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Tour Diary: Dead Bob Dig Deep on Their Latest Tour of British Columbia

Canadian punk band Dead Bob takes you along for an in-depth look into their latest tour earlier this month of their native British Columbia.

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Dead Bob, photo by RD Cane

As the former drummer of the now legendary but retired Canadian punk band No Means No, John Wright could have sailed into the sunset. But like any great musician, he has a hunger for more, which has led him to Dead Bob. Dead Bob is the namesake of Wright’s solo project, with his debut album Life Like being released this past spring. Recorded in Wright’s native British Columbia, the material on the album spans several decades. He promises that there is a lot more in the archives, too.

It’s a natural inclination always to categorize music, but Life Like really defies categorization. The songs are far from conventional, each standing out for their own sake. What’s most apparent is that these songs should not be listened to quietly. They were all written and performed by Wright himself, with a few helping hands along the way. Byron Slack (Invasives), Kristy Lee Audette (Rong), Ford Pier (Ford Pier and the Vengeance Trio, DOA, Roots Round Up), and Selina Martin all contributed to this record. Colin MacRae of Pigment Vehicle also added some of his prowess on the electric guitar.

In support of Life Like, Wright was recently out on tour in British Columbia. Today, he joins us for an in-depth look at that tour, with his own tour diary, bringing you into all of the interesting little tidbits of information that take place while a modern musician is out on the road.

November 9th, Downtown Vancouver

“On my way to see The Destroyers. I’ve been practicing the keyboards and the trombone by myself all day and my hands and face are very sore. One week from today, Dead Bob, will wake up in Kamloops, British Columbia, having played our very first show in front of a paying, breathing audience the night before. I have confidence in the power that John’s excellent songs will no doubt exert over a breathing, paying audience, just as I’m confident in the band’s ability to manifest as a capable vehicle for that power, but I’m nervous about meeting the rest of the musicians.

“They’re all much bigger than I am and could easily beat me up if they don’t like me. The bass player, Colin McRae, is said to have a belt of some colour in some lethal practice, and the trumpet player Kristy Audette can bench 600 pounds. This is verified by footage on the internet. I can run pretty fast when I’m properly motivated, or if worse comes to worse I can say confusing things or burst into tears. This works better than you might think; a lot of people don’t want to tangle with a nut. Excited about playing these songs, but for now, I need to quicken my pace lest I miss the opening set by The Frog Eyes.”

November 15th, Practice Studio, Vancouver

“The rehearsals have gone well and we are all encouraged. These people all seem easy enough to get along with and I’m delighted to discover through casual banter that we have certain interests in common. The bass player Colin McRae and I both, for instance, share a keen interest in dowsing, automatic writing, and other divination practices. Still, there’s a look in his eye that lets you know he could throw you through a wall if you get on his bad side. I’ll be careful not to do this.

“John Wright himself is stern, but fair. He performed almost all of the parts of Life Like himself without concern as to whether the arrangement so delivered could be carried off by a performing outfit. The brief for this newly-minted live band is to preserve as many features of the album’s arrangements as possible while taking advantage of whatever specific corporate identity emerges from the group of musicians executing them, and adjusting accordingly. It should also rock.

“There was a surprise for us when we convened at the practice space. We were being waited for there not by our expected sound technician Will Schatz, but a man who said his name was Cory Austin. He had a letter from Will in a green envelope. Its contents were confusing; contradictory explanations about how he was in France accepting a prize. Or he’d ‘forgotten’ he had to move. He assured us that the bearer of this letter possessed skills at the mixing desk that were at least equal to his own, if not greater, and that he’d known him for years and years and would trust him with his life, although we noticed he spelled his name ‘Erskine.’ He included a number we were to call if we had any questions. But that number put us in touch with a dry cleaner in the 515 area code, which is North-Central Iowa. Oh well, Cory seems nice.

“A second hiccup occurred when the suspension mount for John’s 12’ tom, after 32 years of patient service, decided abruptly, ‘Forget you, I quit!’ and snapped. Zap-straps provided a temporary remedy to the problem, but something more robust will have to be secured before we pull out of Vancouver towards our first shows tomorrow.

“Is it my imagination, or are the guitar player Byron Slack and Kristy Audette giving each other ‘The Eye?’

“I’m so excited I can’t sleep.”

November 16th, Kamloops, B.C.

