BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.
WAKE grind over matter 44 | MARCH 2018 • BEATROUTE BY FERDY BELLAND photo: Mike Wells WAKE’s fourth studio album Misery Rites is out now! Grindcore stalwarts WAKE have been shattering foundations and cracking the skies for nearly a decade. The Calgary act has clocked tens of thousands of seemingly endless road miles, delivering earsplitting messages of internal agony around the world. Highly respected in the international grindcore scene, the members of WAKE are as unassuming and affable offstage as they are fiery and ferocious onstage. “We’re more than happy with the new record,” begins guitarist Rob LaChance. He’s referring to the band’s fourth full-length Misery Rites. Released on February 23 via Translation Loss Records, it marks their first offering for the celebrated American label and has been critically acclaimed by a plethora of reputable publications. “It’s better than we ever could have wished. Working with [producer] Dave Otero was awesome. We spent a week down in Denver with him, hung out, drank lots of good beer, and had a great time. He pushed us super-hard and we came out with the best album that I, personally, have ever made.” The band tapped into that shared pool of contacts when it came to recording. Alongside the scorching barks of vocalist Kyle Ball, you’ll hear a guest appearance from Ethan McCarthy of the aforementioned Vermin Womb and Primitive Man (whom WAKE has toured with previously). McCarthy lends his wretched growls to both “Rot” and “Rumination.” The result is a nine-track album that continues WAKE’s lineage of blistering grindcore in the Discordance Axis tradition. Over quickly, it spans only 27 minutes. The aftermath of this blast is immediate: the band will embark on a four-week tour across Canada and the U.S.A. alongside blackened death metallers Withered. The tour will be followed by a potential EP recording session and summertime festival appearances before WAKE hits the road once again come September. Emerging in the mid ‘80s with the stylistic fusion of hardcore punk, thrash metal, industrial music, and downright noise, the genre of grindcore (first popularized by early artists like Napalm Death) provides a breathtakingly cacophonous framework for highly-charged political lyrics of anti-racism, anti-capitalism, anti-militarism, feminism, veganism, and more. Despite the sonic violence of it all, the aficionados of the music aren’t really violent, per se. “Most people who attend our shows are total fucking maniacs, for sure,” says LaChance. “But they’re NICE maniacs. Die-hard guys. Most people who are into grindcore are INTO GRINDCORE! There’s not a thousand grindcore bands touring all the time, so grindcore fans usually come out and support. They’re happy to support. I find the North American grindcore scene is so tight-knit. People are really down to help each other out. Buying people’s merch, putting bands up in their house when they’re touring, or just hanging out as friends. The Canadian grindcore scene is especially close. It feels like a real family.” In the giving spirit of the community he thrives in, LaChance has this to say to aspiring grindcorists. “Just get out there and tour. Meet people and make friends. If there are touring bands hitting your city, put them up. Buy their merch. Support. If you want to see a band come to your city, write them, contact them. Ask them to come play. Tell them there’s a scene in your city, be it small or big. Offer to help them book shows. Do whatever you can to help them out. Things go back and forth. You get back what you put into it.” WAKE perform at their album release party and tour kickoff show at the Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club on March 10 [Calgary], with guests Fall City Fall, Spurn, and Murk. The band will perform at the Starlite Room on March 16 [Edmonton] and at Amigos Cantina on March 17 [Saskatoon]. IRON TUSK band to the bone T he intrepid hardcore trio known as Iron Tusk traces its roots back to Calgary’s punk outfit No More Moments. It was with that raucous upstart band that guitarist/ vocalist Ty Maguire, bassist/vocalist Buddy Wolfleg and drummer Carlin Black Rabbit originally came together to vent their gusto and create noisy pieces of urban artwork. Wolfleg and Maguire eventually left that group in 2013, but it wasn’t terribly long before fate and fretwork came calling at Black Rabbit’s door. “We all grew up together; Ty and were neighbors throughout our childhood. Buddy was the cool guy in high school we always dreamed of being friends with. Ty and Buddy were the first people I wrote music with, we learned covers together, and are all self taught musicians, ” Black Rabbit recalls. “We went a couple years without really talking and doing our thing, then in January of 2016 Buddy contacted me with some songs he had written. So, we got a guitar player and signed up for Rockin 4 Dollar$ at Broken City.” The synergy the old friends felt on the stage that night lit the spark that fuelled them to sign up to perform at a music festival at the Siksika First Nation in southern Alberta the following summer. Choosing the name Iron Tusk based on a shared affection for fellow metallic doomsters Mastodon, Black Rabbit and his company of cassette-dropping droogs found themselves in high demand as they booked shows into that fall. “Shows were flowing, and we hit the studio to record our EP, Flooded Times (Transistor 66), which debuted in October of 2016,” says Black Rabbit. “Ty joined as a guitar player in December of that year and eventually took over as the Spirits in the material world. BY CHRISTINE LEONARD lead. Since then, the three of us (Ty, Buddy and me) have gone on to record our new EP, Dark Spirit (Transistor 66). We recorded it in one day at Ghost Iron Studio in Calgary. The EP tells the story of a dark spiritual figure that has been spotted by many people, roaming our Reserve. The stories people have describing how this figure looks and so that’s what we told our graphic designer, ‘The Poster Guy’ Eric Dietrich, who brought it to life on the album cover. Our song “Sandhills” is also about a haunted location on the Reserve that has a long history of crazy ghost encounters.” A stunning snapshot, Dark Spirit evidences much more than the clear-sighted band’s ephemeral energy, it’s