In Loving Memory was a screamo band from Des Moines. Despite only existing as a band for a little under two years and having a mere 12 songs to their name, In Loving Memory's popularity has persisted due to the band's legendary spastic live set and the music they wrote being widely regarded as one of the finest examples of the Midwest emo-violence sound there is.
The first iteration of In Loving Memory came together in August of 1998, with Jordan Peterson, age 14, on guitar, Brian Dingeman, age 15, on bass, Spencer Williams, age 15, on drums, and their friend Justin Heuss rounding out the band on vocals. Jordan had recently been influenced to start up a band by his sister's boyfriend Jake Haselman, who had drummed in Minneapolis hardcore band Fed By Ravens, and Jake's friend Steven Snere, who played in the Mason City metalcore band The Kinship, both of whom had just moved to Des Moines. Jordan was obsessed with both Fed By Ravens and The Kinship and wanted to learn to play guitar so he could start his own hardcore band. Brian and Spencer were listening to bands like Disembodied and At The Gates at the time, so it was only natural that they too would want to start up their own band with a heavy sound. They called their new band Day of Atonement, it was christian, and the metalcore influences definitely rang through.
This original lineup for Day of Atonement never played a single show. After just a little over a month of practicing, Justin left the band and moved to Pella, a small town 45 minutes south of Des Moines. Instead of seeking out another member, Brian took over on vocals while still playing bass. Day of Atonement played their first show on Halloween night of 1998 in the basement of a pizza shop with other local punk bands The Horrorshow Hoods, The Whore Moans, and Nuclear Kicks. Everyone at the show laughed at the band as they threw their instruments around during their set, but you've got to start somewhere.
After a year of playing shows as Day of Atonemeny, the members of the band began to shy away from the metalcore sound, as they started to dabble in the spazzier side of hardcore. Listening to screamo and powerviolence bands like Orchid, Saetia, and Song of Zarathustra, it wasn't long before they wanted to take the sound of the band in that direction. They also found out soon enough after starting up that another band named Day of Atonement already existed, a signed death metal band from Australia. Not only that but their Day of Atonement, the Des Moines band, was a christian metalcore band, a vibe the members of the band definitely were not going for anymore. They were going to switch up their sound and they needed a new name. While driving on the highway, Brian saw the words "in loving memory of…" on the side of a semi and thought that would be a cool name for the band. After realizing the "of…" part of the name was a little dorky, that word was dropped and they took on the name In Loving Memory. Day of Atonement was finished. They never recorded and no live recordings exist.
Along with a new name and a new sound, the band added some new members. It was decided that Brian would do vocals and only vocals in this new band, so a new bass player was needed. Brian and Spencer went to school and were friends with Joe Carrington. He played bass and was a natural choice to fill in Brian's spot. Right after Joe joined the band, in November of 1999, they played their first show as In Loving Memory at the Botanical Center in Des Moines with Florida hardcore acts Reversal of Man and Combatwoundedveteran. After playing this show with Joe, the band decided to add a second vocalist to the lineup and that having a female vocalist in a spazzy hardcore band would be a cool and different thing to do, and at the time it definitely was different. Regionally, one of the only other bands to have a frontwoman was fellow screamo band The Hareste from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Jen Wiley, a member of the band's tight knit circle of friends, was their first choice. She was asked to be the band's vocalist alongside Brian and she accepted.
At this time Tanner Olson, the guitar player in The Spirit of Versailles, a screamo band from Sioux Falls, had just recently quit his band and moved to Des Moines as a change of pace. Wanting to jump into a new band right away, he asked the members of In Loving Memory if they would be into having him play second guitar in the band. The members of the band loved The Spirit of Versailles and thought Tanner was an amazing guitar player, so the decision was a no brainer. In December of 1999, one month after In Loving Memory's first show, Tanner joined the band on second guitar.
