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The best kept secret in music


""Fear" this from exceptional Downstate, a band on the move"

Performer: DownState
The CD: "Fear" (Ocean Front Records)

It was sometime in late 2000 when now-Downstate drummer Doug Blevins approached me about a drum set I had for sale at the time. He said he wanted to start a band and had some other people we worked with interested as well. After all the bands I've seen start up only to fall apart the next week, I went ahead and cut him a good deal on the drums; I figured he would want to return them before long. He said he would sell them back to me at the very least.

Jump to 2006, and Downstate has become one of the hardest-rocking bands in West Virginia. Their debut album "Fear" is now out on Ocean Front Records to back up their intense live shows.

The 15-track disc starts out strong with "Skitzo," which has a nice, heavy, slow riff and introduces listeners to Downstate's heavy guitar-driven style. The rhythm section really lays it down hard in this band and this track is a perfect example of how they like to do it. The guitar solos really jump out and smack you in the face over the bands low-end sound.

The title track also lets lead vocalist Jimmy Lovejoy introduce himself with a nice ten-second howl that shows his vocal range before he goes into the first verse with his distinct vocal style. This guy really has some pipes.

The album also contains the title track and single "Fear," which has apparently made a historical jump on the Internet rock charts of, where the band also has a couple of other tracks for fans to check out. The song itself is pretty tight and has a line in the chorus that will stick in your head the whole week after you hear it.

While it would be hard to go through every track on the album, I have to mention my two favorites on the album. "Driving Blind" is an amazing down-tempo rocker that should be the next single and "The Wall" is well, "The Wall." You have heard it before but you have never heard it like this.

All in all, Downstate is a great band and have a killer live show. I hate to make a bunch of comparisons to other bands so I'll just say they remind of a time when I was really excited about music and the local scene. Check them out live at the Monkeybar in Huntington on Jan. 14.

P.S.: Much thanks to Doug for the CD and also, what happened to my drums?

-- by Mark Totten

RELATED: Read Nick Harrah's sodden report in the Nighttime blog on Downstate at Charleston's Sound Factory on 12/23 - The Gazz


Fear- 2005 Ocean Front Records

PROMOTERS/CLUBS- Show Posters available here:


Feeling a bit camera shy


They are often called the hardest working band in the area, playing an average of 5-10 shows per month, across West Virginia and surrounding states. Their shows vary from playing in local bars to nationally recognized events such as Clear Channel communications X-fest. From festivals to sharing the stage with top artists, they give 110 percent to each and every performance, whether they are playing for a crowd of 100 or 5,000 people. DownState has built a strong and loyal fan base with their heart stopping brutality. The Players' loyalty to the music, the fans, and to each other proves to be the force that keeps them rockin'. The entire band is involved with the creative writing process and their writings have touched on subjects relating from personal experiences to social issues. Also, what's a rock band without a few songs dedicated to hot women and beer? The band is currently signed with Ocean Front Records and True Sound Management, both divisions of Hamptons Entertainement Group, the largest independent talent agency in the world. DOWNSTATE's debut album "FEAR" is available at select record stores as well as online via the official website. Downstate has also shared the stage with national acts such as RA, Soil, Double Drive, Type O Negative, Slaves on Dope, Lacuna Coil and ShineDown.