Our fellow Pouzza Fest-goers The Tenenbaums have released their new record We’ll Always Have Millhouse. These gritty, fun-loving punk rockers teased us by releasing a couple tracks “Phase” and “Break” on Bandcamp in August, but have made good on their promise to deliver all six tracks that are sure to give you a quick dose of adrenaline clocking in at just over twenty minutes.
These long-time friends from Eastern Ontario have a few releases under their belt now and are really showing that they have found their sound, particularly on Millhouse. The album is a bit of a departure from 2014’s Fish – they’ve slowed things down a bit without losing any of the actual energy which makes their music so enthralling. Songs like “Friends”, “Yard Sale(s)”, and “Break” begin with a reverb-laden clean guitar intro, which eventually break out into the chaos we know and love. Lead singer Sheehan Jordan’s gravelly vocals fit just right, and are a little more intelligible to the listener than on Fish. This is a all-out fun record with moments of restraint balanced with just a little bit of chaos. Have a listen to a full stream of We’ll Always Have Millhouse below.
Be sure to check The Tenenbaums out tonight at The Dom as they play a CKCU Fundraising concert and live broadcast. $10/9pm/19+.
The term prolific comes up too easily when describing a productive beat-maker. So instead of slapping it on Jean-Paul Tyo, also (if not only) known as Jeepz, I’ll call it something else. He is productive, sure—last year he released 18 beat tapes and this fall he’ll release his 50th—but he should be called passionate. The sound engineer of “vintage futuristic boom-bap” searches wide for music to give MCs their fix, and he clearly loves his work.
Today he released Campus Radio, a culmination of new tunes gleaned from campus-run radio stations. It’s full of soulful and heavy instrumentation lapped over rap lyrics, sometimes song lyrics, and radio announcers describing their programs. CKCU & CHUO figure prominently on a tracklist based on their weekly shows, with more than a few local flairs. The third track uses the root of “Dubai, Bye Baby, Dubai” by Silkken Laumann. A whole joint is dedicated to CHUO’s Cypher hosted by DJ So Nice, Killa Kambow and CIRCA Beatz. It’s nice to hear Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” in there too.
Jeepz keeps people with the same passion close. The work he’s done with G.Grand alone really speaks to what he contributes to an MC’s rhymes, not to mention Just Poets and Kay Flow. And there are many new projects on the way too, all currently hiding in his hard drive.
Stream Campus Radio while you check Jeepz’s insightful answers to questions I put to him last week. The roots of his producing, his favourite Ottawa musicians, and his thoughts on labels all figure prominently here. Respect.
From what I can see on Bandcamp you’ve been making beat tapes since 2011, but how long have you been sampling and tweaking sounds?
I started releasing beat tapes in Spring 2012, but had been making beats for a few years prior. I first started off dropping occasional beats on Soundcloud but preferred the approach of making cohesive projects to be released as quasi-albums which led to the switch in method of release.
Did you have an “oh shit” moment with a certain record or artist that made you want to produce music?
I can definitely attribute my beginnings directly to one singular album: Blu & Exile’s Below The Heavens. This was the album that made me fall back in love with hip-hop, the same way I did when I first got into Talib Kweli in the early 2000s, or hearing “Nas Is Like” in the mid-90s. These were the three big moments for me as a fan… But Exile’s work fascinated me and I listened to it front to back every day for about a year. I needed to learn to do what he was doing. That was the moment I wanted to be a producer.
Who are your favourite acts/musicians in Ottawa these days on top of your collaborators?
I am a big fan of Buck N’ Nice. They set a bar in talent & work that makes me increase my compete level. City Fidelia is a really talented dude as well. Production-wise, I think Goldstripes is extremely slept on. Outside of hip-hop, I really enjoy Claude Munson & The Storm Outside, Thrifty Kids, Loon Choir. The AK-47s were sweet as well, though I don’t think they have done anything of late. I’m also a big fanboy of Leif Vollebekk. He is originally from Ottawa, and I went to high school with him as well as did my Philosophy undergrad with him, but now he’s out touring the world sharing his Dylan-like brand of genius.
What are your aspirations in the beat-making game?
A few things. To eventually produce for rappers I’ve looked up to. I’d love to produce a track for Blu, Versis, or J.Cole. I’d really just like for my name to someday be spoken in conversations alongside other greats. For heads to talk about Dilla, Madlib, and Jeepz as influences would be something else. I’ll know I made it when Nardwuar calls me for a interview! I’d like to say I’m trying to build a legacy, but without it sounding so narcissistic. Beyond that, my angle is now to try and learn sound engineering on a greater level, where I can eventually treat it as an art form and not just science.
Campus radio stations have provided you with a lot of good material, are there other places you look for eclectic music?
Vinyl, first and foremost. Just buying dollar bin gems because of the cover art or list of instruments on the back can lead you to some pretty awesome stuff. There are also crate-diggers online that expose their finds which is so dope. For example, the two Parisian crate-diggers, Jero and Cottich, who I collaborated with on “From Paris, With Love”. All the samples were dug up on dusty records five timezones away for me to chop up. That was really fun to work on. At the end of the day, whether it be a record shop, a Youtube channel, or a radio station, the best and most interesting music will always be found wherever a ridiculously passionate person is curating the selection.
Is there a music genre you won’t touch?
I prefer not touching new music (post-1990) but at the end of the day, everything is fair game to me. As long as I believe I’m creating something new with it, and I like the sound, I’m in. I do however, prefer the dynamic, warm, analog, and unquantized sounds of earlier music… I tend to lean towards whatever has heart, emotion, and grit to it.
When are you going to start your own label?
Ha! My MCs ask me the same question. I prefer just being part of a loosely affiliated collective of like-minded artists. Think Soulquarians. I just want to stick to the music. As I develop my sound and grow the catalog, it becomes more evident when something is “Jeepz-produced” and I am blessed to have found artists with whom my sounds mesh.
But unless there is a label that is funded and paying the projects and everything affiliated to it (marketing, touring, merch, recording), I think creating “labels” for the sake of it is nonsense and a vain attempt at legitimacy. Shots fired. Oops.
Hopes and dreams for the Ottawa hip hop scene?
Whether they are from Ottawa or not, I just want all hardworking, talented, and unique artists to get their shine. I try to not look at things from a city standpoint. I just believe in good music. But the last little while has been very positive for the local hip-hop scene and it seems to have more and more credibility and exposure. This is apparent in increasing media coverage, and involvement with bigger platforms like Arboretum and Bluesfest.
There is no reason for anyone to feel restrained by the “small-city” issue. Just make good music and seek/seize opportunities. We are seeing that happen right now and I’m trying to do my part by providing the tools for talented people to make their bars into reality.
We actually recorded this EP in our drummers basement. We’d tried to record it over a year before we actually released it but plans kept falling through and eventually we just decided to get it done the only way it looked like we could. We rented the equipment we didn’t already have and just banged it out.
We had the EP mixed and mastered by the wonderful Julian Mazzola. He’s a great guy, great musician and worked with us every step of the way to getting this EP sounding the best we could. Couldn’t have been happier than we were working with Julian.
What was the process like?
Long and arduous are the only two ways to describe it. Like we said earlier, we’d been trying to get it recorded and ready for a release starting in the beginning of 2013! All in all, we’re happy with how it came out so we can’t complain to much about the path we took to get there. It was definitely a journey with a lot of learning along the way and hopefully it’ll help us with our future releases.
Influence wise, what drew you guys to deathcore?
Matt: Personally for me it was something different. It was something I’d never heard of before, and it was interesting. All the musicianship behind it really helped too, there’s a lot of stuff people don’t see from an outside viewpoint. I feel like once you get really into it you start to notice the little things and they become a lot bigger things, you start to notice that the guys who write this type of music are some of our era’s best musical minds, in my opinion.
Paul: I’m more of a “prog” guy typically – real wanky guitars, Rody Walker vocals, concept albums and the like – but deathcore has a certain flavour that progressive usually lacks – heaviness. Sometimes you just want to shut your brain down and listen to / write the heaviest thing you can.
Aiden: I really loved the idea of not confining yourself to set formula when writing- you write what feels right and what sounds good, not what you think “fits” in your genre. I also loved that we could set ourselves apart- we could do things you wouldn’t expect in the genre and be able to distinguish ourselves. I love the ability to write melodically and cater to my heavier tastes, I love it.
Cole: Suicide Silence drew me to deathcore. Listening to them for the first time was a sort of revelation. I went to Matt and said that this is what I wanted to do, and we started hearing our sound towards that type of music. We fell in love with the genre.
For people just finding out about In Darkening Daylight – what makes the band stand out?
We try to take a different approach to songwriting. We don’t immediately shut down an idea because it isn’t “metal enough”. We try to take risks, what we like to think of as calculated risks, to not only further our own musicianship but to introduce whoever listens to us to something new.
What is your opinion on the current state of metal, both locally and in general?
Matt: I think metal is getting to a place it needs to be. We have some of the greatest musicians coming to the table and making great music it’s just having to sift through all the saturated bullshit to get to that good stuff that I don’t like right now.
Aiden: I think metal is in an odd transitory period right now, with so many different genres and sub-genres popping up because it is a relatively young style of music. That being said, I don’t think its ever been better. It feels like nowadays your first EP can be heard, and you dont need a label to do it. I think the community is growing, and that it’s only going up from here.
Matt: Mitch Lucker was huge for me. He was just a massive influence for me. He embodied the type of person I wanted to be, who in the scene I wanted to sound like. So it’d have to be him or local boys Eric and Stevie Morotti (Blind Witness/ Killitorous and Obey The Brave respectively). Those guys took their dream and are just killing it, I’d like to try and do the same if I can.
Paul: The dudes in Protest the Hero – fellow Ontario shitheads, humble, insanely talented and killer songwriters. If you can’t tell, I really like PTH.
Aiden: I know I’ll probably catch flack for this, but Avenged Sevenfold is definitely that band for me- they really caught my attention and brought me in to the world of music in a whole different way. Their earlier albums like Sounding The Seventh Trumpet and Waking The Fallen got me completely obsessed with metal, and convinced me that I wanted to play guitar and I wanted to play metal. Many, many bands have influenced my tastes since, but nothing has ever stuck with me like they did.
