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For many kids growing up in the gang infested streets of urban Los Angeles, struggle and survival are ways of life. Jim Korthe, lead singer of an exciting new band called 3rd Strike, has figured out how to channel those struggles into his music and the result is explosive. "Most all of what I write about comes from true-life experiences," says Korthe. "A lot of it is dramatic, pretty depressing and angry. I don't set out to write the way I write, it just happens." A monster combination of fury and finesse, 3rd Strike's debut Lost Angel reflects the hard work and even harder life that Korth and company have had to endure. Unlike much of today's contemporary loud rock, which clobbers its listeners with drab, downtuned power chords, 3rd Strike weaves in huge swaths of melody as Korth sings and raps his way through a colorful grid of guitar riffing supplied by Todd Deguchi and Erik Carlsson. Says Deguchi of the band's sound: "We've always done the rap thing and mixed it up with melody. Our sound has been in place for a long time." That heaviness is supplied not only by Deguchi and Carosson, but by a great rhythm section featuring heavyweight drummer PJ McMullan and groove bassist Gabe Hammersmith. Together, the quintet is as talented as it is ambitious. "We don't want to limit ourselves to just being heavy," says Korthe. "We want to be able to play different styles but have it done in our own way. We definitely don't want boundaries around our sound."