“Everyone is being called on to do something new to them in this band. Vocally, playing-wise, and choreographically. The guitar player Byron Slack, for instance, has never played with other musicians before, having honed his craft in isolation at the various seasonal jobs he takes as a lighthouse keeper or whatever they call those guys who take notes on populations of bears. His first tentative steps into lifting his voice in harmony with others have gone well. He’s a natural!

“Speaking of naturals, Kristy has learned how to play the trumpet especially for this project. After a scant few weeks of attention to the instrument, her facility on it surpasses my own on the trombone, which I’ve been playing since I could hold one. John has never had to carry a show as the lead singer while drumming, having spent his time in NoMeansNo onstage with two other gifted vocalists who could share the load. He could get away with it as the lead singer for The Hanson Brothers because he would usually perform seated in a wheelchair or standing still with his hands on his powerful thighs like Byron’s hero, civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, while Kristy played the drums.

“His demanding arrangements for his beautiful songs have us all singing in registers at the limits of our ranges and applying extended techniques to our instruments that challenge our capabilities. For my own part, I’ve never had to carry my own gear because I’ve always had people like David Macanulty or Brian Goble to do it for me. The disadvantages of performing with the largest rig I ever have are already making themselves felt in my knees and lower back.

“We were met at the space this morning by the driver-merchandise steward Carlos. I had been told beforehand that he had a lead foot. ‘Prone to speeding, is he,’ I might have answered. No, it turns out that he has an actual lead foot. Now, of course everyone knows dozens of people with an actual lead foot. But apparently this lead foot isn’t a prosthetic. Rather, he entered the world that way. If he wants to bring it up, fine, but I’m not going to pry. I’ll say this, though: to watch him dance, you would never guess.

“Carlos took careful notes on a wax tablet while we packed all of our equipment and personal belongings into the two minivans we’ll be taking. We are heavily laden and can look forward to taking on even more bulk when we collect our t-shirts and neckerchiefs in Nelson from the mayor, Brahm Paddyduddy. All we’ll have available for the fans at the first show in Kamloops are some CDs by Colin’s old band Blocked Magus and some trucker hats with nothing on them that I found a box of for 8 dollars at a charity thrift shop on the way to meet everyone. Everything has been secured, and now Byron, Cory, and I are off with Kristy at the wheel of vehicle number one, carrying guitars, keyboards, horns, stands, amps, monitors, personal belongings and sundries. Carlos is driving Colin and John with the drums and that box of hats.

“Update: Carlos didn’t make it out of the Fraser Valley before he was stopped for speeding.

“Second update: Load-in, sound-check, hotel check-in, a snack. All have gone off without a hitch. The stage sound is good and Cory Austin (Erskine?) proved himself out of the gate to be a capable problem-solver and thinker-on-his-feet. I have withdrawn to my hotel room for some contemplation and to pace. I’m nervous. I feel ready.”

November 17th, Upper Arrow Lake Ferry

“You can use us to determine whether or not a machine is intelligent because we are T(O)uring! Last night’s show was a celebration of togetherness and Human Potential. Everyone’s gear functioned properly and very few mistakes were made, although the very slightest would occasion a withering glare from John from over the rim of his now securely-mounted and happily bouncing 12” tom. There’s a complicated schedule of monetary fines for errors in performance which I’m not going to worry about too much. Whatever gets deducted from my pay gets deducted from my pay and I’m just going to keep my head down and do my best.

“The assembled multigenerational throng were appreciative and gratified us by being familiar enough with the material from Life Like for a good many of them to be singing along. Even some of the chestnuts in the set by John’s old band NoMeansNo brought a glimmer of recognition. Everyone in the group is a unique and commanding physical presence and whenever one of us has something tricky to do requiring special concentration, we can be sure that one of the others is going to be providing something to draw the beholder’s focus. I can’t think of the last time I was in a band with two jugglers. Maybe not since I was a teen.

“Afterwards, we enjoyed a drink together and showed each other pictures of our families and pets. Team building! Also, we got some mildly destabilizing news about our show in Vernon on Saturday. In the time it took us to perform, tear down, pack up, and repair to our accommodation, the Vernon date was cancelled and moved to a new location in Kelowna. Details about the reasons behind this were vague and second-hand; we only found out on MySpace. Apparently something to do with the Vernon venue drawing attention for being late with the renewal of the gaming license for their vintage one-arm bandit? Dunno.

“Anyway, by the time we found out about the problem, it seemed to have been solved, and this change of plans did nothing to affect our good spirits. If we’re successful in getting the word out about the change of locale, it could actually work in our favour, as the guitar player Byron has family there. Carlos blithely declared he had sold every hat in that box at a substantial markup! I drifted off to sleep positively on cloud nine and I only wish that the next two nights and the two weekends ahead could go on all winter. The drive today has so far been gorgeous but uneventful.

