Wacken Metal Battle Canada 2014: who are the final combatants?

Exit Strategy

Who are you and where are you from?

We are Exit Strategy from Calgary, Alberta. Members are Wes LeLeeuw on vocals, Joe Sikorski on guitar, Greg Musgrave on bass & vocals and Casey Rogers on drums.

Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy

What’s your niche?

We have kind of dubbed our sound as ‘Deathgrind’, which is basically a hybrid of death metal & grindcore. There are a lot more hooks and groove elements in our music that is not overly common in death metal and most certainly not in grindcore, which is one of the key elements of our sound that tends to distinguish us from our peers. We also approach the vocals with a lead vocalist and then a secondary vocalist. This gives the music and live show a distinctive dynamic that sets us apart and gives us the opportunity to explore tandem and cross-vocalization which seems to resonate with our fans.

Why metal? What’s your favourite thing about the genre, the scene, the culture?

Metal is in all of our blood and is as thick as it gets. All of us in this band have been doing this for many years and have always been very passionate about the metal scene as a whole and the community that comes with being in a metal band. There are very few genres of music where the music defines you above all other characteristics, and image, looks, age are just an added bonus. Those things are of course important, but if the music doesn’t hold its own, then you are dead in the water before you even get off shore.

Who or what inspires you?

This band really has one of the broadest cross-sections of influences from any group of musicians that I’ve ever worked with. Our vocalist is into a lot of backwoods blues and dark folk stuff to crazy hyper-speed stuff like Fleshgod Apocalypse; the guitarist has huge death metal influences with bands like Cryptopsy and Suffocation being major contributors to his writing style but he also loves prog bands like Pain Of Salvation and Porcupine Tree; our drummer holds Meshuggah next to godliness; and I am into more experimental bands like Dog Fashion Disco, Mr Bungle and Faith No More. So collectively we all bring a lot of different influences to the table and that cross-section of influences comes out in the music and contributes to what we believe is a very different take on the typical death metal sound.

#1 motivation for competing in Wacken Metal Battle Canada?

To hopefully go all the way to playing Wacken in Germany, which would be beyond a dream, and to be heard by as many people as possible and for the band to hopefully make it to the next proverbial level, so to speak.

Highlight of this year’s competition so far (besides getting to the finals)?

The highlight has really been the show attendance and support that the local Alberta scene has shown – the people that have come out to support all of the bands throughout the entire competition and the fact that we have such a strong and resilient metal scene. The support for all of the shows has been nothing short of incredible.

Best place to check out samples of your music?

Facebook: facebook.com/exitstrategycalgary
Bandcamp: exitstrategycalgary.bandcamp.com/music
Website: exitstrategy.ca

— Greg Musgrave, EXIT STRATEGY

Laura Wiebe

Laura is associate editor of Hellbound.ca and co-host of weekly metal show Kill Eat Exploit the Weak on CFMU 93.3 FM. She loves doom, prog, cats and basketball, believes in equity and social justice and is not cool with any form of discrimination, marginalization, harassment or oppression.