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Canada Rocks: 5 Toronto and Montreal-Based Rock and Metal Bands that Everyone is Sleeping on (Part 1)

In this post Lance Marwood helps us to highlight five Toronto and Montreal, Canada bands that, while still underground, absolutely deserve your attention. So, without further ado… LISTEN UP!



We’re all pretty tired. We’ve got a lot going on, and that’s why we turn to others, letting them sift through the trash and bringing the crema of quality to our attention. Only problem is, what’s good? Well, you see, I’m a Music Expert (not a real thing), and I graduated from the Toronto Centre For Intellectual Exchange (also not a real thing). Every now and then I’m going to compile a criminally short list for you to peruse, a list of bands that are terrific and are putting out new music right now. They’re about to be big, and they’re better than whatever you’re listening to right now, and there’s at least one or two bands here that will make a perfect match for you. Yes, you. Because I know you, you want some new music that will tear your face off or your heart out. So let’s meet here, every month, and I’ll show you some bands that everyone has been sleeping on.

01. Hopeless Youth (Montréal, Québec | Metal / Crust / Hardcore)

– Why not start this list off with some of the most abrasive hardcore I’ve had the privilege of listening to in ages? It’s fast, it’s relentless, and holy shit is their new EP Devil Walk With Me on point. The Montreal quartet are a force to be reckoned with, and their particular brand of fast and heavy is as fresh as it is intense. It dropped on the 14th, go listen now, shut up, nope, go and listen. Now!

02. Please Drown (Toronto, Ontario | Sludge / Drone / Metal)

– You like heavy music? Yeah, I remember my first beer. I’ve said plenty about their single “Vultures To Feed” that acted as a teaser for their previous album, but by fuck, boys… One listen to their new self-titled EP will have you wishing you would just drown out the dirge of hateful heaviness that is quickly becoming their signature sound, and effectively granting them the title of the “Heaviest Band in Toronto Right Now.” Their EP dropped last Friday, now go and listen to it.

03. Animal Faces (Toronto, Ontario | Punk / Indie / Post-Hardcore)

– For those who know, you know. For those who don’t, you’re missing out on one of the most exciting bands to listen to and witness live. Coming out of Toronto as well, this three-piece have managed to have toured relentlessly in the past, and pressed various full-lengths and EPs and 7-inches and splits, so there’s a bevy of material to lose yourself in for the next few weeks. But their new upcoming full-length, other places, is going to blow your fucking socks off on May 2nd. This is some “Best Album of the Year” shit, sheeple. Wake up and check out the latest track off that album.

04. Respire (Toronto, Ontario | Punk / Atmospheric / Blackened Blackgaze)

– Have you listened to Respire lately? No? Well you can change that when their new full-length, titled Gravity and Grace, drops on April 22. If you like instrumentally-inclined screamo that aims right at the ol’ heart strings, then you’re the chief demographic for this outfit. Just make sure you keep your heart on your sleeve while you let this album wash over you in classic jarring fashion. In the meantime, make sure to check out their older material, it’s brill.

05. Big Knife Little Knife (Montreal, Québec | Punk / Hardcore / Math Rock)

– The best part of this release is the vibe that reminds me of Ancestors and A History Of, both bands that you would also do well to check out if that didn’t mean anything to you. Summoning up memories of ’90s post-hardcore, this is easily one of the most nostalgic-sounding groups on this list, yet far from generic or stereotypical. It’s stripped down, vulnerable, and ear-catching in the best possible way. When Anchor Rights drops on April 29th, make sure you’re ready for the waves coming from this tight Montreal trio.

Stay tuned as we traverse the great Canadian landscape in search of more underground acts totally worthy of your time and earholes. Until then, be sure to check out these new artists!

*Be sure to also check out:
Texas Rocks: 5 Must-Hear Underground East Texas Rock and Metal Bands (Part 1)

Director of Communications @ V13. Lance Marwood is a music and entertainment writer who has been featured in both digital and print publications, including a foreword for the book "Toronto DIY: (2008-2013)" and The Continuist. He has been creating and coordinating content for V13 since 2015 (back when it was PureGrainAudio); before that he wrote and hosted a radio and online series called The Hard Stuff , featuring interviews with bands and insight into the Toronto DIY and wider hardcore punk scene. He has performed in bands and played shows alongside acts such as Expectorated Sequence, S.H.I.T., and Full of Hell.