“Left behind: one trombone stand.”

November 18th, Nelson B.C.

“The honeymoon’s over. These punks are beginning to chafe me. In restaurants, the guitar player Byron Slack will tell waitstaff that you’re done with your meal if you excuse yourself to make a call or visit the can before you’re through. Whenever you tell him, ‘Byron, please don’t do that again.’ He answers, ‘Sorry, I thought you were done (laughs)!’ Like that, in a way that lets you know for sure he’s going to do it next time. If you know he’s going to do this, then why get up in the middle of a meal? Because I will not have my will or my nature submit to the likes of Byron Slack is why.

“Kristy Odette is a capable driver, if maybe a little too cautious, but she has all kinds of ‘rules’ for the van about where you can put things and what’s not allowed in or out or who gets out first and she gets to pick all the music, which is exclusively ambient-drone-glitch stuff. What she cheerfully calls Endurance Listening. Cory doesn’t say much, but sometimes he’ll smile just slightly with his gaze fixed at no particular point in the middle distance, as though experiencing a fond memory, and he won’t tell you what it was about. Maybe I’m overreacting but it makes me want to kill him.

“I will channel these frustrations into the show. Frustration and anxiety are the chief themes of the songs on Life Like. Perhaps by applying what I understand to be some of the techniques of the Stanislavsky System employed by method actors, I can deliver a performance of greater impact. Professionalism.

“We pulled up to the Royal in Nelson not too long after anticipated. The atmosphere was electric. Anticipation seeped from the storied cobblestones where Steve Martin and Fred Willard once sauntered arm-in-arm. Some urchins loitering outside the venue helped us carry our things inside and then hung around waiting for tips that were not forthcoming. I gave one of them the last hat from that box which Carlos didn’t sell because it had mustard on it. A teachable moment.

“Setup and soundcheck went quickly. When I first put this keyboard rig together, setup would take me the better part of an hour. I’m now down to just over 20 minutes. The job has been made quicker by different colours of metallic ink on the ends of cables. It is my aim to be able to pull it off in under 15 minutes blindfolded by the last show of this salvo in Powell River on December 3rd. I might not be able to do it. I still can’t feel the difference between the different colours of metallic ink.

“Schedules are tighter these days than they used to be and it wasn’t long after our soundcheck that the first opening band, Rad Dog, went on. They boasted two drum kits and their guitar player had just bought a guitar for 600 dollars that he was very pleased with, but did not use during their performance. They set up on the floor so the switchover to the next band, Hippiecritz, was swift. Both bands were excellent and did the important jobs of putting the crowd in a good mood, which only makes our job easier, and of giving us something to play up to, which makes our job harder, but in the good way.

“I went into the room behind the stage to stretch and vomit and found that John Wright had torn the room apart. He had upended the couch and bench and was on the floor looking for something with a penlight flashlight. It seems he had removed the filter from one of his new expensive earplugs to clean it and it had bounced away from him cheeping, ‘I’m free!’ Byron Slack came in and produced a more powerful light, one emanating from the computational device he carries with him everywhere. In the blink of an eye, he spotted the stray filter and triumphantly plucked it from the ground and deposited it in John’s hand. ‘Here it is (laughs)!’ He thinks he’s so smart. I can’t allow myself to forget that those long clever fingers of his could be just as easily be put to work to destroy as to create.

“Notwithstanding our personal difficulties, come showtime felt very much at home on stage and playing music with Byron and Kristy Hodet. Their coordinated steps are coming along well with only a few accidental tumbles. Is it my imagination or do they laugh just a little too much when they fall down together? That also bugs me. Not the falling, the laughing. This is not a humorous enterprise. It’s all take-no-prisoners with this show. Grim stuff.

“John Wright could have called this project Bobby Dad or something if he wanted everyone smiling like idiots, but he called it Dead Bob. To evoke a chill. We chilled the living stuffing out of that capacity crowd at the Royal in Nelson, and we were rewarded by being called back for not one but two encores. We were also rewarded with money. And also the chance to catch up with and stay with friends.

“We entered the catching up and staying stage of the evening after packing up and loading out into the crisp Kootenay night. You could see your breath. The changing seasons. A reminder of our mortality. The rest of the merchandise secured from Mayor Paddyduddy reduced what little space was left in the van driven by Kristy to a risible stage of nonexistence. The way John and Cory and I were packed in there for the drive to our lodgings you could have sent us over Niagara Falls in a barrel and we would have been fine. Snug. It’s late and I have to do some work on myself. The channeling of emotion I spoke of earlier. I can’t take these negative feelings to sleep with me. I don’t want to wake up to them tomorrow.

