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touch down in Canada
by More Betty

UK crust punks make their way to Canada for the first time. With Stick on drums and Bri Doom on guitar, both have been the nucleus of every DOOM line up since 1987. Scoot who played bass fifteen-sixteen years ago is back and Denis is onboard on vocals. "We've all had a long stint in the family," explains Stick.

2010 saw a return of Doom, which started with Bri and Scoot talking. “Scoot was a bit pissed off about a lot of bands reforming just to cash in or for the wrong reasons, we knew people were still interested in the band’s legacy from people we'd meet, as we never 'retired' we just changed the emphasis to play with other bands," he says and, "I was a bit reluctant that even though I knew what our intentions were and are [that] we would get tarred with the same brush as the bandwagon jumpers, but we were welcomed back with more enthusiasm than I would have dreamt of.”


At the time of this interview they were writing and recording a new album and modern communication played a huge role. Three of the members were living within a five mile radius in Halifax UK while Denis had moved to Sweden when his girlfriend got pregnant with Embla thirteen years ago. “It was a big decision to get him back in the band as we were worried that the distance would be a problem,” he says and, "everything has worked out better than I could have hoped." This can be attributed to the Internet and technological changes from twenty-five years ago. The three wrote songs in the UK and within ten minutes they were emailed to Denis in Sweden. “Twenty-five years ago it would have [meant] sending a cassette through the post,” says Stick and adds "Tho, I still don't think you can’t beat a bit of face time at a pub!"

Long before the Internet, UK's John Peel was an influential force in introducing people to good music. "We were gobsmacked when we were asked to do a Peel session …. we were a bunch of blokes on the dole," recalls Stick and "we couldn't afford big fancy studios, so getting paid to record in one of the top studios in the UK was a big thing …. Basically, you got four goes to record a track, so as long as we didn't have a break we could link songs together, he explains and "the two Peel sessions basically formed an album. Got to admit I shed a tear at the news of 'Peelys' death, a great, genuine bloke, still missed"

Some of the early albums were recently reissued in 2012. "Total Doom was through Peaceville, licensing it to Svart, when they got in touch I helped out with liner notes, they made a beautiful job of it," says Stick. Doomed Again was out on Agipunk. “Something I'd been trying to sort out for years. I'd taken all the old DAT recordings of the 7-inch/comps etc and put them on a CD for myself and just wanted to put all the rare stuff in one place so it makes it available," he says and, “our records have become 'rare' due to labels usually running out of cash to repress." Also, Antisociety has just re-released the World Of Shit first pressings and a live LP recorded from last Euro tour, also included on the CD version. 

There is a story behind the hand illustrated artwork in the albums, "I did a lot of the drawings on War Crimes," says Stick and "the crusty guy with the cloud was based on all the band members of that era and …. every-time we went to the rehearsal rooms, it rained, so we had a theory that there was a 'doom cloud' following us around …. the other drawings were based on lyrics. We've since had a few help out with art: Magnus, Dennis and Skinny, who has recently been back in touch." And is responsible for the new LP cover, and the front of the tour shirt.

So to bring things full circle, when asked if Swedish d-beat and hardcore still rules? "Swedish d-beat filtered through a couple of 'Brummies' still rules!"

DOOM lands at The Astoria with CHRISTDRIVER/RAPID LOSS/KOSZMAR/E.O.P. on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013


TOBEATIC - photo by Bubba Hamilton

six parts RNR
by More Betty
photo by Bubba Hamilton

Taking their cue from "Satan, free love, rock 'n' roll and maybe a little Scorpions, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Sir Lord Baltimore. But that's only the tip of the iceberg..." explains keyboardist, Mike Gittens. Vancouver’s Tobeatic just finished recording their full length All to Hell.

Describing this band can take on an unreal and mythic quality. "Six dudes riding the back of a giant bear with the head of an eagle traversing the wasteland and saving humanity with the superpowers of rock 'n' roll. It's kinda like the littlest hobo but with more swords, magic and guitars,” he exclaims! Alternately, their namesake, ‘Tobeatic’ has a rooted quality. "It's a large wilderness reserve in Nova Scotia close to where Gord grew up,” he says and “most of the lyrics are about his times out there. I believe Tobeatic means, 'Place of the Alder' in the Mi'kmaq language." 

