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Despite their rough-hewn, incredibly heavy, feedback-drenched sound, Nottingham's Fudge Tunnel quickly transcended the obvious heavy metal tag to find widespread critical praise outside such limits. And while this support never did translate into commercial success, it is interesting to note that Fudge Tunnel's surprising crossover appeal, along with their low-key image and absolute lack of pretense, marked them as un-hailed British predecessors to the Seattle scene.

18-year-old Alex Newport (vocals/guitar) founded Fudge Tunnel with Dave Riley (bass) and Adrian Parkin (drums) after moving to Nottingham, England, in 1989. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, the trio quickly drew support from the metal press for their brutal intensity, then earned their indie cred when 1990's debut EP Sex Mammoth was named Single of the Week by the respected New Musical Express. A second EP entitled Sweet Sounds of Excess followed six months later and landed them a support slot touring with industrial metal pioneers Godflesh. This, in turn, led to a record deal with leading independent Earache Records, which released the full-length Hate Songs in E Minor in May 1991. With graphic artwork depicting a decapitated body gracing its cover, the initial pressing was immediately seized by authorities, resulting in much welcome publicity before it was replaced by a less-offensive live concert shot. Another critical success, the album only cemented the group's reputation as one of the U.K.'s most uncompromising acts with its incredibly sludgy, bottom-heavy riffs, but never cracked the charts despite ample media coverage.

A third EP called Teeth preceded their second album, 1993's insistently noisy, but somewhat more disciplined Creep Diets. But Newport was unhappy with the media's perception of the band, which was now regularly lumped into the Seattle pile, and began losing interest in Fudge Tunnel, putting almost as much time into his side project Nailbomb (featuring Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera). In a Word, a collection of B-sides and singles arrived in 1994, as did their third album, The Complicated Futility of Ignorance (a ferocious recording, and an obvious attempt to distance themselves in any way possible from the day's narrow understanding of alternative rock). All to no avail, however, and following a second Nailbomb album, Newport (now living in Phoenix, AZ) turned his attention to production work and, eventually started a new project Theory of Ruin, while his bandmates gradually faded from sight. Though they never formally disbanded, Fudge Tunnel hasn't been heard from since. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi