Photo by Adam Wills
Commentary by Laura Wiebe
Sometimes it’s not till the moment when you hear a sentiment voiced that you realize you hear it far too seldom. I had this revelation most recently at This Ain’t Hollywood in Hamilton as, in the process of introducing themselves, St. Catharines anti-oppressive doom duo Vile Creature acknowledged their experiences with sex-gender discrimination as well as their own white privilege. It’s not so much the sentiment itself (though I applaud it) as the context that was so striking. Metal isn’t exactly known for wearing its (identity) politics on its sleeve.
Admittedly, this particular context was more punk than metal, the latest edition of Sunday Slamfest presented by Jamie Problem and Hammer City Records. (But even punk, for all its anti-establishment ethos, hasn’t been inherently women-friendly or queer-friendly – those spaces have had to be fought for and carved out with sweat and blood.) We missed the first two bands but arrived in time for some high-energy, stripped down rock and roll from the MOTHERFUCKERS (Calgary) and RIPCORDZ (Montreal). They were entertaining but not what we were there for. When Vile Creature stepped up to bring things to a close they promised to slow it down about “400 percent.” We moved closer to the stage. And they delivered.
It wasn’t perfection. The drum kit seemed a little unstable and the drummer was nursing a bloody and likely broken finger, not to mention a dead mic. But Vile Creature’s set was exquisite nonetheless – soul-crushingly heavy, achingly melodic, gloomily but vibrantly alive…
You can get a taste of Vile Creature courtesy of Bandcamp. Stream their debut, download it, pay what you can. And catch them live, if you get a chance, as they tour through parts of Canada and the U.S. Tonight Vile Creature are in London, Ontario, performing with Hunter Gatherer at the APK.