By Jason Wellwood
Well, here we are with week two’s Iron Maple column. With any luck there won’t need to be a name change this week or anyone crying ‘conflict of interest’ with my reviews! It’s been an interesting week for me here in Iron Maple land, racking up plenty of interviews as well as a whole lot of listening. There hasn’t been a lot of new stuff coming in to Iron Maple headquarters the last two weeks, but that’s perfectly fine as I’m so back logged right now, it’s a little mind blowing. In case you’ve forgotten, or if you weren’t around last week, Iron Maple is a new column focused solely on Canadian Independent Loud Rock (for Hellbound’s purposes it will be metal, though some hardcore and hard rock may slip in now and again) and is based on a 3 hour radio show I host every week on CILU in Thunder Bay, ON. This week I have one older 2012 release for you, a newer 2012 release and a pre-release scoop as well.
As always, questions, concerns, comments can be left here or directed to: [email protected] and if you want to check out what my shows sound like (playlists will also be posted here weekly) you can download the shows by going to: http://luradio-server.lakeheadu.ca/2013/Witchfinder%20Radio/
Robert Zemeckis – Robert Zemeckis (Self Released)
Robert Zemeckis has an awesome Canadian independent metal pedigree: drums are played by Steve Vargas (The Great Sabatini, Greber, Tugnut), vocals and bass by Marc Bourgeron (Fuck The Facts, Greber, Tugnut) and guitar by Topon Das (Fuck The Facts, Lauderdale). Maybe not the best known names in metal, but all bands that you should check out if you like your metal on the grindy, sludgey, experimental side. Robert Zemeckis takes some of the best elements of the aforementioned bands and adds a healthy dose of hardcore and straight up punk rock to the songs as well. Varying in length from short one minute stabs at your eyeballs (‘Alice Vs. The Elderly Slovakian Poet’, ‘Mirror Stare’) to longer, more solid repeated kicks to the groin of 3+ minutes, Robert Zemeckis does not leave the listener any time to become bored or to get too comfortable.
Robert Zemeckis is thick, fast, and authoritative. With any luck there may be a Fuck The Facts/The Great Sabatini tour package that would see some of this material performed live.
Tapout –Hit Machine (Self Released)
Tough guy hardcore isn’t the most jolly of music. Most people don’t listen because they are looking for laughs, but because they need to assert some masculinity, or perhaps beat someone up later at the bar. Tapout, named specifically so they never have to pay to make their own merch I’m sure, kept that in mind when creating the music for their debut album Hit Machine. Lyrically however, the rules are tossed out of the octagon. Hit Machine is a concept album about an up and coming fighter who becomes a champion, only to lose everything, which is an interesting idea. Add in the fact that the entire thing is taking the piss out of the UFC/MMA culture and it becomes awesome! Some of the lines mimic the ridiculousness of most of the fighters (and worshippers) like, ‘I’m fucking huge, I lifted Peru, I’m fucking huge, I beat up a zoo’, but then the band turns it around and gives a smart line like, ‘Drank some Xyience and shot up some roids for lunch’ highlighting the culture of consumerism that has grown around ultimate fighting.
Veering off a little, ‘Riffs’ owns up to the joke, essentially saying, ‘Yes, we know this isn’t new, we know this isn’t original, but fuck you’. Tapout may have stolen Hatebreed’s shtick but they have certainly turned it around and made it hilarious for the right reasons.
Grab it here
Orchid’s Curse –Words (Diminished Fifth)
Few bands demand that each album be a progression, a growth, in the way that Orchid’s Curse does. No musical influence is turned away, but everything is twisted, melded into an intense metal experience that makes your head bang one moment and your toes tap the next. On Words, the bands third release, the growth of Orchid’s Curse is palpable. Lyrically, Words deals with anti-organized religion themes, loss of innocence and destruction of faith but the overall message is one of hope and spirituality. Both the song writing and musicianship on Words have taken giant steps forward, with every band member turning in an intense and diverse performance.
While ‘Baptismalpractice’ kicks off with an intense blast of metal, the band turn to a dirtier, grimier place for ‘Lie To Live The Lie’ and the locked in guitars of ‘If We’re Divine’ give solid nod to some of metal’s great guitar duos. Of course then they turn in an admirable hardcore turn for ‘Indifference’ followed by a quick bit of doom on the title track. With Words, Orchid’s Curse has spread its metallic wings a little further and at the same time created the most cohesive, memorable album of its career.
Find out more about the band here.
Last week I reviewed the new Abriosis disc in Iron Maple, and I had the chance to speak with Alxs Ness of Abriosis as well. Here’s that interview for you:
In a second ‘bonus’ interview this week, I came across an interview I hadn’t used yet with Joel Violette of Thrawsunblat in anticipation of the forthcoming Thrawsunblat II: Wanderer on the Continent of Saplings. Lots of interesting bits for those of you interested in Thrawsunblat, Woods of Ypres (Joel was David Gold’s co-conspirator for the final album as well as being a member for Woods IV) and Rae Amitay (currently drumming for Castle, also involved with Woods of Ypres and Mares of Thrace). Check out more about Thrawsunblat here.