“Left behind: one blue collared shirt.”

November 19th, Kelowna B.C.

“I began the day determined to achieve a rapprochement with Byron and Kristy. So while our gracious hosts made coffee, I ran downtown and bought them diamond earrings. On the walk back, I wondered whether I should present them as soon as they come by to pick us up, or should I wait for a theatrical moment? If the purpose behind these gifts is a speedy restoration of harmony, then maybe the sooner the better. Or would I come off as needy? Weak? Obsequious? I fretted about these things and didn’t pay attention to where I was going and got lost.

“It took me an hour to find my way back to the house where we stayed, the home of my friends Laurie and Karl, that’s Karl with a K. Nobody seemed to have noticed that I’d been gone. The two vans had arrived and everybody was inside talking about school catchments and gymnastics and heat pumps and other things that I do not understand, and eating savory breakfast millet rolls. They left me half of one. Laurie and Karl seemed to have decided in my absence that they liked the other band members better than me, and even let Colin feed their fish.

“Once we hit the highway I became aware of a chill in the van. There were ugly instances like when Cory noted we were making good time, and a remark came from the front of the van that we’d better be after someone went running into town on a secret mission for an hour. I thought my absence had gone unobserved! For a sickening moment I thought of presenting the earrings right there and then, but I was worried about causing an accident. I watched Kristy’s hands tighten and loosen on the wheel for a while and wondered to myself for the first time in weeks why a man of my years still doesn’t have a living will.

Dead Bob ‘Life Like’ album artwork

Dead Bob ‘Life Like’ album artwork

“It’s hard to overstate the effect John Wright’s music has had on the people it’s touched. Doubtless there are children and grandchildren in the world because of the music he’s made. He knows this, and with that knowledge comes something like responsibility. Not responsibility for that life as such, but a commitment to continue to participate in its enrichment, and to never betray the impulse which quickened it. Heavy hangs the head or whatever. It’s just a punk band, this Dead Bob, you might say. It’s merely music. But there’s nothing mere about music. Music is the sound of our passage through time together towards an uncertain but common destination, just as surely as that Toyota van was carrying the four of us up the 33 towards a cidery by the Kelowna airport.

“We arrived at the cidery by the airport where we were playing to learn that the toilets had blown up. I’ve had some fun with the truth in this account, but this part is real. Despite clear skies, the parking lot was slick with moisture by the time we finished our soundcheck, and teeming with jean-vested men who shared a contented mien of being ¾ of a pound lighter than they had been before making their way out to YLW. While we watched a portable biffy being loaded off a forklift over by one of the unguarded entrances to the restaurant, Byron Slack piped up with a surprising amount of knowledge about securing their use, the impossibility of insuring them, how much they weighed, and their environmental impacts.

“Impressed, I reached into my pocket to get him some earrings, and felt the blood leave my head when my hand perceived my pocket to be quite empty. Of course. I had changed into my performance trousers already and the earrings must still be in the dungarees I was wearing when we left Nelson. I’d have to go and empty their pockets later. But not before catching another couple of raging sets from Hippiecritz and Rad Dog! Once again they really got the crowd going, and Carlos was even moved to leave his post in Colin’s care and go skating around the burnished concrete floor of the Upside Cidery on his lead foot with the assistance of some of my trombone slide grease. I’ve learned since witnessing this that he used to do this for money. Still, I’m not going to put any direct questions to him about it.

“We were set up on the burnished concrete floor of the dining hall which took up half of the Upside Cidery. This was a special treat for all the people who’d waited for so long to get to see John perform again to be right up close to him playing his drums. To be sharing close physical space with that unalloyed force.

“And once again, as with the last two nights, we ourselves were treated to an enthusiastic audience who had the Life Like record committed to memory and who sang along with every word. It’s inspirational to witness the effect of this music on the people to whom it means so much. That, in turn, amplifies our own relationship with the songs and wrests a more committed performance from us. We all agreed afterwards that we couldn’t have hoped for a better three inaugural audiences for our blooding as a functioning live unit. We look forward to returning.

