Hellbound is a Canadian-based metal site. That doesn’t determine our coverage – we can appreciate, evaluate and cover heavy tunes from anywhere in the world. But we do like to support our fellow Canadians who are involved in making ear-stimulating music. And though our Canada Day features and annual best Canadian metal lists are fun as well as popular, they only allow us to spotlight a tiny fraction of the intriguing, captivating, headbashing, mindblowing, eviscerating and other kinds of notable metal being produced in this somewhat northern clime. For that reason, we at Hellbound would like to introduce a new regular feature: Canuck metal you don’t want to miss.
To kick off this new interview feature we turned to one of Canada’s biggest metal headlines of 2013, Crimson Shadows, winners of not only Wacken Metal Battle Canada but also the international band competition held at Wacken Open Air in Germany. If you haven’t heard the band yet, stop wasting your time – you can check out their latest EP, Sails of Destiny, at crimsonshadows.bandcamp.com. While you’re listening, here’s a little more info about Crimson Shadows to contextualize what you hear, courtesy of band members Cory Hofing and Jimi Maltais.
Who is Crimson Shadows?
Brothers Ryan Hofing (guitar) and Cory Hofing (drums), Jimi Maltais (vocals), Greg Rounding (guitar/vocals), and Morgan Rider (bass).
Morgan joined as a fill in bassist in the summer of 2012 but his dedication and supreme bass playing skills brought him into a full-time spot in this band. We have had three past full-time bassists over six years who were amazing but had to leave due to personal reasons, and we are still friends with all of them.
You released your first EP in 2007, correct? How long did Crimson Shadows exist before that?
We formed in early 2006. It took roughly a year of playing shows and getting out name out there before we hit the studio to record some demos. Our first EP was released in 2007.
Where’s home base for the band?
We are all from the GTA (greater Toronto area) but Toronto is where we started playing shows and making a name for ourselves.
How do you describe your music?
Death/Power Metal. We take the melodic upbeat feel of European Power Metal and mix it with the aggressive vocal styles of Death Metal.
Have you been releasing all your music independently so far?
Both EP’s have been independent and our album Glory on the Battlefield was released through Spiritual Beast Records in Japan and independently for the rest of the world.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Our influences have grown over the years as you can hear in our songs. In the beginning, DragonForce, Children of Bodom, Arch Enemy and Nocturnal Rites were a huge influence, where now we take from many new bands – up and coming like Battlecross, and even some underground Canadian bands such as Unleash the Archers, Kalter, Nordheim and Black Moor.
Could you tell us a bit about your experience last year taking part in the Wacken Metal Battle Canada, and then going on to compete and win in Germany?
The experience was unlike anything we have done before. From the first battle show in Toronto it was really eye opening how much the local metal scene was there to support us as well as all the bands involved. Once it got down to the final show we were just happy to be there and thought that any of the bands would be a great representation of Canadian Metal over in Germany. After winning it was a lot of working getting flights booked and all the arrangements with Wacken, which JJ [Tartaglia] was great to work with, getting everything taken care of! Once we were there it was incredible, the people, and bands, the food and most of all the beer! It was truly an unforgettable experience for all of us.
Would you say winning the Wacken Metal Battle is your highest achievement so far?
Yes, definitely. Just getting to play Wacken was amazing but winning the whole battle was beyond anything we could dream of.
What are some of the other highlights of your career to date – what you’re happiest about as a band in terms of what you’ve achieved or accomplished?
What we are happiest about is our future. We recently teamed up with Fays Management out of Michigan and played our first USA dates this January with Metal Blade’s Battlecross, which was amazing, and this is only the beginning. We have also toured Canada from coast to coast and met some amazing people in the process.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve overcome?
The personal and financial struggles of being in an independent band is difficult, also the changing members, but we are solid and ready to take on the world!
What is Crimson Shadows up to right now and in the near-future? Any new music in progress or on the horizon?
Well, since getting back from Wacken we have been writing constantly so we can release a new full length this year. We just finished a four-day run with Battlecross, playing our first USA shows in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Detroit as well as a nice hometown show for us in Toronto. On that tour we were playing two brand new tracks that will be on our next album.
What do you most hope to achieve in the future?
We all just hope we can make this band our full-time career and be able to tour the world. Ever since the beginning all we have wanted is to write, record and play music live for people and with that dream finally in our sights we couldn’t be happier.
What would you say is one of the most entertaining or surprising things about Crimson Shadows?
Probably the fact that we dance around on stage, which isn’t very typical for metal. Most metal bands are really serious and are really focused on their image. We’re all about having fun while keeping the set as tight as possible. We flex on stage, high five people, stage dive, cheers beers and dance like idiots.
Crimson Shadows discography:
- Crimson Shadows EP (2007)
- Glory on the Battlefield (2012)
- Sails of Destiny EP (2013)