A headbanger's blog!

Posts tagged “Ottawa

A Fortunate Return! Don’t miss it!

Santuarium @ the Rainbow

Back at the beginning of August I was present at a show out in the east-end at the relatively new Obsession live lounge. The show was sparsely attended, due in part to the fact that it was competing with at least two other shows happening elsewhere on the same evening. While I’m sure those other events were just as enjoyable, the fact remains that those who didn’t attend missed a talented band from the other side of the world. Usually, such an opportunity wouldn’t happen again.

Fortunately, Brazil’s Santuarium have stuck around our corner of the world and will be coming back to storm the Rainbow on the 16th with Tomahawk Punch and Creeping Beauty. I can’t stress enough how good this band is (check out my review of the last show) and how much they deserve a howling crowd to greet them. Their approach to Metal is one of the most unique I’ve seen, coating their hard rock core with symphonic and gothic elements without allowing those elements to diminish their punchy guitar work and headbanging compositions.

So it’s a Wednesday night. Not the most convenient thing in the world, I know. But this is a dedicated band from across the globe that deserves an appreciative crowd. What else were you going to do that night?

Seriously, don’t miss these guys again. They’re killer!


It’s been a while…

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve made a post. In fact if I’m not mistaken it’s been the better part of a year. That’s crazy. But a lot of stuff has been happening, both metal related and not.

I’m completely finished my schooling. I now hold two degrees from Algonquin College (Broadcasting-Radio and Professional Writing) and I am ready to really start pursuing my career goals. Excited to be done, excited, and a little scared, for the future.

Marina and I

Marina and I

My wonderful girlfriend and I are in the process of moving in together. We’re looking in to getting a slightly bigger place than what I currently have, so if you’re in the Ottawa area and know somewhere (preferably in the west end) where we can get a large one-bedroom for a reasonable rate, shoot me a message here, to my gmail, or on facebook.

I’ve been working at a record store here in Ottawa for a year now. It’s called Legend Records and we specialize in new and used vinyl. It’s a pretty cool gig for a 23 year old student, especially as a stepping stone to hopefully using the skills I’ve acquired at Algonquin. If you want to pop in, our hours are 10 AM – 6 PM Monday-Saturday and 12 PM – 5 PM on Sunday.fuel-youth

In my last semester of school, I did a work-placement with two organizations. The first is called Fuel Youth Engagement. They’re a really cool company (Seriously, FHM magazine said that they were among the top ten coolest places to work in Canada!) who work in browser-based and mobile gaming geared toward children and teenagers. I did some really cool stuff with them that involved marketing and tech research, ideas for story concepts for upcoming games, in-game dialogue, etc. It was a real privilege to work with them and I would not hesitate to do so again if there were a place available for me. The people are great and it is they who truly make it the cool place it is!

Metal Blast

The second place I did my placement is a website based out of the Netherlands called Metal Blast.net. I’ve been writing album reviews for them and just recently started doing some interviews. They’ve kept me on since my placement ended and I’m having a blast (no pun intended) writing for them. It’s not a paid position but it has the potential to grow in to one. So if you’re here because you’re a metal fan, check out Metal Blast and the Metal Blast facebook page to see the awesome reviews and interviews that I and the other guys have created. They’re really an awesome, honest, incredibly passionate collective of metal maniacs! (Be sure to “Like” us on facebook and follow us on twitter)

So what does all this mean for the blog? Well, a few things. Firstly, I WILL be resurrecting my activity in these pages. Secondly, while I will still be posting the occasional review, the bulk of my reviews will be posted at the Metal Blast website. The same goes for interviews. This space will now mostly be reserved more for my observations and opinions on hard rock and heavy metal music, the scene surrounding it, and my personal travels through our metallic world. I’ll also be bringing back the weekly rare tracks (and hopefully having a little more focus on the whole “weekly” part) so that I can bring you all some relics from the hard and heavy past.

If you’re interested in some of the writing I’ve been doing with Metal Blast, here’s the page that shows my work. We’re also looking for more people, so if your grammar is good and you’re an adequate wordsmith drop us a line here. As always, I hope you enjoyed reading this post as well as upcoming content. Keep it locked and stay Metal!