Cole: Dave Mustaine from Megadeth was a huge influence for me, not just his style of playing but his personality as well. His general just not giving a fuck attitude, the way he changed metal at the time. Without him I feel like metal could of went a whole other direction.
Musician you can’t stand?
Matt: It’s probably cliché to say Justin Bieber at this point but his music and face make me want to drive my face through a wall at top speed. So probably him.
Paul: The singer for Dream Theater; I can’t listen to that band because of him.
Aiden: Drake. I have never heard a less talented, more popular artist and I cannot STAND to hear a single word he says, let alone “raps”. They should really start leaving that to the professionals.
Cole: I can’t stand any of these so called artists played on the radio. I don’t even want to call them artists, at this point autotune and studio editing does all the work for them.
Matt: Also a super hard question. It changes a lot but one of my all time favourites is Waking The Fallen by Avenged Sevenfold. It made me want to scream because I originally tried singing, which didn’t turn out well at all. When I heard Matt Shadows scream on that album I was like “Maybe I could try doing that?”. It seems to have worked out I think so I’m glad for that album.
Paul: Kezia by Protest the Hero. Concept Album? Check. Ridiculous riffs I wish I could play? Check. Surprise, surprise. As far as most influential? Rust in Peace by Megadeth, first metal album I feel in love with.
Aiden: Waking The Fallen would have to take the cake on that one, but seeing as a certain somebody already covered it, I’m going to go with For Those Who Have Heart (The Re-issue) from A Day To Remember. That album hits home for me in a hundred different ways, and it really started me thinking about what makes something really great. I love every song on that album, and I can listen to it the entire way through over and over. Part of what makes me love it is that it was the first time I ever heard a band go “Genre? Fuck that.” They just played what they wanted and didn’t care is it wasn’t “heavy enough” or anything like that. Honestly inspirational.
Cole: That’s a difficult question. I’d have to say Megadeth’s Killing is my Business… And Business is Good! All the thrash elements were in that album, ballistic drum beats, ripping solos and some great raw vocals. I love that album to DETH.
8 & 9 Strings. Yay or Nay?
Matt: Love the look and sound. Will we ever play them? Not sure, that’s something the guitarists would have to decide. I think they’re great though.
Paul: Yay but also nay: 9 strings are stupid if you’re only going to use the bottom two strings. I’m all for tuning stupid low (such as to C#) and chugging, but might as well do it on a baritone 6 instead of a nine if that’s all you’re doing. I am also pretty sure my hands are physically too small for a 9, so 8 would be my limit.
Aiden: Yes, yes, and yes. I love the low register guitars, and they are fun as hell to play. It really makes you look at the instrument differently, because all of a sudden you can go just about anywhere. High, low, you’ve got it. I think they sound killer and they definitely aren’t just props- you can write some cool stuff on those things.
Cole: I play bass, 5 strings is definitely enough for me.
If you could punch one person in the face, who would it be and why?
Matt: Paul, because he’s new and needs to be taught a lesson.
Paul: Matt because he’s the prettiest and needs to match the rest of us.
Aiden: I’d punch matt and paul, because they need to stop hitting each other RIGHT NOW.
Cole: I would punch someone but I’m on parole.
Are there any shows coming up with you guys that we should check out?
Not currently, but we’ll have some this coming summer. Any show announcements will be announced through our Facebook page, Twitter and other social media accounts.
With the new EP out now, what are you guys up to next?
Definitely writing. We have a lot of downtime and we’ll be using all of it to write new material to play live and maybe try and get into a studio to start working on another release. We’ll also be working on some new merch stuff and booking some shows.
Check out In Darkening Daylight’s debut EP, Cleanse on bandcamp by clicking here!
We are a six-piece metal band from Oshawa, Ontario. We’ve been a band since late 2008 but have really got the ball rolling in 2011 with our first album, We Are The Destroyer.
Our members and instruments are as followed:
Tyler Kameda – Vocals
Aaron Swain – Vocals
Joey Kalnay – Guitar
Dan East – Bass
Conor Coupland – Guitar
Ryan Claxton – Drums
In a metal scene that is becoming so… happy, it’s refreshing to see a band bring it back down to the level where the term “metal” is actually acceptable.
To all those out there just hearing about you guys, why are you not a positive band?
Well, we write and play music to have fun but it’s also to get our anger out. Thats why we aren’t a positive band. Anytime we feel angry or upset, Tyler and Aaron will use that and put it into lyrics. We have a numerous comments about how humble and nice we are in person, but our music is very angry and we give everyone the same answer..you are witnessing what we consider our anger management our release.
Tell us about your new EP, Atheos.
Where and who did you record with?
What was the songwriting process?
With Atheos, we had originally recorded it in the spring with the same guy who did our single for “FFT (Fist Flavoured Teeth)”, but spent months messing around with it only to have original mixes lost and a whole bunch of bullshit. We later decided to record it ourselves, in the comfort of our own jam room with the help from Alex Leech of Sleep When You’re Dead.