In Loving Memory started playing numerous local shows at places like the Botanical Center and Hairy Mary's in support of touring bands, with regional Iowan bands such as The VidaBlue from Iowa City and Meth and Goats from the Quad Cities, and with local Des Moines bands like Rue Morgue, Eclipse of Eden, and Black Market Fetus. With the band's new found spazzier and nastier sound, playing shows together with Black Market Fetus, a band with a crusty grindcore sound, made sense and the two bands quickly developed a friendship. Soon enough, an idea for the two bands to record and release a split tape was brought up. Andy Koettel of Captain Three Leg fame recorded each band's side in January of 2000 in the basement of Nate Fetus' house, Nate being the vocalist of Black Market Fetus. Nate's mom actually came down into the basement to see if everything was alright while Brian was rolling around on the ground and screaming into the mic. A crude recording, definitely, while still getting the point across, I think this tape is a great example of each band's early sound. Black Market Fetus's side is a mean assault of blown out grind, and the In Loving Memory side is a nasty spazzy slab of catchy and piercing screamo. The photo used as the cover art was taken behind Hairy Mary's after Black Market Fetus and In Loving Memory had played a show together there. Featuring Black Market Fetus brandishing whips, chains, and bats and In Loving Memory standing there in sweaters, tight black pants, and with spock rock haircuts, it's a funny juxtaposition to say the least. 200 copies of Black Market Fetus Vs. In Loving Memory were dubbed and sold at local shows.
Every so often the band's parents would allow them to be weekend warriors. Playing out of town shows was something the band always looked forward to and got stoked on, and with the aid of Brian's station wagon and a topper to hold some gear, the band hit the road. They would play towns around Iowa like Sioux City, Marshalltown, and Waverly and spots out of state like Omaha, Nebraska, Moline, Illinois, and Sioux Falls, making friends with bands like The Hareste, Edict of Milan, Love Lost but not Forgotten, Saqqara, System Failure, and Plosion. The only "tour" In Loving Memory ever managed to pull off was Omaha, Sioux City, and Sioux Falls right in a row, playing with fellow Des Moines emo-violence band Eclipse of Eden, who headed out on a bigger tour after these three dates. Playing in Waverly once, Spencer threw up all over his drumset but continued to play the set, spraying barf everywhere, and all the kids in Marshalltown just stood around looking confused while the members of In Loving Memory screamed and thrashed around at a mostly ska show thrown at a park shelter.
Shows at this time back home in Des Moines were getting pretty good In Loving Memory as they were able to open up for some bigger touring acts. The show they played with Converge at the Botanical Center was right around the time Converge released The Poacher Diaries with Agoraphobic Nosebleed, so it was definitely an intense show, especially considering the Botanical Center doesn't have a stage so each band played the floor. The Hope Conspiracy was also supposed to play this show, but had broken down on the way to town, so just In Loving Memory and Converge played. Botch also came through Des Moines and told In Loving Memory that they were the best local band they had ever played with on tour. The band also played a few weirdo shows at this time as well, including a daytime show played as a joke at the Iowa State Fair. The audience would simply sit and stare as the band threw their guitars and rolled around on stage, and absolutely no one in the audience would applaud between songs.
After a year had passed with this lineup and their sound became more refined, the band took a trip up to Sioux Falls to record a record at Earsay Studios, a studio where Spirit of Versailles, Eclipse of Eden, and others of the same ilk had recorded before. When all was said and done, the band had recorded ten songs total, eight newer tracks that Tanner had written and two re-imagined songs from the Black Market Fetus split, all of which Jordan had written. The band burned four sample tracks onto a CDr and passed them out at local shows with original intention for all of these songs to later be released on a professional CD, but all of these plans were about to change
Tanner was much older than the rest of the band. At the time, he was 20 years old with the rest of the band members' ages ranging between 16 and 17. He wanted to be able to tour hard, as much as possible, and this simply was not something that he could do with a band like In Loving Memory due to the rest of the band still being in high school. Tanner had tried to rectify this situation by starting Examination of the… in July of 2000, a band made up of members around his own age and a band that he could tour with. Still, Examination of the… began to take up more and more of Tanner's creative output and eventually he no longer had any time to give to In Loving Memory. He quit the band at the end of September 2000. The band's final set with him turned out to be the Botch show at the Botanical Center with Examination of the…, The Holland Floor, and Ill Fated.
