Strongarm (band)

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Origin Pompano Beach, Florida, US
Genres Hardcore punk, Metallic hardcore
Years active 1993–1997
Labels Tooth & Nail, Solid State
Associated acts Shai Hulud
Further Seems Forever
Past members Nick Dominguez
Joshua Colbert
Chris Carbonell
Chad Neptune
Jason Berggren
Bob Franquiz
Steve Kleisath

Strongarm (1993–1998) was a five-piece Christian and straight edge hardcore band, formed in Pompano Beach, Florida.


Strongarm came from South Florida. The band was the result of several local bands who had similar tastes in music and who were all Christians. Jason Berggren started Ikthus which included Chris Carbonell and Chad Neptune. Eventually Josh Colbert and Nick Dominguez joined forces with them when their band Endure broke up, which then became Strongarm (Endure had a song called “Together” which was covered by Strongarm and put as a hidden track on the Advent Of A Miracle CD). This was the original line up:

Nick Dominguez - Guitar Joshua Colbert - Guitar Chris Carbonell - Drums Chad Neptune - Bass Jason Berggren - Vocals

Strongarm started in 1993 and under this line-up recorded two demos: first there was a 3 track nameless demo recorded at this guy Tony Bartoli’s house. It featured “Forgiven”, “Stand Together” (both re-recorded for Atonement) and the otherwise unreleased song “Unfold”. Shortly thereafter they recorded their second demo in a local studio with better production: a 4 track demo called “These Times That Try Men’s Souls” (featuring the songs “Count The Cost”, “Trials”, “Remaining” and “Strengthened In Faith”. While recording this demo, Tooth & Nail Records contacted Strongarm expressing interest in them (how they heard of them is still unknown today). Strongarm sent over their whole demo, and their song “Count the Cost” appeared on Tooth & Nail’s first compilation album entitled “Helpless Amongst Friends.” This demo, and Strongarm’s performance at Cornerstone Festival that year, caught the attention of Tooth & Nail Records president Brandon Ebel who signed them. The original line-up remained the same for the release of their debut album “Atonement” in early 1995. Shortly after the release of this album there were personal differences in the band, and Nick (who went on to form Tension) and Chris were asked to leave the band by Jason. They were replaced by Bob Franquiz on guitar (formerly of the South Florida band Amboogalard which also included a member who went on to join Marilyn Manson) and Steve Kleisath on drums (formerly of the Tampa band Pull). He also played in a band called Shai Hulud at the time; a band that had a similar sound. One of the reasons for this fact might have been that Joshua had played with Shai Hulud’s guitar player Matt Fox around 1991 in a band called Planet X. They believed that hardcore didn’t necessarily have to mean playing simple powerchords and experimented with other kinds of chord arrangements and melody which led to the sound that distinguished both Strongarm and Shai Hulud from the hardcore scene at the time.

Bob Franquiz - Guitar Joshua Colbert - Guitar Steve Kleisath - Drums Chad Neptune - Bass Jason Berggren - Vocals

Under this line-up Strongarm composed 5 of the 9 songs that appear on their 2nd album (“Advent of a Miracle”, “These Times That Try Men’s Souls”, “Increase”, “Supplication”, and “Measure of Consequence”). They also did a video for Tooth & Nail, a rare 7-inch record entitled “Trials” which includes an early version of the song ‘Increase’ (with a sample of Darth Vader), and a summer tour. Eventually personal differences came to a head again, and Jason and Bob decided to leave Strongarm to pursue other interests. Although only 5 songs had been written for their next album, the remaining members decided to regroup and press on. Nick rejoined the band on guitar and they were looking for a while for a good singer; but finally they decided that drummer Chris would rejoin as well, and do the vocals. Strongarm continued on and finished work on their album “The Advent Of A Miracle” which was released in 1997. The line-up for this album was:

Nick Dominguez - Guitar Joshua Colbert - Guitar Steve Kleisath - Drums Chad Neptune - Bass Chris Carbonell - Vocals

They did several tours and finally announced their break-up in 1998 at their final show at Cornerstone Festival. This is what Steve Kleisath said about it in an interview:

As far as the reason Strongarm broke up people always wonder. It wasn’t any one thing; the commitment level needed wasn’t there anymore. Two of the guys were married, Chris and Josh, and they weren't available to tour. And just to write a whole new album for us takes a long time. We had a few ideas, actually had a few new songs, which will probably never be released. The time that it would take to do it and then know we wouldn’t be able to tour off it just wasn't worth it. We were supposed to go to Europe, and that fell through, which really took the wind out of our sails, we had planned it the summer before, and we were planning our whole lives around being gone for a month and that fell through at the last minute, like on our way to the airport. The promoter who set us up and also set us up with Zao and Living Sacrifice who were gonna meet us out there, he never sold the tickets, and that really let the wind out of our sails. That wasn't why we broke up, but at that point we sorta got the feeling “alright we’ve been around a while, I think we are in the twilight of the band.”

Soon after the band's breakup, Nick, Steve, Josh and Chad joined together to form a new band called Further Seems Forever. The difference in the band's lineup from that of Strongarm was a vocalist named Chris Carrabba who later went on to form a very popular solo project called Dashboard Confessional. The musical direction had switched from hardcore to rock. The band still claimed to be Christian; however, due to the fact of constantly changing vocalists, (additional vocalists include Jon Bunch and Jason Gleason) the lyrical style of each album was completely different. The band had trouble maintaining a consistent lineup, and later broke up in 2005.

In 2000, Strongarm made a reunion appearance at Furnace Fest. It was the same line-up as it was when they broke up. On the song “Trials”, they had their friend and Shai Hulud guitarist Matt Fox on drums.[1]

In July 2010, Blood and Ink Records released Strongarm's, "Atonement" on vinyl. This was the first time this classic hardcore record was released on vinyl.[2]



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