As for the songwriting process I feel like it was a lot more “thought out” than our first EP, We Are The Destroyer. Lyrically and musically it’s way different. We’ve grown up a lot since then, and gained more mature members in the process. The lineup we have now is the one Joey and Ryan had envisioned since day one, and having Dan join the writing process, it has put a whole new spin on our sound.
For the track “Belial”, you had Michael Hewat from Drag the Lake – how was it working with him?
Mike is such an amazing dude to work with. Very passionate, hardworking individual. Our relationship with him and the rest of the guys in Drag The Lake have grown so much over the past two years, it’s always a good time hanging out and playing shows with them. We’re nothing but both grateful and honoured to have him on a track with us.
Where can fans pick up Atheos?
Atheos can be picked up at any show of ours as well as our Big Cartel website, and on iTunes!
If This Is Death Valley had a message to their fans – what would it be?
If we had a message to our fans it would be to never give up on what you believe in. Stay true to yourself and if anyone pushes you around, stand up for yourself and knock them in the fucking teeth.
Do you guys have any upcoming shows?
As of right now, we have nothing to announce but do have things in the works. A lot of “behind the scenes” things are going on, but we also need to work a little more away from the band so we can get ourselves another touring vehicle. Then we can hit the road again.
2014 saw the release of Atheos, what can we expect from the band in 2015?
I can’t elaborate too much on what we have in store for 2015, but let’s just say it’ll be a busy year.
Any shout outs to fans, promoters, etc?
Absolutely! Any promoter who has ever booked our band and given us a chance to play in their area we are extremely grateful for, and too every fan who has supported us over the years by buying merch or have even just come out to one of our shows and supported what we do.
We would also like to give a quick shoutout to all the bands we’ve gotten the privilege of sharing the stage with, including all our good friends in Sleep When You’re Dead, Weston, Drag The Lake, Beguiler, Enter Euphoria, Writhen, Signifier, Rosewood, My Home The Catacombs, Cuff, Ending Tyranny, Down Pour Designs, Challenge Accepted, 420 Klick, Obliterate, and Pronostic. Just to name a few haha.
It has been said that Ottawa is the city that fun forgot – a cliché if there was one. However, if you suppose that that statement is true, then consider the state of the Ottawa Valley. I grew up in the small town of Barry’s Bay, Ontario, which is literally right next door to the middle of nowhere – Algonquin Provincial Park. As a youth growing up there, I can tell you that there wasn’t all that much happening. There was a ski hill, which obviously meant that if you wanted something to do during the winters, you skied. If you were a jock, you played in one of the after-school sports at Madawaska Valley District High School (MVDHS). But if you weren’t a jock, there wasn’t all that much you could gravitate towards. Sure, there were house parties to go to every now and then, but I was pretty straight-edge: I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol until my 19th birthday. So those parties, for me, were often rather middling at best.
However, music geeks such as me did have an underground network of friends and acquaintances that provided mixtapes or CDs for you to record on your own. And, in the final year of my studies at MVDHS, something happened. A local country-rock band emerged: Fireweed. And they had a CD to shill! Drinking Man was a source of salvation. It gave you concerts to go to, and a reason to be proud of the area you grew up in. Fireweed – which has since changed their name to The Fireweed Company – remains an incredibly popular band in the Madawaska Valley. Their concerts routinely pull in 800 people in an area where only a few thousand live. Consider that for a moment if you’re an Ottawa band. Wouldn’t you love to have 800 people show up to your gigs? In that sense, Fireweed was and is one of the most enduring and well-liked groups in the Ottawa region.
Not everything was all wine and roses, though. As is the case with many Valley bands, the group had its issues cracking the Ottawa market. I interviewed the band extensively during the mid-90s and, on one occasion, while sitting down with the outfit for a feature in Carleton University’s student newspaper, the Charlatan, in September 1995, guitarist and backing vocalist Steve Gutoskie lamented the fact that Fireweed just wasn’t getting any respect in O-town.
“Ottawa has slammed the door in our face,” he said. “Everyone’s heard of us, and CHEZ and the university stations occasionally play our stuff, but stations like the Bear and the CBC just won’t support us. They won’t even return our phone calls.” However, Fireweed did have a streak of supportiveness for their peers. Bassist Bob Coulas said in the same interview that, “Music isn’t a competition. We want to listen to other (local) bands and like them, and we just want to play.”
And play the group has throughout nearly 25 years. Formed in 1992 in Killaloe, Ontario, Fireweed centers around the slice-of-life lyrics of singer and rhythm guitarist Jayson Bradshaw and the fiery lead guitar attack of Gutoskie. I had the pleasure of seeing Fireweed live on many occasions, and I can tell you that they are an incendiary group: Gutoskie has been known to burn the barn doors down on a cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl”.