– Matt


Live!: Criticull (w/ Dissentient, Alcoholator, Screamer, Barrow Wight) @ Cafe Dekcuf, 21/07/12

It’s always worth taking part when a small band from across the world makes it’s way to sleepy little Ottawa. It’s also worth participating in any event wherein one of the most fun live acts in our fair city pulls headlining duty. So needless to say, I was pretty excited for this little event.

Unfortunately, thanks in large part to OC Transpo, I was late to the show and only managed to catch the last few songs of opener Barrow Wight‘s set. What I heard was a band working largely within a Venom-esque framework, but pouring in liberal doses of prog rock à la Jethro Tull. An interesting mix to be sure, and one full of potential. One thing the band still lacks is a true stage presence and energy. The members, in large part, just stood around looking at the instruments as if they were a little unsure of their playing. However, it was also evident that they were enjoying themselves, and that is the soil from which charisma springs. (7/10)

Screamer on the other hand, while being no older than yours truly, had the presence and passion of seasoned vets. NWOBHM by way of Sweden (i.e. Iron Maiden by way of Torch), this is total throwback Metal with dead serious intent and execution. Vocalist and Bass guitar player Christoffer Svensson is a talented frontman in the early 80s British mold, his voice reminding this writer of Tygers of Pan Tang‘s Jon Deverill, punctuated by highs reminiscent of Sin After Sin-era Halford.  Drummer Henrik Petersson is no slouche either, doing some very interesting stuff that most drummers don’t even bother with. Instead of just maintaining the beat, he throws in little flourishes and extra hits in tasteful places throughout the tunes. An extra dimension to an already rock solid force. (9/10)

Montreal’s Alcoholator is a full-on Thrash act with the philosophy that the world revolves around two things: Heavy Metal and Booze. Far from a unique approach to be sure (I can think of at least one band that has made an entire career out of the exact same concept) but that doesn’t make Alcoholator any less fun to watch and listen too. All instruments are solid and vocalist Matt Butcher is an adept in the use of that good ‘ol Thrash rasp, and the songwriting shows moments of brilliance. Some of the Thrash breaks actually gave me chills (Re: “Drink Beer… or Die Trying”). They have a long way to go before becoming masters of the mosh, but if they can stay the course and continue improving, Montreal could have yet another really special band in their midst. (7/10)

When Gatineau’s Dissentient appeared, their frontman Phil Campbell stood centre stage wearing a Fear Factory t-shirt, and that was certainly an apt comparison. This is a bruising Death Metal unit lying somewhere between that aformentioned California juggernaut and Montreal Tech-Death legends Gorguts. Standing out like a sore thumb as the heaviest unit of the evening, it was evident that this was a band who not only loves what they do, but know know their way around the respective instruments. The technicality in each members’ playing was incredible, and made moreso by the fact it looked easy. Bass guitarist Stef Stomphe is like a caveman who just discovered fire, flayling away on his instrument like he invented it. Throw in a song length Star Trek reference (specifically infamous TNG-era bad guys The Borg) and you have pretty much the perfect, nerdy, Tech-Death unit. (8.5/10)

Headliners Criticull are one of those bands who’ll never dissappoint. That has a lot to do with the fact that there’s no one else doing exactly what they’re doing. Sure there are reference points: Suicidal Tendencies, Primus, and early Faith No More are obvious influences. But, no one really truly blends Funk, Thrash, Hardcore, and a gonzo sense of humour and manages to keep it heavy and energetic. Yet despite how much they have going on, the songs themselves manage to stand-out and even become memorable, “Sabre the Flavour” and “Who Killed You?” being hilarious highlights. If you’re an open-minded Ottawa music fan, this is a band you need to see. Their is no one like them and, if they chose it, they could take their brand very far. (9/10)

Overall show score: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ (8 out of 10)

Photos courtesy of the fantastic Gilles Landreville of GMLPhoto! If you wish to inquire as to his services, you can e-mail him at this address.