One of the Midwest's hardest-hitting bands of the mid-'90s, the Dazzling Killmen never lived up to the critical success of their appropriately named second album, Face of Collapse. Although the album, released in February 1994, was dubbed the "number one heavy record of the decade" by Alternative Press, it marked the beginning of the end for the St. Louis-based quartet, which disbanded shortly before a planned tour of Japan.
The Dazzling Killmen represented the vision of vocalist/guitarist Nick Sakes, who had recruited original members Darin Gray and Blake Fleming. After several months of honing their sound, the trio released their first single, "Numb" b/w "Bottom Feeder," on Sakes' label, Sawtooth. Releasing their second single, "Torture" b/w "Ghost Limb," on the Crume Life label, they caught the ear of Skin Graft Comex owners and punk rock enthusiasts Mark Fischer and Rob Syers, who launched a production company, Skin Graft, to record their music. With Fischer and Syers' support, the group began to take major strides. After releasing their third single on the small St. Louis-based Sluggo label, they recorded their debut album, Dig out the Switch, for French noise label Intellectual Convulsion.
Adding a second guitarist, Tim Garrigan, the Dazzling Killmen continued to build a following for their hard-edged music. Their live performances were showcased on a cassette that was only available at their shows and mail order.
Shortly after the breakup of the Dazzling Killmen, Fischer and Syers released a compilation of their singles, Recuerdo. Bassist Darin Gray and guitarist Tim Garrigan continued to work together in an anti-band, You Fantastic, while drummer Blake Fleming formed a new group, Laddio Bolocko. Moving to Minneapolis, Sakes launched a group similar to the Dazzling Killmen, Colossamite. As of 2002, he was performing with another group, Sicbay. ~ Craig Harris