If you haven’t heard of Fireweed, musically they are a cross between the Canadiana blues rock of the Tragically Hip and more country rock stylings. Listening to the Drinking Man now, I hear a certain debt to Hootie and the Blowfish. However, that comparison might be a delusory one. It shouldn’t be, as Fireweed certainly are a more serious and honed band than Hootie ever was, but a touch of that
The key to appreciating Drinking Man, which was made in a marathon 36-hour recording session at Toronto’s Metalworks studio and mastered by Peter Moore, who had produced the Cowboy Junkies, is entering the album through the lyrics. Bradshaw has an uncanny eye for detail in portraying the lives of characters that live in small villages. “Well, I can’t stand this town no more / Time to run from my conscience, in the morning it’s no more / Time to run and hide – leave this town behind,” Bradshaw sings on “Sore Conscience”.
Drinking Man, indeed, is choc-a-bloc with stories about people who populate the villages of the Valley: “Three Shots” is a harrowing story of domestic assault that ends in murder, and the title track is about a man with “no education, no skills or trade.” “Box of Beer”, a rocking punky number, is a sarcastic look at the drinking and drug culture of the Valley. (I wound up calling in and requesting the song to be played at 4 a.m. one morning on CKCU when I apparently couldn’t sleep, and they actually honoured my request.)
There are deviations from the country-rock tinged sounds on the album, though. “Stone Jammin’” is very much a nod to the alterna-rock scene of the time, owing a great deal to Pearl Jam, and the album ends with a spoken word piece, “Home Tattoo”. While there might be obvious influences and touches of styles of music that were popular at the time, the band was trying to do its own thing. “Writing-wise, I don’t have another band as an influence,” Bradshaw told me in an interview for the Eganville Leader in August 1994. “I like other bands but I don’t ever look at them and say, ‘I want to write like that or sound like that.’ I try to stay away from sounding like other bands because originality is the bottom line.”
As to his lyrical genesis, Bradshaw also explained, “If you watch the news, you can find a story anywhere really. Or watch your next door neighbours sometimes … .” Drinking Man remains a key album of the Ottawa Valley, just as important as anything recorded by folk group the Wilno Express. It was a successful album for the band: a year after its release, it had gone on to sell 850 copies (again, local bands may salivate at that sales figure). While the record is now sadly out of print, the band members still get asked about it on the streets of their respective towns (the group is now based in Combermere, Pembroke and Wilno). However, you can listen to the record for free on the CBC Radio 3 website.
The group, which has undergone some personnel changes and the slight name change (though Bradshaw and Gutoskie still remain), has since gone on to release a sophomore record, 2007’s As long as you know … , which is arguably tighter and more focused. The Fireweed Company has also released a video for a tune that has yet to show up on an album for “The Philosophical Song”. Definitely, the Fireweed Company is still going strong, and Drinking Man remains a testament to forging one’s own path in a region where there isn’t all that much to do, so you might as well make your own entertainment. That the album still sounds fresh and fundamental, some 20 years later, shows just how essential a record it is.
The next time you’re in the Valley, and these guys are playing a show, certainly do try to check them out. You’ll be in for a very, very good time. Until then, we thankfully have their recorded output to tide us over, especially for those of us simply looking for a good time to be had in the comfort of your own home.
Zachary Houle is the Canadian Music Editor for PopMatters.com, a Chicago-based webzine that attract 1.3 million unique visitors globally each month. He also reviews books for bookwookie.ca. In addition to his music and book writing, he has had freelance journalism published in SPIN, the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and Canadian Business. He also dabbles in fiction and poetry, and his work here has been published in literary magazines in Canada, the US and the UK. He was a recipient of an emerging artist grant from the City of Ottawa, and was nominated for a US Pushcart Prize for his work.
This Saturday is going to change your life. Actually, you might just end up doing some Christmas shopping alongside other quality humans, participating in a discussion about accessibility in our music scene, and seeing a few Canadian bands at the top of their game. Either way, you’ll be glad you went out.
The day kicks off with the first annual GABBA! HEY! HOLIDAY! SALE! from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Gabba Hey!, a.k.a. the Capital Rehearsal Studio, has increasingly become more of a centre for nice, fascinating people to make great things together. Put on by local record label Bruised Tongue, the sale is looking to be another prime gathering. Artists, clothing designers, and creators from around the city will be there to connect and maybe make some extra change for the holidays. Admission is pay-what-you-can (PWYC) and some proceeds will go to the Ottawa Food Bank. There will be vegan snacks. Gabba Hey! is an otherworldly place where good people come together, and there are dance-offs on Valentine’s Day.
Then, at Raw Sugar from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Debaser and Weird Canada are hosting a free discussion entitled FRYQ: THE GATHERING. A panel, curated by moderator Emily McQuarrie, will lead a conversation focused on accessibility in Ottawa’s music scene. The event will hopefully be a step toward being more inclusive of individuals who consider themselves to be outsiders in our community. Exclusion due to age, race, disability, gender, and sobriety will be touched on. Let’s have a talk about what we can do to find a space where we all belong.
At 8 p.m., the all-ages FRYQUENCY’S ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY will take us into the night. To celebrate the twelfth edition of Weird Canada’s concert series, Mugshots will be hosting an evening of psych, noise and weirdo-rock provided by Grime Kings, WTCHS and Fet.Nat. PWYC entry will also get you a copy of the Fryquency zine, finally finished after months of work from a crack team of local lizards. Last time I caught Grime Kings, lead singer/songwriter Callum Runciman continued to solo for nearly two minutes after a song was done. This show is a must.
