Photo by Adam Opris
Frontman Christopher Bowes Speaks to Zombitrol Productions
Scotland’s Alestorm are dropping their fifth album of catchy pirate-themed heavy metal today, entitled No Grave But The Sea. Recently the band did a quick run of dates in Montreal, Quebec City, and Toronto to make up for some shows they had to cancel on their last tour. I sat down with frontman Christopher Bowes to talk about the new album, their status as one of metal’s premier gateway bands, and how despite their on-and-off-stage shenanigans, they actually take this music thing pretty seriously.
No Grave But The Sea is out today on Napalm Records, and you can watch the video for “Mexico” below. You can catch Alestorm on the Vans Warped Tour this summer, bookended by lots of European festival dates. Check them all out here.
I would also like to thank the band for donating a signed and defaced vinyl copy of Crimson Shadows’ Kings Among Men, to Zombitrol Productions’ presentation of The Rab Bash, a charity metal show in memory of the legendary Rob Cranny. We raffled off the album as well as a number of other great prizes, and along with the door proceeds, we were able to raise $1,400 for North Toronto Cat Rescue. See the legendary defacement below, as well as the album with winner Ryan Cowdy.
Photo by Charlie Baron
Vocalist Alex Erian speaks to Zombitrol Productions
It’s now been over a decade since Montreal’s Despised Icon helped define the deathcore genre, and the sound has gone through several transformations since their breakup in 2010. Much of the change has arguably been for commercial reasons, so it’s refreshing that in their position as co-creators of the genre, Despised Icon’s first album since their reunion is a back-to-basics affair. The Juno-nominated Beast is a solid slab of Montreal deathcore that hearkens back to their second album, 2005’s The Healing Process.
I met up with Erian before a set at Toronto’s Lee’s Palace to talk about the circumstances that led to the band’s reunion, and why despite their other commitments (including Erian’s job fronting the band Obey The Brave), they are able to make things work this time around. We also chatted about the new album, and why hip-hop may play far less of a role in the band’s music than I had previously thought.
Despised Icon’s Beast is available now on Nuclear Blast Records, and you can watch the video for “Bad Vibes” below. Alex Erian has some upcoming tour dates with Obey The Brave in Quebec, Manitoba, and Alberta starting June 1st, and their new album Mad Season comes out the very next day.
Photo Courtesy of Strut Entertainment
Juno-winning bluesman Steve Strongman has just released a new album called No Time Like Now that injects hard rock and gospel into traditional blues. He’s shared stages with legends like B.B. King and Buddy Guy, but it was before a working-class weekday headlining set at Toronto’s Rivoli that I caught up with Strongman. We talked about the warm tone and diverse influences on the new album, whether awards help underground musicians, and how he feels about modernization in blues.
Steve Strongman has a number of dates lined up for the spring and summer in Ontario and Quebec. You can listen to the title track from the new album No Time Like Now here.
Photo by Eric Beiers
The last few years have been good to Canada’s prog-core wizards Protest The Hero. They’ve always had a large and passionate fan-base, but a few years ago things began to get a bit bigger. The crowdfunding campaign for their 2013 album Volition was an overwhelming success. It brought in new fans and was very well-received by the press. The record would go on to be named Metal/Hard Album of the Year at the Juno Awards. In 2015 they took the process a step further with their six song EP Pacific Myth. The release was treated like a subscription service, as fans who signed up received a new song with original artwork once a month.
Late last year the EP was finally released to the general public, and the band hit the road for a short Canadian tour with A Wilhelm Scream, which culminated at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall and the 2016 edition of the Stay Warm mini-fest. Before the show I sat down for the first time in a long time with vocalist Rody Walker to talk about their recent success, and how it’s changed them as a band.
Shot and Edited by Eric Beiers
Protest The Hero are currently on the road in North America as direct support for August Burns Red. The tour has one final Canadian date on February 16th in Toronto at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. Pacific Myth has recently delivered the band their second Juno nomination, and you can steam the album here. Rody Walker also has a new punk side project called Mystery Weekend, with their debut album Surprise! coming out on February 17th. Have a listen here.