“After tearing everything down and paying for all our chickens and cider, it was off to Byron’s cousin Hans’ place for late night chicken and cider and post-match breakdown. Laying plans for next weekend’s trip to Vancouver Island. The earrings are going to have to wait for tomorrow’s drive back, although I’m starting to consider their purchase to be extreme and desperate. Maybe I’ll take a bus to Nelson this week and try to return them. Early tour jitters? I haven’t done this in a while.”

Tour Dates:

11/25 – Nanaimo, BC @ Terminal Bar
11/26 – Victoria, BC @ Capital Ballroom
12/01 – Vancouver, BC @ The Pearl
12/02 – Roberts Creek, BC @ The Legion
12/03 – Powell River, BC @ The Carson Loft

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.

Alternative/Rock

The V13 Fix #004 w/ Darkest Hour, Glitterer, LowLives and more

From pop to metalcore, experimental grindcore to indie, each week The V13 Fix will bring you a roundup of all the new music worth hearing…

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The V13 Fix

Welcome to the latest The V13 Fix our weekly round-up of some of the best albums, singles and EPs to drop in our laps/inboxes this week. From pop to black metal to experimental pop to punk rock, there is something for everyone in this mix of new music. Check out and support all the bands and labels if you like what you hear and if there is a particular album you like, make sure you head over to Spotify and check out one of our specially curated playlists where there is more great new music added daily.

Alternatively, if you’re in a band or want one of your bands considered for inclusion get in touch. While we can’t guarantee every album or EP we receive will be included, there are still plenty of other ways we can support you.

So, without further ado, sit back, plug in your headphones and get this week’s V13 Fix of new music…

Crossfaith
Zero’ [Single]

When Japanese genre-smashers Crossfaith exploded onto the scene with their brutal, electronic-laced metalcore, the world sat up and paid attention. Well, after twelve months regrouping, the band are back with this new single, a massive statement that they’re ready to pick up where they left off but with a new energy. This new slice of heaviness from the band is packed dangerously full of pulsating electronics and pummelling metalcore. Equally as explosive as it is anthemic, “Zero” heralds a new chapter from the band who, after hitting the reset button twelve months ago, have returned with a vengeance.

Pick up your copy of “Zero” from here.

Darkest Hour
Perpetual | Terminal
MNRK Heavy

It’s incredible when you realise that Perpetual | Termainal is the tenth album in the rollercoaster career of US metalcore/metallic hardcore mob Darkest Hour. Spirit and dogged determination has kept the band going to this point and it is a theme which provides the heartbeat of this savage collection. Guitarist Mike Schleibaum explains: “The record’s theme centers around the duality of survival while embracing rebirth,” and, hearing the band hurtle through each of the eleven tracks, Perpetual | Terminal certainly feels like the sound of a band who have been reborn. An uncompromising, unrelenting metal assault, Perpetual | Terminal highlights exactly why heavy music would be worse off without Darkest Hour in it.

Pick up your copy of Perpetual | Terminal from here.

Morta Skuld
Creation Undone
Peaceville Records

Now, even though the new wave of modern death metal bands is doing a sterling job in keeping the flag flying high for the genre, sometimes it’s nice just to take a trip back into some of the old-school bands. Having formed in Milwaukee in 1990, Morta Skuld are still battering away with their latest offering from the death metal stalwarts indicating no sign of slowing down. For fans of the likes of Obituary, Morbid Angel and Deicide, the band expertly combine groovy moshy sections, blastbeats with swamp born vocals. Creation Undone isn’t metalcore, it’s not deathcore, there are no symphonies, this is just straight between the eyes brutality.

Pick up your copy of Creation Undone from here.

M.U.T.T.
Dirty Deeds
Quiet Panic

M.U.T.T. are a trashy punk rock band straight from the gutters of the San Fransisco punk rock scene. There isn’t much you need to know about the kind of punk rock M.U.T.T. peddle except that it comes devoid of airs and graces. Taking a route one approach, M.U.T.T’s punk noise is covered in snot and packed with attitude. Formed from the ashes of Culture Abuse, the project has moved on from the more rock and roll stylings of their debut album, Bad To The Bone, into more trashy waters. Offerings like “Downtown Boy” come with a suitably unpleasant sneer plastered across their face and, while this EP might a fairly brief listen, M.U.T.T pack plenty of bite into those eighteen or so raucous minutes.

Pick up your copy of Dirty Deeds from here.