Those are a few things that are happening Saturday. Come in from the cold and into warm rooms with art, tea and grunge bands.
I decided to try something a little different than my regular posts, and that is listening to twenty songs that I have come across as a radio host on CKCU 93.1 FM’s Morning Metal. Keep in mind, I am constantly updating these – but these are my most recent!
In my time, I have come across many amazing musicians and bands who have released outstanding albums, but I am going to narrow it down into the Twenty Songs of War. It is exactly what it sounds like; my top twenty songs to game to. Be it World of Warcraft, Borderlands or Call of Duty – metal has no substitute to get you fired up to the point that you want to go on a warpath.
I suggest creating a playlist and buying these songs so you can do what I do; destroy things electronically. These are my most recent;
#20: Sail Into The Black – Machine Head
This track appears on Machine Head’s newest album Bloodstone & Diamonds and isn’t exactly the most aggressive and hard-hitting song to appear in my war list, but it provides an excellent vibe to start things off. Sailing into the black that is my fuelled gaming tendencies, if you will.
Let’s face it, when it comes to 5FDP – you know damn well that they can incite a riot. It is because of that that they need to be at the early stages of the playlist to really get the blood rushing through your head. Double bass drums make you want to run faster, shredding solos and microphone-abusing vocals just… ugh.
Red Skies released this bad boy on Identitas last year and it is still on my list for two reasons. 1) They’re Canadian and 2) The entire powerhouse that is Red Skies just makes you want to charge some noobs.
Ola Englund is one of my greatest pleasures when it comes to metal music. The guy writes some of the heaviest riffs and has some of the coolest solos, specifically in Four. Quite simple, but fast paced and angry. KILL, KILL, KILL!
Again, a song that encourages you to rush across the map hunting for some snipers. When it comes to snipers, it is true when Chris says “You make me fu$%ing sick!” Seriously, get an M4 and noobtube like the rest of us.
A Scar For The Wicked is a band that has surprised me quite a lot since I first saw them live. Perth death metal that doesn’t disappoint when they turn their amps to 11. The guitar-drum trade off in this song will always be one of my favourites.
One of the more light-hearted tracks to appear on this playlist, but still has the right amount of intensity to fit in. Reshaun’s growls tickle me in places (I’m obviously talking about my hands) when doing battle.
While this album may have disappointed some of those metal goblins, who can seemingly never be pleased, I quite enjoyed .5; The Gray Chapter. “Custer” sticks out to me because it is without question the heaviest track on the album. Plus, you will always need a Slipknot track when pumping up.
#12: The Whole World Is My Enemy Now – Upon A Burning Body
At this point in the playlist, you will feel both energized and enraged enough to fully appreciate this song. Granted, UABB isn’t the most creative band in the metal community BUT DAMN CAN THEY MAKE YOU AMPED UP. After Slipknot, the whole world truly is your enemy now. Even your allies aren’t safe from your hulk-like mode.
Once again, a Ola Englund appears! The Haunted made the incredibly intelligent decision to bring Englund on board for Exit Wounds back in 2013, and his first contribution to the band was “Time (Will Not Heal)” and it is so heavily Englund-esque.
#8: Unanswered – Suicide Silence (ft. Phil Bozeman)
SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE. Whose Mitch Lucker again? Oh yeah, he’s that guy that couldn’t compete with Phil Bozeman’s vocal abilities. May he rest in peace. Honestly though, Bozeman’s cover of “Unanswered” during the Memorial show is one of the most crushing covers in existence.
When I put together a playlist, hearing a band that has been played recently really brings the gaming rage full circle. Also appearing on Bloodstones & Diamonds, “Take Me Through The Fire” ends the album with quite a high-light.
Not only is Maria Brink an absolute fox, she has a voice that will pierce glass every time she screams. Specifically with this song from 2014’s Black Widow, it gives you a very eerie-Marilyn Manson like vibe with Brink screaming “Even in these chains, you can’t stop me”. It makes you feel unstoppable. It even has a little break between the intensity to give you a build-up.
Avatar is a band that has impressed me consistently with every release. An incredibly under-appreciated band from Sweden, these dudes know how to write some killer battle tunes. Hail the apocalypse, indeed.
Hate on this band all you want, “Morte et Dabo” is one of the heaviest songs in the world of new age metalcore. Angry lyrics, angry delivery and heavy drums. While these songs aren’t meant to be directly paid attention to, this is one you can really get into the groove with.
There is something about symphonic metal and war games that goes together so well, it’s almost unfair for every other genre. Be it the soaring vocals or the onslaught of riffage, Delain has been one of my favourite bands for the last year.
And no, it’s not just because Charlotte Wessels is my metal crush. Nice try.
New At The Gates is perfect for war, especially this song. It’s got a grooving riff, powerhouse vocals and the drums just rule. It’s quite the difference between Delain, but the final two are perfect opposite ends.
Viathyn, a four-piece progressive power metal band from Calgary, Canada will be releasing their follow-up to 2010’s The Peregine Way on October 7th, 2014, entitled Cynosure.
