Musical Digest: Sabbatory, Zaum and The Rough Boys
There is something excessively old school and extremely interesting coming from Winnipeg these days, in part due to metal bands such as Untimely Demise, Besieged, Electro Quarterstaff, Laika, Waster, and the brilliant Psychotic Gardening who, together with some UFO such as KENmode, contribute to raising the profile of the city’s metal scene. One of the latest kids on the block is probably Sabbatory, whose cut-throat approach has been to bridge the gap between death and thrash metal, and exhume the 1990′s classic influences. With their first full length Endless Asphyxiating Gloom, the band offers one hell of a comeback in time! From the cover artwork to the music, we can hear the genuine influences of such bands as Morgoth (in particular their first two EPs), along with some hints of early Pestilence–particularly live, as vocals tend to sound a little different. Recorded as a demo, the recording turned out better than expected, according to drummer Dan Earle Ryckman, and ended up as the band’s first album on Unspeakable Axe Records, a sub-label of Dark Descent Records. The production is relatively old school and unaltered, thus bringing these very organic qualities that thrash and early death metal bands had back in the days. As for the album itself, it may be hard to identify any highlight song, but consistency makes up for the lack of variety. Check’em out, you can’t go wrong buying this album.
Truth be told, we don’t hear a lot about Moncton’s metal scene. The cover artwork of Zaum’s Oracles expresses exactly the feeling I get when I hear of a band coming from New Brunswick’s largest city: something exotic in flavour. The duo, which includes Kyle Alexander Macdonald of 3-bass monster Shevil, and Christopher Lewis of stoner band Iron Giant, are bringing a lot of fresh air to the Canadian metal landscape with their new outfit. Self described as “Middle Eastern Mantra Doom”, we immediately hear the influences of US’ Om, or UK’s Bong… In other words, psychedelic. While keeping their distances from experimental music, Zaum writes theirs like funeral doom: by using a doom structure (stoner-doom in the present case) and slowing it down as much as possible, to the edge of collapse. As a result, Oracles ends up with 4 extra long songs, ranging between 8 and 14 minutes each. While there are only two members (a drummer and a bassist), the album is crafted with a plethora of textures including sitar, chants and synthesizer, that color each song with a mystical vibe. While first song “Zealot” could almost be described as an ultra slow stoner-doom song, the following “Red Sea” is dressed in a cinematic cloak, with its 4+ min intro and its spoken vocals. One thing I particularly enjoy about this album is the immensity of the mental landscapes it creates, as well as the individuality of each song. My favourite is third song “Peasant of Parthia”, a simpler, ‘faster’ song whose main riff and background textures get stuck in my head every time I listen to the album. Oracles ends with the epic “Omen”, whose power resides in its square and steady drum pattern–a brilliant and minimalistic approach that anchors the main riff and gives it an unremitting pace. Zaum’s journey brought them recently to tour Canada and Europe, proving that Moncton has some extremely credible metal export and that we should pay more attention to it.
Here’s another band that hit me hard while I wasn’t looking. Hailing from Toronto, Canada’s bustling thrash metal city, The Rough Boys recently released their third EP, Blood, Booze and Gasoline. Judging by the name of the record, one could say it smells like a Motörhead theme and not be too far off. An amplified dirty rock and roll flirting with crust and proto-metal riffs, Blood, Booze and Gasoline is a quick and explosive jab to the face. The EP contains four songs, ranging from 2:30 to 4:00 minutes, all more or less the same genre, showcasing each instrument one at a time. With its harsh hardcore vocals and its Rickenbacker bass sound, the pummelling bass drums and the smoking guitarwork, the trio has something highly appealing to say the least; something that fully justifies listening to the album in loop without getting tired. While each song is equally excellent (with a personal preference for the first two songs “Before The Devil Knows I’m Dead” and “Hogtown”), the EP is housed in a beautiful gatefold digipack sleeve, designed by Clown Baby. Sitting somewhere on the fence between punk and metal with fellow Torontonians Burning Love and Breadfan, The Rough Boys’ Blood, Booze and Gasoline has the power to become an instant favourite for fans of dirty rock and roll, bluesy-punk and heavy metal.
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