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As industrial and industrial metal made great inroads on the mainstream charts during the late ’90s, many early pioneers continued to record with little fanfare but a large amount of creativity, even if the astounding leaps in technology had largely altered their sound since the heyday of the 1980s. Download was originally begun by Skinny Puppy’s cEvin Key and Rudolph Dwayne Goettel in 1995 as a side project from their rapidly disintegrating full-time interest. Also a part of Download were Skinny Puppy contributors Anthony Valcic and Ken Marshall, plus Philth and Mark Spybey (from Dead Voices on Air). The debut album Furnace was issued on their own SubConscious Records (and distributed by Cleopatra) in late 1995; several months earlier, however, Goettel had died from a heroin overdose.
Skinny Puppy disbanded in 1996 after the release of its final album (The Process), and Download continued with two EPs early in the year. The first, (Microscopic) included remixed tracks from Furnace, while the second (Sidewinder) was the group’s first release for Nettwerk Records (though not for Key, who had released many on Nettwerk through Skinny Puppy). Second album The Eyes of Stanley Pain followed in mid-1996, and began to show the effect of the electronic dance music which Skinny Puppy had influenced a full decade before. The film soundtrack Charlie’s Family appeared on Metropolis Records in 1997, followed by Download’s third proper album (III) in October 1997. Effector was released three years later.