Hellbound Staff Interrogation #7: Laura Wiebe

Laura Wiebe has been one of my favourite metal music writers for more than a decade. Her writing for both Exclaim! and Unrestrained! was something I looked forward to reading in each and every new issue. When I got the idea to start Hellbound, Laura was the first writer I spoke to face-to-face about it. She has been a contributor since our first day and is now also one of the co-hosts of our new summer radio show, the Hellbound Summer Metal Meltdown on Hamilton, Ontario’s CFMU-FM.

-Sean Palmerston

Name and Location:
Laura Wiebe, Hamilton, Ontario

How did you start writing for Hellbound?
I’ve known Hellbound overlord Sean Palmerston for years, largely through writing for the same publications, including Unrestrained! and Exclaim! When Unrestrained! founder Adrian Bromley passed away unexpectedly late in 2008, the magazine died with him, and after the loss of a tireless metal champion and a good friend, I was in a music writing funk. A couple months later I ran into Sean at a show in Toronto – he mentioned he was thinking of starting up a metal webzine and wondered if I’d be interested in writing for it. I said I was. A couple of phone calls and a few more months later, content started going up and the site was live. My first review and interview for Hellbound went up that month, and though I haven’t contributed nearly as much as I’d like to, it’s been a pleasure to be involved.

What’s your favorite piece published during Hellbound’s two years?
Picking one piece of writing, photography or video from Hellbound’s growing archive seems like an impossible task! Kyle Harcott’s conversation with Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman is one of many interviews I’ve enjoyed reading. I also appreciate the individual flair and colour several writers bring to their reviewing. And like Adrien Begrand, I get a kick out of our annual Canada Day Canadian metal features.

What are some of your best concert memories?
Both my European concert experiences stand out for me – Summer Breeze in Germany in 2003 and Anathema in Vienna in 2008. During the first day of Summer Breeze I remember wondering how I was going to survive three non-stop days of live metal and camping in the heat but in no time I was wishing it would never end. I saw bands like Amorphis playing back catalogue classics I’d never heard live in North America, saw others that will likely never make it anywhere close to Toronto (like End of Green and Pyogenesis), and packed in a bunch of interviews as well.

The Anathema show was a headlining date in Vienna, Austria, just days before I had to be in Salzburg for a conference. A random encounter with a local on the subway helped us find our way to the venue, and a short time later I was steps away from Anathema in the flesh – a nearly transcendent experience.

Back home, Day of the Equinox 2005 is definitely high up on my list of memorable concerts, with some of my favourite bands (Agalloch, Novembers Doom, Woods of Ypres…) plus Green Carnation performing two headlining sets, including the full Light of Day, Day of Darkness album – complete with theremin.

Black metal, death metal or grind?
Some death-doom, if you please.

Person/band you’d like to interview but it hasn’t happened…
I’ve gotten the chance to interview some of my favourite musicians, but there are a few interviews I’d hoped to do that didn’t happen for various reasons: Alan Nemtheanga from Primordial, My Dying Bride, Skunk Anansie, and Pitchshifter. With Primordial and My Dying Bride still active, Skunk Anansie reuniting for shows, and a new Pitchshifter album in the works, I still might have a chance to make these interviews happen.

The most underrated metal album is:
Most? No idea. But I’ve always thought that Set the World on Fire is one of the most underappreciated Annihilator albums. And there’s a lot more to love about Savatage’s Streets: A Rock Opera than the record gets credit for.

You are suspended in limbo for eternity and can only listen to five metal albums on repeat. What are they?
Edge of Sanity – The Spectral Sorrows
Anathema – Serenades
Devin Townsend – Ocean Machine
Katatonia – Last Fair Deal Gone Down
Virgin Black – Requiem – Mezzo Forte

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.