By Jason Wellwood
Welcome to the first of what I intend to be a weekly column on Canadian Independent metal. I’ve been hosting a show called ‘CanKnuckle Tracks’ (now called “Iron Maple“) on my radio station for over two years now which focuses strictly on Canadian Independent ‘Loud Rock’, and my passion for it is only growing with each new show. As such, I’ve decided to bring that love to Hellbound and give some love to bands that may be passed over due to time constraints on the part of our writers, or that slipped through the cracks somehow. As a Canadian based magazine, I think it’s important to make sure we’re recognizing the bands that may very well become the next big thing, and the ones who are just out there ‘doing it’ because they love metal.
The Canadian Metal scene seems to be growing constantly and the wealth of bands that are playing shows, putting out music and doing whatever they can to be heard is impressive. Of course the internet and inexpensive recording software also means PLENTY of crap to wade through, so hopefully I can help with that. The plan, at this point, is to feature 3 reviews and (hopefully) an audio interview with every column. Sometimes we’ll reach back into past releases to highlight things that may have been missed in months/years past. With that in mind, here are the first reviews in the new Iron Maple Column.
Abriosis – Vessel (Self Released)
On the heels of their well received debut full length, Abriosis have made some lineup changes and are back stronger than ever. While the technical death metal of Tattered and Bound is still intact, the band has stepped things up, making their music a little more progressive and a little more technical without making it hard for non-guitar wizards to follow. Granted, the guitar work from founding member Taylor Lipton alone is worth the price of admission, but the time signature changes and punishing vocals definitely combine to make Vessel a must have. The feeling of urgency on this EP can’t be ignored but at the same time, it feels like the band was in a more relaxed, comfortable with each other mode this time around. The songs have more breathing room within them; much is being said without trying to cram everything into one space. Replacing a band member at any point can be a sticky thing, but replacing your singer is sometimes death to a band. Abriosis have found an incredible vocalist with Alxs Ness and if the songs on Vessel are any indication of what is to come from the band, I think we will be hearing plenty more from them.
Anciients – Snakebeard 7” (War On Music)
The new Anciients is easily one of the most anticipated metal albums of 2013, and one listen to this incredible 7” makes it easy to see why. Originally up for free download on their bandcamp, Anciients decided to press this mini-masterpiece to vinyl ahead of their full length and it is worth getting your hands on a copy! The two tracks blend heavy progressive metal with a more traditional sound and a lot of melody resulting in a whiplash combination of head banging and toe tapping groove. I can’t say enough good things about this band, my only warning is that you will get plenty of exercise getting up to flip the 7” over again and again! (Thankfully, each song is over six minutes in length so you do at least get a chance to sit down for a minute in between flips)
Chariots Of The Gods – Tides of War (Self Released)
Ottawa’s Chariots Of The Gods are, at their base, a melodic death metal band but also much more than that. With the vocals more firmly rooted in a hardcore punk range and guitars leaning towards thrash territory, the band is offering a whole lot to metal fans. Tides of War is the first full length from Chariots Of The Gods, but it shows a lot of depth in both song writing and musicianship for such a relatively young band. From ‘Seventh Weapon’ through ‘Ambrosian Wings’ and ‘Annihilation of the Gods’ the dual guitar work of Mathieu St-Armour and Dimitri Gervais fights for your attention and challenges you to keep up. The melody introduced in ‘Overture’ is also present in the melodic ending to the aforementioned ‘Ambrosian Wings’, as well as the acoustic ‘Snow Falls On The White River (1914)’ shows the band to not be all ‘get up and gallop’. Then there is ‘Nebula’ which combines some weird ambient noise to carry you into ‘Starborn’, a crunchy blend of thrash, traditional and hardcore metal.
Glen Robinson (Gwar, Annihilator, Queensryche, Voivod) manages to grab this mix and make it sound crisp where it needs to and dirty as year old bed sheets on the next turn. Highly recommended!
I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Friesen of Adrenechrome earlier this month and the interview aired, along with their EP Hideous Appetites. Listen/watch the interview here:
If you enjoyed what you read, hate it, or just want to say hello, feel free to email [email protected] . Want to see your band featured here and/or on the radio show? Email me and we’ll make it happen. If you’re interested in checking out what I’ve been playing on CanKnuckle Tracks every week, you can check out my blog here on Hellbound (I promise, I’ll be better at posting here now) or you can go check out www.facebook.com/witchfinderradio. You can also download old CanKnuckle Tracks radio shows by going here: http://luradio-server.lakeheadu.ca/2013/Witchfinder%20Radio/
Tune in next week to Iron Maple (Tuesday February 5th) from 10pm-1am EST for double interviews: Joel Violette from Thrawsunblat and Alxs Ness from Abriosis!