I came across this band thanks to the incredible Jon Asher from Asher Media Relations a few days ago, and popped Cynosure into the car while cruising around. I had no idea what this band would sound like, where they were from or any idea they even existed up until that point – to which I feel pretty guilty. Thankfully Jon knows how to pick them and our musical tastes are extremely close.
Listening to the first track, “Ageless Stranger”, reminded me of old school Ensiferum. Fast paced, soaring vocals and ripping solos, it pretty much set the album in stone for me in terms of raw “badass-ness”. I could only hope the rest of the album would be as monstrous as this first track.
Second on the album is “The Coachman”, which was released a few weeks ago. Hands down, my favorite song on this album. I always love a band that has a story-line within the song, and even from the start the lyrics are superb. Vocalist Tomislav Crnkovic has one of the smoothest and grooviest melodic lines I have heard from a Canadian band, he’s got the highs that can scare a cat – and he’s got a metal as fuck name.
One key point that I really like about these guys is they didn’t just spew out 10 tracks that are two minutes long. Each song has an average run time of about seven minutes, which by bands nowadays – is ridiculous. Keep in mind, even when bands write longer songs it tends to tread off and never return to the original idea. Viathyn executes each song perfectly, on game and completely in your face. The production quality on this album is excellent, which I believe was done at Perfect Fifth Studios – one of Calgary’s premier metal recording studios.
“Edward Mordrake” – named after the dude from the 1900’s who had “Voldemort Syndrome”, as I like to call it. He essentially had a face on the back of his head, and would whisper evil things to him. Needless to say, that’s perfect metal songwriting territory. “I still hear voices inside” according to front man Tomislav, who does an absolutely killer job on this track. This song features a really intense solo from lead guitarist Jacob Wright, just shredding the sweet holy Hell out of that guitar neck. I really hope that guitar was 18, because damn.
I also have to point out that the interlude-bridge almost put me to sleep with how creamy (is that weird to say?) it is. Smooth sailing after that bitchin’ solo that eventually builds itself back up before another shredinating solo.
“Shadows In Our Wake” is more up my alley in terms of what metal I listen to, because Viathyn is awesome – but I rarely listen to power metal. It sucks on my part because I would find bands like this that completely blow my mind. Dual harmonies, chugging riffs and heavy as hell structuring. Of course, it has the power metal influence for the majority of the song but drifts into my territory for the last minute and a half.
BASS SOLOS! BASS SOLOS EVERYWHERE! “Countess of Discordia” is Alex Kot’s chance to shine with a thumping good time. While bassists usually get thrown under the bus, they make a band sound good or not – and the bass lines completely quake through this bad boy. There are some pretty gnarly squealies in this song, and they may induce an eargasm, so tread lightly.
“Time Will Take Us All” starts off in a different mood, all slow and melodic. For the most part, it’s really driven by the drums which are delivered gloriously from Dave Crnkovic. These are the kinds of tracks that I would play on Morning Metal, because they’re heavy and yet still deliciously relaxing. It gets progressively harder to keep my fanboy squeals to a minimum when Viathyn breaks out the growls on this track. Although it may not suit the song for some power metal fans, it really does the song justice for me.
“Three Sheets To The Wind” opens with tons of little licks. So many licks a cat would be jealous – this is the second time I have referenced a feline and it’s probably because one of them is laying on me while I write this. If you have enjoyed the album so far, you’ll be happy with “Three Sheets To The Wind”. Nothing too special, but not a bad track.
“Albedo”. HOLY SHIT.
The album ends with the title track, “Cynosure”. With my lack of explaining why “Albedo” is a holy shit track, just listen to it. “Cynosure” follows that track like a cigarette after… A previous cigarette. Sitting as the longest track on the album, closing in on 10 minutes (what is this, Dream Theater?), my first immediate reaction was “Goddamnit, I don’t have 10 minutes to sit and listen to a one song and expect to take it all in.” Guess what? It didn’t happen. I listened to a few times before making an educated response (because I have many of those, evidently).
(These dudes look goofy, my kind of metal band.)
You may be off-put by the fact it’s almost 10 minutes, but it really doesn’t feel like it. It’s a very enjoyable song if you’re listening to it and not doing anything else that could take away your attention. The songwriting on this album, especially this track, proves that his band pays attention to what they’re doing and how well they want to the overall vibe to leave on you. Mid-way through the song they whip out another clean bridge to give you a break from all those crazy double kicks. If you were to find an angel just wandering the streets, take his voice and put it into a normal mortal – you would get the vocal abilities of Tomislav Crnkovic.
Cynosure hits the retail and online world October 7th, 2014 and if you know what’s good for your ears – you’ll buy it. Canadian metal, no less – that means you’d be supporting your local metal scene. And that’s always a good thing.
Cynosure will be featured as Morning Metal’s Artist of the Week next week on October 1st, 2014, with Cynosure being played in full.
I also think you should follow Morning Metal on Facebook so you can get updates on new music, radio interviews and tons of other really cool stuff.
You should be familiar with Sovereign Council if you listen to my show or get updates from myself, Ottawa’s music scene, or basically just, you know, metal in Canada. One of Canada’s greatest symphonic metal bands are currently running a kickstarter to fund the production of their currently studio album – currently untitled.
