In the years following Hardcore-Punk's zenith (`88), it was somewhat unclear what direction the underground scene would take. While bands like Warzone and Bad Brains (when they were functional) continued to wave the Old School banner, Black Flag, Youth of Today and Minor Threat had long since fallen apart. Though there was clearly a void, it was not clear who or what would fill it.
And then in January of '92 it didn't matter. Grunge brought the underground into our living rooms and turned your 12 year old sister into a mumbling, misunderstood punk with green hair . With the paradigm clearly shifting, the search began anew for music with integrity; something your parents would hate (my mother owned Badmotorfinger before I did) but was palatable at the same time. That search ended for me in Hardcore.
Abandoning both the music and the message of Hardcore-Punk, Quicksand's first LP, Slip, is properly regarded as the Genesis of the Post-Hardcore movement. Slip still retains Punk's "less is more" formula of song writing, while simultaniously managing to sound both poised and dynamic. Credit this dichotomy to Walter Schreifel's and Tom Capone's droning, distorted twin rhythm guitars, juxtaposed with a staccato rhythm section that drives and propels each track like a sonic diesel locomotive. Easily the most accessible Post-Hardcore singer, Walter, while fully capable of screaming, defers most often to singing on the ragged edge of screaming; managing to find melody where there simply should not be any. The result is a vocal delivery that is as focused as it is destructive. This is not rasp, this is aggressive melody and has more in common with Maynard James Keenan than any of Walter's Hardcore contemporaries.
Content to let others address the evil's of society, Slip's lyrics deal with inner-struggles ranging from repeated failures (Head to Wall), to self-consciousness (Dine Alone), to unnecessarily suppressing one's thoughts and feelings (Too Official). Heady stuff for a scene most often pre-occupied with animal liberation and clean living. Head to Wall offers what may be Walter's realization that his music may not change the world: "I don't know anything/ But I can read what's on your face/ Just One Moment/ Just one more to struggle/ We all want everything/ But we all can't fit in the door." A far cry from the militant optimism heralded by the bands that spawned Quicksand.
Slip's legacy is not one of album sales but of influence. While one can hear elements of the British Shoegaze scene in Schreifel`s and Capone`s guitar work, Quicksand was very influential on the American Indie Rock and Space Rock scenes centered in the mid-west. Vega's bass sharing center stage with the guitars clearly had an influence on the New Wave of American Metal bands such as Korn and The Deftones; the later of which Vega has now played in since Chi`s accident.
In short, no discussion of Post-Hardcore can begin without Quicksand. It's not simply a matter of including them in a list of influential bands from this scene; they are to Post-Hardcore what Sunny Day Real Estate is to Emo. Nearly universally respected and revered, Quicksand's legacy is one that will likely age as well as this record has. With Slip, Quicksand did what Nirvana and Green Day failed to do: legitimize their scene without commercialiing it. Slip is not pop dressed in flannel, it is the single most accurate and most enduring representation of the Post-Hardcore movement.