the realization of a shared vision achieved through perseverance and passion. “Growing up on the Reserve we weren’t aware of the issues and realities that are relevant today. Truth and reconciliation wasn’t a thing at the time. Generational trauma and the residential school discussions were something that wasn’t talked about. We were aware of the addictions and death that affected our Reserve and we used music as an escape. We would lock ourselves in Ty’s grandparents garage and play music day and night. Even racking up Ty’s grandparents’ electrical bill to $1,500 once! When we were younger we only dreamed of being able to release music and play shows with bands like Red Fang and CKY. Persistence and faith in ourselves and our music is what has kept us going.” Iron Tusk celebrates the release of their EP Dark Spirit with Mothercraft, Electric Revival, Sparrow Blue and Buffalo Bud Buster on March 24 at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club [Calgary]. SHRAPNEL
KING WOMAN queen of the harpies BY CHRISTINE LEONARD This Month In METAL There’s not enough space in these pages to cover even a third of the great heavy music acts coming through Western Canada. American power metallers Iced Earth will perform at the Starlite Room on March 2 [Edmonton] and at the Marquee Beer Market & Stage on March 3[Calgary]. Industrial crossover act Soulfly will perform as Nailbomb, delivering the entirety of their groundbreaking album Point Blank at Dickens on March 5 [Calgary]. John Garcia of legendary space rockers Kyuss will perform at Distortion on March 10 [Calgary]. Accept vocalist Udo Dirkschneider will perform at the Marquee Beer Market & Stage on March 15 [Calgary] and at the Starlite Room on March 16 [Edmonton]. Despite our best efforts, we were not able to get him on the horn. Hazzerd, Blackest Sin, Meggido, Pervcore, and more will play at Distortion on March 16 [Calgary]. Manitoba Metalfest 2018 goes down on March 16 – March 17 at the Park Theatre [Winnipeg]. Bands performing include legendary death thrashers Demolition Hammer, as well as sets by Skeletal Remains, Cancer Bats, and Damascus, who are doing a “one time only reunion show.” Local stoner rockers Woodhawk perform at the Ship & Anchor on March 21 [Calgary]. The following evening they’ll be performing alongside Wolfrik and Highbernation at the Starlite Room [Edmonton]. Seattle death metal act Fetid will perform with Vern’s on March 23 [Calgary] alongside Messiahlator, Pathetic, Cultist and Full/Choke. The following evening, head to the Sewing Machine Factory [Edmonton] for Fetid with Begrime Exemious, Pathetic, and Lutheran. The second rendition of Covenant Montreal will begin at La Sala Rossa on March 29 and runs until March 31 [Montreal]. The fantastic black and death metal oriented line-up includes Dead Congregation, Ruins of Beverast, Thantifaxath, Auroch, Adversarial, and more. • Sarah Kitteringham King Woman creates order out of chaos. photo: Rob Williamson It has been almost a decade since vocalist detailed numbers that have become their Kristina Esfandiari founded the groundbreaking calling card. doom and drone crossover act King Woman’s brooding debut full- King Woman. During that time, what began length Created in the Image of Suffering, as a bold solo project has blossomed into recorded at Jack Shirley’s Atomic Garden, an even grander quartet featuring guitarist appeared in 2017 via Relapse Records and Colin Gallagher, bassist Peter Arensdorf and earned much critical acclaim. Still, Esfandiari, drummer Joey Raygoza. Known for questioning who has collaborated with shoegazers convention and pushing their melancholic Whirr in addition to sustaining her own melodies into traditionally vascular heavy alter ego solo-project Miserable, felt that metal territory, King Woman has gained comparisons King Woman had yet to find the right to SubRosa and Ides of Gemini while management. Enter Sargent House (home crafting a lush and evocative dark wave sound to Russian Circles, Earth, Mutoid Man, that is entirely their own. Chelsea Wolfe, etc), who according to the King Woman’s debut EP, Doubt (2014), vocalist “has been really amazing and kind set off a volley of water-testing singles and of the perfect fit for us.” EPs from the band and most recently a As they embark on the next stage of self-released cover of the Stone Roses track “I their journey, Esfandiari credits her steady Wanna be Adored.” Unfortunately, Canadian bandmates for allowing their art to evolve at a fans were denied the opportunity adore King gradual pace. In her mind the most gratifying Woman when the group had to cancel their aspect of King Woman’s refusal to shy away slot at Calgary’s 2017 installment of the Sled from discussing difficult subjects, such as Island Music & Arts Festival due to a medical religious abuse and mental health, is how emergency. that honesty has proven to be a source of “Our guitarist had cancer, so he had to go inner strength and inspiration for artist and in for surgery and we had to cancel all our audience alike. tour dates. It was very sudden. He’s still with “We’re currently working on new material the band and he’s fine now, but it was a very and have already written about four songs for emotional time for us,” explains Esfandiari. our new record,” she divulges. “It just brought us together. We’re really, “It’s still being formed and coming into really close and good at communicating as view. There’s some really deeply personal stuff a band. And we were like, ‘His health is our from my childhood that I’ve never talked priority right now and we’re not going to do about before that I’m incorporating into the anything to stress him out.’ Last year was a bit songs. My favourite thing is being able to hard, but now things are great. I would just emote and connect with the audience. It’s just describe it as a sweet and sour low with lots of exciting to reveal the concepts behind new different highs and lows and uncertainties, but albums and expose a new part of myself.” we’ve regrouped and we’re in a good place.” Recovered and ready to move forward King Woman performs with Russian Circles on with their hypnotic storytelling, King Woman Wednesday, April 4 at Dickens [Calgary] and has continued to produce the dramatic and Thursday, April 5 at Starlite Room [Edmonton]. SHRAPNEL BEATROUTE • MARCH 2018 | 45