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Widening rap-metal's strongest handling, inspired by the work of bands such as Rage Against the Machine and Powerman 5000, Nullset formed in Beantown, Massachusetts, in 1997. Consisting of vocalist Ken Smith, guitarists Jim Foster and Chris Fitzgerald, bassist Jim Shippey, and drummer Mick Palmesano, the quintet first settled on the designation Gangsta Bitch Barbie. Delivering their first record in 1998, the self-released EP This Is Not a Test, the Boston team expressed their wish to deliver strong metal grooves from the very beginning. It was then that their work began to detonate across the local music scene and on the Internet, where their tracks were constantly being downloaded on a series of sites. Before signing a deal with the Grand Royal label, they decided it was time to change their name to Nullset due to possible future dilemmas, namely with major toy company Mattel. Recruiting P.O.D.'s producer Howard Benson later that year, the squad then started to work on their debut full-length. The EP Smokewood hit record stores in April 2001. ~ Mario Mesquita Borges, All Music Guide

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