Slapshock was part of a handful of local bands that survived the tail-end of the 90′s band explosion.
They were like a band that came in with “guns blazing”–relentless as they were in building up their name by performing everywhere and anywhere they could. That strong-minded perseverance early on in their careers was admirable and showed how much they wanted to be the best in what they do. And this has definitely paid off for them in the long run. Slapshock is just a few years short of fast approaching the 20th anniversary celebration of their band’s formation and that is a major benchmark and a career-defining achievement for any band to have.
Slapshock has evolved with the times as they continue to modernize their sound and yet manage to keep enough elements of what made listeners and music aficionados support them in the first place. I, for one, view Slapshock not only as a local band but a band that has succeeded in venturing out into the international scene and has participated in a few famous world music festivals.
When I speak of local bands like Slapshock, it is hard for me to not go down memory lane and reminisce about this band because their music was heard practically everywhere and it was a good feeling to be exposed to music like theirs. It doesn’t feel like this now when you feel like, sometimes, some artists are so overexposed that you just get so turned off already by their music and you don’t think so highly of them anymore. It was a different case for Slapshock. They deserved all the exposure they got.
Slapshock were crucial to me in leading me to buy my first ever issue of PULP magazine because they were on its cover. I believe that the timing of their debut was unique since it was in the middle of two major eras in music.
I don’t see the band slowing down anytime soon.
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