The band is offering really wicked prizes such as digital downloads, physical copies of the new album and New Reign, new t-shirt designs as well as a full-out private Sovereign Council concert. You can donate anywhere from $2 to $3,000 – I recommend donating all of your OSAP funds because you’d be getting a sweet deal and I am pretty sure they would love you forever.
Sovereign Council has been featured as Morning Metal’s very own Artist of the Month in July, as well as performing on CKCU 93.1 FM’s Ottawa Live Music as part of a triple threat metal night. They have worked hard since day one and have proven themselves with the release of New Reign – which is still one of my favorite albums.
If you need anymore incentive to donate, just keep in mind they have two smoking hot babes in the band as well as Chris’ awesome goatee. What more do you need?!
Who are the members of Greylights and what are your respective instruments?
You can check us out on Facebook to see who the members are! We’ve got some announcements coming in the near future. In the mean time, you can check out our official Facebook page for photos, information and upcoming shows.
For new fans – why should they check out Greylights?
We provide a sound that not many other bands have – the keyboards have a huge role in creating atmosphere, and add elements of industrial and electronic music, while still staying true to metal. As well we are committed to constantly improving our live shows, and individual band members are committed to continually striving towards musical excellence. We try and show appreciation to our fans by communicating a lot via social media, doing free ticket draws for every show, inviting local guest vocalists, and giving back as much as possible.
At the very beginning, Greylights was a solo project – whose solo project was it?
Greylights was the solo project of Ciaran Arts, our keyboardist.
You guys have been working on your debut EP, Tarpeia’s Descent, for quite some time. You’ve released four out of five tracks, with “Killing Time” being the most recent. When are you guys hoping to release the EP?
The last two songs are being released by the end of this summer, with the entire EP being available for download at that time. We can’t wait!
Stream “Killing Time”, along with all the other tracks here.
How much of the EP was written before the other members were added?
All of this EP was part of the original Greylight’s solo project excluding Samael, which was co-written with our previous vocalist, Eric Pacheco.
Where did the title Tarpeia’s Descent come from?
Tarpeia is the Greek Goddess of death. It seems like with everything happening on our planet at this time, the powers that be are focused on causing more and more damage. The earth is in serious and possibly irreversible environmental trouble, economies around the world are collapsing, there is always war, somewhere… we are looking at this and wanting to draw attention to the fact that we need to open our eyes, increase our awareness, and live so that we make a difference.
“Infekt Swarm Nine”, the fourth track on the EP, is vastly different from what Greylights has released previously. Where did the inspiration come for a track like that?
The inspiration came from the band Natchmahr, as well as other similarly styled EBM artists. The song was written to stand out on the EP and fully show the electronic influence and capabilities of the band.
Who did you work with for the recording process?
We worked with the delicious Jonh Miller, from the Montreal-based band Projekt F.
For a band that formed very recently, at the end of 2013, you have played with some notable metal bands such as Norma Jean, Black Tongue, Lich King, Emmure, Upon A Burning Body, Sovereign Council, Of Reverie and many, many local bands. Is there a show that has stuck with you guys?
For our very first show back in November 2013, we opened for Schoolcraft (the solo project of Lindsay from Cradle of Filth). This was a really strong start for our band, and we very much appreciated that the promoter had enough faith in our music to give us a chance and put us on this bill for our first show ever. Aside from that, we are grateful for every show that we have been put on, and we enjoy sharing the stage with every band that we have, local or touring.
What bands would you absolutely love to open for?
Born of Osiris, The Browning, Motionless in White, Periphery, Make Them Suffer and Fleshgod Apocalypse. If we could open for Nine Inch Nails, we would immediately all shit our pants!
Bands that are creative! We are always inspired by bands that stand out, that show that they have put work into their musicality and creativity of sound, and that are unique. We really get inspired by bands that use their music to make a difference.
Ahh! There is so much music to appreciate and enjoy and respect – how do we pick one?! We’re just really stoked that there is so much great metal out there.
What is something about metal musicians that you respect?
We respect artists for what they do as long as they are being true to their art. We really respect it when artists stay away from ego, and make sincere efforts to connect with their fans as much as possible.
Does Greylights have any upcoming shows that we should check out?
We have a lot of shows booked at this time – some we can’t announce yet, but those that we can would be Motionless in White, Killitorous and Dark Tranquillity. We always keep our shows updated on our FB page so that people can check at any time for the next show.
Motionless In White, Of Reverie, Of Burning Empires and Greylights – Facebook
Killitorious, In The Act Of Violence, Divine Realm, Lionsbane and Greylights – Facebook
Dark Tranquility, Insomnium, Signs of Chaos and Greylights – Facebook
After the release of Tarpeia’s Descent, what is next?
We have some Ontario/Quebec touring in the works for late summer/early fall, which will be followed by increased touring within Canada. At the same time, we will be regularly playing Ottawa shows. We are working on very heavy promo, a lyric video to be released at the end of the summer followed by a full video, and we have already started writing our second EP. Expect some really cool shit for upcoming live shows…