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BAPTISTS - Ryan Walter Wagner photo
Ryan Walter Wagner photo

Lords of the north

Vancouver! Take notice and pay attention, because in local heavy music, lesson number one is Baptists.

“Our label owner, Greg, made me some crazy concoction before we played with Pentagram in San Francisco. I don't know what the hell he put in it, but I ended up smashing a bottle over my head onstage and then crushing some dude in the crowd. I think I got carried back to the van that night,” estimates the Baptists’ front man/vocalist Andrew Drury. That pretty much sums up the agitating menace that is Vancouver’s ‘cleanup hitter’ of heavy bands. If you haven’t already, you might want to take notice and get on board.

Someone who did take notice was a stellar record label of all things extreme - Southern Lord. Back in 2011 it was through a random MySpace (remember that?) message from them that got the band signed and things started to roll. “We didn’t even believe it was real at first. We were totally caught off guard,” Drury looks back. “We haven’t checked MySpace since.”

The next thing they know they were jet setting out to Salem, Massachusetts to record their debut album Bushcraft with Converge’s Kurt Ballou at his studio. The result was unremitting. So much so that they booked a return visit to do their new album Bloodmines, which is ready to drop on October 13th. You might think it’s been a bit of a whirlwind for them. “It hasn't felt too fast to me,” adds Drury, “I feel like I've been doing this with these guys for years now. The Southern Lord thing happened after a couple months of being a band, so we don't know what it's like to not be associated with them. We're still very grateful to be [connected] with such a ruling label.”

If the new pre-released songs “Calling” and “Harm Induction” are any indication, Bloodmines will have punishing results. There is undeniable muscle and an intimidating strength to their sound. Like a persistent poke at the bear until that raging beast mauls and rips an unwary listener to shreds. Steeped deep in noisy hardcore, this band is not shy about its love for Converge and Cursed. “We wanted to be Vancouver’s answer to Cursed breaking up. I don’t listen to much Canadian metal. All I want is a Cursed reunion,” Drury half jokes.

Filling out the roster of Baptists is guitarist Danny Marshall and bassist Sean Hawryluk. Their drummer, Nick Yacyshyn, is a drumming machine. So when Dave Grohl proclaimed Yacyshyn to be his new favourite drummer, well let’s just say the band was stoked with the accolades. “It was cool to see that. It seriously had nothing to do with the band as a whole. That post was 100 per cent about Nick. It'd be super cool if Dave actually listens to us, though! I was, and still am a massive fan of his,” responds Drury.

Life’s complications prevent Baptists from getting out as much as they would like to, but they plan on touring as much as they can for Bloodlines. For starters, they are booked solid down the West Coast with label mates Obliterations with plans to go to Europe, Mexico and even Indonesia. So there will be some love spreading around this release. “We're proud of it, so we want to show as much of the world as possible that we can play that shit live,” says Drury. But just a warning before you go see them, like that prodded bear, they will split you apart and especially Drury, as he is a madman. Vancouver, be prepared, as this triple-threat of Baptists, Obliterations and Torch Runner will charge that pit.

Baptists play The Biltmore Cabaret October 25.

-by Heath Fenton