 "Frozen Ocean" Video

Members include: Gordon Smith on vox/guitar, Gittens on organ, Rick O'Dell on bass, Joel James Loewen on drums, Brock MacInnes and Troy Horton on lead guitar. Upon hearing this band, it's quite apparent that the combined influence of the members' various projects can only add and enhance the thick stew of Tobeatic's sound. For example: the grind sludge of Cooked and Eaten, sludge doom of Rotting Hills, Percheron's lonesome country, Wiser Fool's 70’s doom rock, Erosion's d-beat and the punk pop of Hard Feelings. "Gord put the band together. We had a couple of jams with a different lineup in 2009,” he says and “late 2010 we started it back up with Troy, Joel and Brock. We asked Rick to come down and he was a perfect fit! We tried out three different lead singers along the way but ended up where we started, with Gord singing." 

All to Hell was recorded it at Hive Creative Labs with Jesse Gander. "This was the third time we've tried to make an album, going with Jesse was a no brainer and he did such an amazing job! His ears and brain have been refined for making rock 'n' roll records," explains Gittens. The digital download is available now on their Bandcamp but expect a hard copy by summer. Additional credits go to Alison Lilly for the album artwork and Johnny Wakeham of Bogus Tokus and Feather Wolf does a guest appearance on the track “Frozen Ocean” where he plays harmonica and slide guitar. MacInnes, the guitarist did the video for the same track as well as for bands: Cooked and Eaten and Rotting Hills.

Finally, what binds this band together? "Pretty much just playing music every Thursday and drinking beer!" he exclaims. And it looks like a Canadian tour by summer and a 7-inch split is brewing!

Hear Tobeatic live, March 1st at the Rickshaw Theatre, March 15th and April 19th at the Astoria Pub.


The SHRINE!!! - photo by Olivia Jaffe

psychedelic rockers riff on pizza, skate spots
by Matthew Youdan
photo by Olivia Jaffe

The Shrine are liquidating hardcore enthusiasts and heavy jams, crashing through a North American tour with Primitive Blast. The Shrine are performing their named and perfected “psychedelic violence,” developed  over half a decade's run in Los Angeles. Along the way they're stopping in for an exciting return to Vancouver, and they are not to be missed.

Primitive Blast is their newest heavy hitter, stocked like a fallout shelter with wild and excited riffs.  Their songs are the re-configured skeletons of classic rock radio, swapping  out ribs, tibulas, and skulls with equal abandon. Thrasher's find solace in the face-melting solos that adorn their recordings, while they segue to shouting matches between band members. Their performances often extend, like their epic album ender “The River," in to an awe inspiring coda destined to test your mosh pit stamina.

During this time they've earned the respect of their idols, including Black Flag's Chuck Dukowski, and found themselves recording and performing through Black Flag founder Greg Ginn's amplifier. “He's probably my favourite guitar player ever,” says lead singer/guitarist Josh Landau on Ginn's recent announcement of a reunion tour. “But Ginn writing new songs and having a pre-recorded bass is a bummer,” Landau comments, still lamenting Black Flag's infamously wild performances during the ‘80s punk revival.

Despite a hectic road schedule, the Shrine have made the most of mobile technology and keep up to date appearances online. Less astute followers and fans might mix them up with their same-name Chicago space. “Nope, fuck that dance club,” says the band’s frontman. They maintain their own variety of links, including a free download of their album and a tumblr to document their survival on the road “Pizza...pretty much good everywhere. You can't find good Mexican outside of the West Coast, but we survive somehow,” Landau says.

Many of their updates show them flipping skate decks in streets, parking lots, and bowls. Regarding their favourite skate locations, Landau comments “I’m the one that skates the most, everyone cruises though. West Linn, Oregon has been my favourite since I was there years ago: endless pool coping and those shallow stairs.” If you're looking for the perfect rain city park to shred before their set, Landau's already got his board and park. “I know Leeside’s the spot up in Vancouver, but we haven't gotten a chance to hit it yet. Hopefully this time!”

But don't confuse them for another band obsessed with American waste. Despite love for pizza, Mexican, and skateboarding, some of their best tours have been across the Atlantic. Landau comments on Sweden, “we met Smod Mike in Gotenburg and ended up staying up all night printing T-shirts at his lair. Then it turned out he was Graveyard's really good buddy and their artist, so he kinda hooked us up with this tour that we're on now.”