Gen & The Degenerates
ANTI-FUN Propaganda
Marshall Records

Alt-punk collective Gen & The Degenerates tattoo their principals proudly onto their debut album. Written to a backdrop of disaster, tragedy and misfortune, ANTI-FUN Propaganda comes from a world of late nights and early mornings, sexuality, gender politics and mortality. It’s a punk rock album at its beating heart but, as vocalist Gen puts it, comes with a humourous approach and a love of dirty disco pop. Lyrically, tracks like “Famous” may come from a dark, bleak place but, as the video for “Big Hit Single” highlights, there is a wry smile and a sense of sarcasm nipping away at the subject matter to make sure we don’t lose sight of the fact that, while a quick look outside your window will show a world imploding on itself, it’s important to enjoy what time we have while we’re here.

Pick up your copy of ANTI-FUN Propaganda from here.

Glitterer
Rationale
ANTI-

Following his previous band Title Fight ceased touring, lead singer and songwriter Ned Russin needed a creative outlet. The creative outlet soon manifested into what originally started out as solo project but, six years later, has blossomed into a fully-fledged band and the release of their fourth album, but debut as a full band, Rationale. An album with a sound deeply entrenched in the DC hardcore and indie rock scenes, Rationale is a rowdy listen packed with jarring indie guitars and slick pop melodies with the cohesiveness paying testament to the fact that Russin has found bandmates who share his creative vision.

Pick up your copy of Rationale from here.

Hands of Kalliach
Corryvreckan
Prosthetic Records

Spawned from the minds of Edinburgh, Scotland husband and wife duo have blended together melodic death metal melded with Scottish folk music to create an album that is a work of art. The title of the album is inspired by enormous whirlpool, Corryvreckan, which lies between some of the western isles of Scotland. As harsh yet as beautiful as the inspiration behind it, Corryvreckan is a jaw-dropping piece of work. Soaring passages of melancholic Scottish folk music crash into brutal death metal, like two perfectly matched components. Through the folk music, the pair capture a drama and the emotion that can only come from being truly living and breathing it. When matched up with the extremities of the death metal scene, the end result is utterly majestic.

Pick up your copy of Corryvreckan from here.

Job For A Cowboy
Moon Healer
Metal Blade

For fans of iconic progressive death metal outfit Job For A Cowboy, it’s been almost a decade since new music was last heard from the band. Having teased for a number of years, the band are now back with their follow-up to 2014’s Sun Eater pretty much picking up where the 2014 album dropped off. Unsurprisingly, Moon Healer is the kind of album you really need to invest your time and effort into to really appreciate. Skim over it and you’ll find another incredible album in the Glendale’s musical armoury. Dig under the surface and you’ll find yourself immersed in a world which thematically picks up the story from Sun Eater while musically delivers it in a tightly woven package of complex, experimental, progressive death metal.

Pick up your copy of Moon Healer from here.

Austrian Death Machine
Quad Brutal
Napalm Records

Ten years since their last outing, Austrian Death Machine are back with Quad Brutal, their first album for new home Napalm Records. Formed fifteen years ago by As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis, the Arnie-inspired neck-wrecking death machine is back reinspired and reinvigorated. Joined by a bunch of friends from across the metalcore scene including members of Ov Sulfur and Wolves At The Gate, Lambesis is back with another full-throttle, adrenaline-fueled metal feast. With more muscle than your typical weights room, Quad Brutal is just pumped-to-fuck, beefed-up metal. There’s nothing fancy about this. No need to put your brain into gear, Quad Brutal is just here for when another couple of plates on the end of that bar just doesn’t seem enough.

Pick up your copy of Quad Brutal from here.

Royal Tusk
Altruistic
MNRK Heavy

To date, Alberta, Canada three-piece Royal Tusk have gigged with a veritable Who’s Who of Rock from Slash to Halestorm while, during the pandemic, frontman Daniel sang on viral at-home collabs with Stone Sour, In Flames, and Mastodon. Listening to the hard rockers third album and you can probably pinpoint all of those inspirations seeping through the thumping anthems. Full of hard rock bangers like “Fire In Your Veins” and “The Death of Common Sense” to “Hated”, Altruistic has the perfect blend of melody, singalong choruses and power. Of the album, bassist Sandy MacKinnon says “I really hope you want to blast it in your car and headbang” and we can’t think of a better way to enjoy Altruistic than that.

Pick up your copy of Altruistic from here.

Borkanagar
Fall
Century Media

Honouring commitments delayed by the pandemic means that it has been almost five years since we have heard a new full-length album from Norwegian progressive folk/black metal band Borknagar. Reading into the whole process the band go through to write an album though, you do get the feeling Fall would have taken as long pandemic or not. An unrushed, flawlessly-crafted peice of work, Fall sounds like Borknagar frontman Øystein G. Brun has worked tirelessly to ensure that every moment of this album plays out like a story. Blast of grim, violent black metal weave through epic passages of progressive rock and folk to tell a tale of survival. Heading towards their third decade, Fall feels like the Norwegians are still riding at the top of their game.