With Tanner leaving the band, this left a gigantic creative hole in the band's lineup and created a sense of confusion amongst the remaining members. Elliot Imes, a friend of the band, stepped in to try and fill the hole that Tanner left. Since he had been playing shows with In Loving Memory with his own band The Whore Moans since the Day of Atonement days, he was very familiar with their music and the best possible choice as a replacement, but this lineup lasted only a little over one month's time. They did play some memorable shows, however, including a short set at the homecoming party for Des Moines Christian High School, a school that Brian and Spencer had basically been kicked out of the year before. Jen could not make it for this show, so Joe Ross of Eclipse of Eden filled in as second vocalist. After two songs, the principal of the school couldn't take it anymore and pulled the plug on the rest of their set. The band threw a fit and Joe even got in the principal's face. Still though, the band realized that with Tanner gone, the feeling just wasn't there anymore and they never really attempted to write any new material after his departure from the band. The remaining members began to lose interest in the band, even considering that it was decided two of their tracks from the Sioux Falls recording sessions were soon to be released on a split 7" with Examination of the… on 605 Records, Tanner's own label. This turned out to be the last release on this label, and the final nail in the coffin for the band, a shame since it's a great record. When compared to the split with Black Market Fetus, the difference in recording quality is night and day on this 7". In Loving Memory's side is fantastic, desperate emo-violence. Examination of the…'s side is a nasty experiment in noisy hardcore, audio levels peaking all over the place. Still, even with this record sounding as good as it does, on November 8th, 2000, In Loving Memory met their untimely demise.
The band was finished, but they were still sitting on the rest of the unreleased songs from the Sioux Falls session. Instead of letting the songs fade away into obscurity, the album was burnt to CDr and distributed among their friends in Des Moines and the friends they had made around the Midwest. They called it "As Years Pass And Feel Like Seconds", a sweetly ironic name for the album. It's a shame the band had a premature death, as the tracks on this CDr are very good and they are quite possibly the best example of Midwest emo-violence there is. The guitar and bass playing are relentless and spot on, the near jazzy drumming is fantastic and always interesting, the vocals are nasty and piercing, and I love how the album ends in a song that's almost post rock, breaking the 4 minute mark. It's an amazing swansong and really does a good job at capturing the band at their very best.
After playing a single one off reunion show in March of 2001, the band was officially done for good. After In Loving Memory, Brian, Joe, and Jordan formed Mourning Recluse with Eclipse of Eden frontman Rusty Steele. This band eventually became Dispensing of False Halos. Jordan left this band and went on to play a short stint in Innocence Broken and soon after started up Too Pure To Die. He currently plays in Crusader. Brian played in Dispensing of False Halos, and then Great Loss of Life, Wolves of War, and most currently Bedwetter in Florida. Tanner continued to play in Examination of the… and today plays in Across Tundras. Elliot played in a band called The Mezzanine for awhile and currently plays in Tyborn Jig.
For having such a brief run, with the core lineup of Brian, Jen, Tanner, Jordan, and Spencer lasting a mere 10 months, In Loving Memory still managed to leave behind some great music. Reunion show rumors have persisted but nothing has ever come to fruition. A complete discography LP featuring the tracks on the split with Black Market Fetus and the tracks on the As Years Pass And Feel Like Seconds CDr has been in the works for nearly 10 years and is finally seeing the light of day very soon on Init Records. By the time you are reading this it will most likely be available for purchase. Make sure to check it out, as the tracks on the split tape have been mastered and should sound great.
In Loving Memory VS Black Market Fetus split (2000)
In Loving Memory VS Examination of The… split (2000)
As Years Pass And Feel Like Seconds (2000)