Last May, the Shrine came to Vancouver and tore up the Rickshaw, which we thanked them for with some stellar hospitality at a local bowling alley. “Zach (Rickshaw Theatre) took us to the bowling alley and opened it up late. We had 20 people bowling and a ton of beers and killer tunes cranking. When we finally got back to his place to crash the sun was up. It was fucking amazing.”

Vancouver's likely to have a spectacle of an after party with them this Spring as well. Their shows only get better, their riffs only get heavier, and their moshpits only get more reckless. The most important lesson they've learned since their last visit? “All you have to do is rock, and there's drugs and chicks everywhere!”

The Shrine, Dirty Fences, Three Wolf Moon and Hopeleus, hit the deck at the Astoria Pub on March 22.


killing Canadian metal
by Heath Fenton
photo by Scott Kinkade

KEN mode - photo by Scott Kinkade
KEN mode were proudly crowned masters of Canadian metal at the 2012 Juno Awards, the inaugural winner for the heavy metal category. Okay, maybe heavy metal people don’t put too much stock into award shows as most don’t even recognize metal as a genre.  Last year that all changed and the Junos got it right. Spearheading this movement are Winnipeg’s noise mongers KEN mode. 

“It was a very cool experience to win a major award at a very highly regarded Canadian music industry showcase,” says guitarist/vocalist Sean Matthewson. “And it was nothing I thought was ever even close to being in the cards for the band when we first started playing music.” KEN mode challenges what some may say that Canada’s metal scene has never been anything to write home to Satan about. They are a legitimate power force in metal. “I think the Canadian metal scene is quite healthy, and I'd like to help do my part to bring more of the amazing bands to more of a forefront on the international scene.” Matthewson goes on, “Groups like The Great Sabatini, BIIPIIGWAN, Vilipend, Titan, Wake, Cellos, Burning Love, Electro Quarterstaff, Baptists. There are a ton of extremely talented groups pushing their craft all over the world. Even Canadian legends like Voivod and Gorguts have new records coming out this year. Team Canada has a very strong lineup in 2013,” he says.

On March 19 they will drop their fifth full-length album entitled Entrench on Season of Mist records. Matthewson has been releasing albums with his brother Shane as KEN mode since 1999. They hail from the cold tundra of Winnipeg and emerged from the noise/metal scene there, essentially snatching the Winnipeg noise/metal flag that fellow legendary tundra dwellers, the Kittens left for them.  They’ve just recently employed Andrew LaCour as their full time bassist.

The KEN in their namesake is an acronym for “Kill Everyone Now,” a phrase coined by Henry Rollins. And that is quite fitting for the music that KEN mode brings forth. The phrase may conjure up images of a violent killing spree gone wild. But their approach to killing is more slow and methodical. Like a sadistic torture killer. A slow bludgeon of doom-inspired metal. Then they will move on to frenetically stab you with some hardcore and still take their time with their art noise chaos to paint the walls of your apartment with your blood. Finally dismembering you with some post metal craziness and then bury you with some hard hitting punk. KEN mode bring it all with a weird, twisted and fierce manner. “We're undoubtedly an aggressive band, but people expecting thrash or death metal will likely be pretty disappointed,” Matthewson explains. “We draw from all kinds of various sub-genres both within and outside of metal, it's all mixed together into a fairly noise rock hardcore package overall.”

For the full experience of this violent purification, KEN mode must be witnessed live. “A whole lot of  balled up intensity spewing forth all over everyone in the room. We're feeling this music, and the stage show is very much a part of this pretentious catharsis,” Matthewson describes and “you'll leave feeling judged, shaken, a little bit slimy, and guilty for enjoying those feelings more than you should.”  

KEN mode, Today Is The Day, Black Tusk, Fight Amp and Cooked and Eaten play the Rickshaw Theatre on March 29.


SUBCULTURE by wendythirteen
So I wonder sometimes if I could run out of ideas for this column and then boom! something rears its maniacal head that gets me rolling on a tangent …

I got a great quote from Denyss of the Rickshaw while we were chewing the fat on the hypocrisies of Vancouver’s bipolar music scene one day … It goes something like this … ‘convictions only last until they’re inconvenient’…

Now I have the good fortune to still be carrying on my work out of one the last bastions of not-yet-gentrified skid bars in Vancouver…