Pick up your copy of Fall from here.

Mother Mother
Grief Chapter
Warner Music / Parlophone

It’s fair to say that 2021’s album INSIDE catapulted Canadian indie rock troop Mother Mother to new heights. Piling up an incredible 300 million streams for said album Grief Chapter has some task ahead of it. The ninth album of their career finds the band at their most energized despite it focusing, lyrically at least, on themes of death and mourning. This is an album that transcends genres not only over the course of the twelve tracks but, as demonstrated on the brilliant opener “Nobody Escapes” or the stomping “Normalize”, many times within songs. An album which may come from a morbid place lyrically, by the end, will have you well and truly hooked.

Pick up your copy of Grief Chapter from here.

Lowlives
Loser’ [Single]
Spinefarm Records

It’s the year 2000 and Wheatus earworm “Teenage Dirtbag” is rapidly becoming one of the biggest hits of the year. An anthem for misfits, outcasts and losers, it’s a song we hold close to our hearts even 24 years later. Now, West Coast alt-rockers have gone and written their own version. A wonderfully hopeful slice of slacker rock, “Loser” has an almost pleading air to the chorus while the melody is lifted straight from the grunge/alt-rock 2000s. The track is taken from the band’s upcoming debut album, Freaking Out, so don’t worry if you’re going through that misfit phase because Lowlives have got your back.

Pick up your copy of Freaking Out from here.

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Features

Track-by-Track: Beyond Unbroken Discuss Some of Their Greatest Hits

Hard rock/metal band Beyond Unbroken join us for a special track-by-track rundown of some of their most notable and significant songs.

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Beyond Unbroken
Beyond Unbroken

Beyond Unbroken has proudly unleashed “The Madness” via FiXT Music. It’s a fitting title for the metal quartet’s brand-new single, released with an accompanying music video earlier this month. The clip matches the song’s intensity, a deep dive into the small pockets of our minds where our demons lurk. “The Madness” depicts a psychological struggle where the mind succumbs to manic thoughts. The prison in the video is a metaphor for this struggle and the fact that one’s mind can become its prison. With “The Madness,” the message that the band is trying to convey is that you are not alone. Pain comes, and it’s often only temporary. Facing obstacles is a part of life, and we derive strength from these experiences. We’re all in this together, and Beyond Broken wants to emphasize that.

Beyond Unbroken celebrated their tenth year together last year, originally formed between Monte and Michael Money after leaving Escape the Fate. Although “The Madness” is a very aggressive metal song, the band is not defined by one genre. They enjoy trying new sounds, mixing genres, and, in doing so, defying expectations. The Money brothers and their bandmates derive inspiration from all of life’s experiences, culminating in a hard-hitting sound widely appealing to fans of both rock and metal.

With the recent release of “The Madness,” Beyond Unbroken joins us today for a special track-by-track feature in which they expand on the stories and meanings behind some of their most notable songs.

1. “The Madness”

“Lyrically, the song deals with the negative thought patterns we sometimes find ourselves in when facing struggles such as depression and anxiety, which can have negative impacts on our mental health. The song is about finally facing and breaking through those barriers. We wanted the music to greatly relate to the impact on the potential of the mind’s destruction, from heavy, ground-shattering guitar riffs and high-octane scream vocals from Michael Money, until you are met with the blissful vocals of Monte Money on the chorus to tie it all in. We literally couldn’t be happier with how this track turned out. It’s so great we had to do it justice by complementing it with an equally crazy music video.”

2. “Blood On My Hands”

“This was the first song to debut the dynamic we wanted for Beyond Unbroken and its future sound going forward in correlation with our label FiXT. The song truly resonates with a dark nuance of a tale of the aftermath of murder, demons, drowning, and blood, literally losing one’s mind and the regret of the aftermath of it all, begging for forgiveness only to be faced and judged as the criminal at hand hears the words ringing ‘Burn It, Burn It, Down, This Is Your Hell!’ as the embodiment of the victim finally gets payback. The song’s breakdown is truly unique and heavy and does the story justice in this dark, sinister world.”

3. “Running Out of Time” (Remaster)

“The official first single off the album debut. The song defines the band’s growth with modern originality, depicting as we age how little time we truly have and how we shape our destiny. We wanted to bring up the track with a slightly new touch to signify our signature sound as a remastered version with intense drums and big, booming guitars that complement the vocals. The song is a staple of our sound.”

4. Andromida – “Break the Cycle” (feat. Beyond Unbroken)

“With ‘Break the Cycle,’ we wanted to vocalize the effect the routine of everyday life has on us. Doing the same routine day after day becomes a monotony that you never even question, but are left just sitting in silence and suffering with all these thoughts in your head. The song is about finally breaking that vicious cycle of repetitiveness. The music defies all natural law and order of the world with big, chunky guitars, screaming verses and breakdowns, and a mind-bending chorus met with a screaming metal vocal choir to really kick you out of your seat and inspire you to take action.”

5. “With or Without Me”

“In ‘With or Without Me,’ we took you into a digital world influenced by big blockbuster movies like Blade Runner 2049 and TRON: Legacy, and games like Cyberpunk 2077. We wanted the touch of mechanical machines and digital sounds to meet heavy guitar-driven choruses to really bring a big impact to today’s music. We absolutely love the track and how it resonates with all our listeners.”

6. “Falling Down + Heathens”

“2020 was the year of lockdowns and COVID-19, with everyone staying inside. We noticed a significant increase in at-home quarantine-type cover songs that began to take social media by storm. With ‘Falling Down + Heathens,’ we wanted to do more than just a cover. We aimed to create a mashup consisting of two entirely different genres of music, putting them together to make something new. The result is this masterpiece, a song that truly unleashes Monte Money and Michael Money’s capabilities without any restrictions. The monstrous dueling guitar solos leave listeners hitting the repeat button. We never imagined that the song would end up being one of Beyond Unbroken’s greatest releases to date. We are truly thankful for every one of you who contributed to its success.”

Beyond Unbroken “The Madness” single artwork

Beyond Unbroken “The Madness” single artwork

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Culture

Salah Bachir Publishes Titillating Memoir ‘First To Leave The Party’

Salah Bachir recently released his titillating memoir, ‘First To Leave The Party,’ offering intimate details about the rich and famous and Bachir’s gusto and lust for life.

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Salah Bachir, photo by George Pimentel
Salah Bachir, photo by George Pimentel

Author, entrepreneur, art collector, movie industry insider, and philanthropist Salah Bachir recently released his memoir, First To Leave The Party: My Life with Ordinary People…Who Happen to be Famous, a collection of stories revealing his joie de vivre, his love of human interaction, and his altruism.

After immigrating to Canada from Lebanon in the 1960s, Bachir started Videomania, Canada’s first video magazine, followed by establishing Premiere, a trade publication for video distributors and retailers.

For more than a decade and a half, Bachir was the president of Cineplex Media and boss of Cineplex Magazine, Canada’s wildly popular and widely read magazine, serving more than four million readers per issue.

Salah Bachir, photo by George Pimentel

Salah Bachir, photo by George Pimentel

A fixture in the world of film for decades, Bachir naturally met Hollywood’s superstars. Yet what sets him apart is his charisma, compassion, his personal style – chic hats, diamonds, pearls, brooches, and elegant scarves – and his full-blown zest for life and people.

First To Leave The Party recounts his relationships with a literal who’s who of Hollywood: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Joan Rivers, Mary Tyler Moore, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Edward Albee, Orson Welles, Aretha Franklin, Norman Jewison, and Elizabeth Taylor — although it’s true that Katharine Hepburn once turned him down, very nicely.

There are also stories about Marlon Brando, Princess Diana, Muhammad Ali, Princess Margaret, Sean Connery, Ella Fitzgerald, and Doris Day.

Co-written with film critic Jami Bernard of the New York Post and Daily News, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the LGBTQ+ rights program at Human Rights Watch.

Salah Bachir ‘First To Leave The Party’ book cover

Salah Bachir ‘First To Leave The Party’ book cover

Featured in numerous publications, including The Globe & Mail, Playback Magazine, Dolce, and Toronto Life, Bachir has received five honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Alberta, Ryerson University, York University, OCAD University, and Wilfrid Laurier University in recognition of his business expertise and philanthropic work.

Along with a long list of deserved awards, Bachir, because of his entrepreneurial spirit and advocacy of the arts and social justice, is a member of the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada, as well as a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and two-time Grand Marshal of the Toronto Pride Parade.

The stories related in First To Leave The Party not only provide a parade of intimate detail about the lives of the rich and famous, the entertainment industry’s elite, but also bare Salah Bachir’s gusto and lust for life.

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