Canadian Metal

Hexenklad – Heathenheart Review

Hexenklad – Heathenheart Review

“Canada’s Hexenklad is a semi-supergroup of sorts, boasting members of SIG:AR:TYR, Eclipse Eternal and Pagan Ritual. On their second full-length Heathenheart they dish out a wide-ranging variety of pagan black/folk tunes bearing marks ranging from Moonsorrow, Ensiferum and Windir. They’ve also taken the opportunity to pose for some excellently over-the-top LARP Guild photos and videos. Talent is abundant, as is the ambition.” Heathen hearts, big eyes.

Dungeon Serpent – World of Sorrows Review

Dungeon Serpent – World of Sorrows Review

“When you read “melodic death metal,” what do you think of? If your answer is “thrashy power metal with more chugging and harsh vocals” you’re not alone. I frequently avoid bands with the melo-death tag because that niche of the subgenre has a shallow well of inspiration and grows old quickly. Too often do I forget that Kataklysm is a melo-death band, and Sorcery is a melo-death record, likewise with At the GatesWith Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness. Both of these are the furthest thing from the cheesy version of melo-death. Thanks to The Nightmare of Being I’ve been on somewhat of a melo-death kick lately, which prompted me to take a chance on Canadian one-man band Dungeon Serpent and their debut record World of Sorrows.” Snakes in the Sorcery room.

Musk Ox – Inheritance Review

Musk Ox – Inheritance Review

Musk Ox are three guys with acoustic string instruments playing folk music: not exactly a new idea. But their pedigree as composers and musicians is impeccable. Musk Ox‘s previous album, 2014’s Woodfall, was great. Cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne’s solo record Worlds Within was one of my favorites last year, while guitarist Nathanael Larochette and violinist Evan Runge play in The Night Watch and released the excellent An Embarrassment of Riches the year before. Fortunately, Inheritance fully lives up to all this promise.” Dichotomy and musk.

Starlight Ritual – Sealed in Starlight Review

Starlight Ritual – Sealed in Starlight Review

Sponge Boy(d) and I don’t exactly have well aligned worldviews or musical tastes, but for whatever reason we both laid claim to the debut by Canadian classic metal act Starlight Ritual. Instead of fussin’ and feudin’, we decided to do a double review of Sealed in Starlight instead. See? People of different opinions can work together! Hailing from Quebec, this crew rocks a heavy metal sound steeped in the 80s. They cite influences ranging from Mötörhead, Rainbow and Judas Priest.” Sealed in the 80s.

The Wring – Project Cipher Review

The Wring – Project Cipher Review

“The promo’s promise of “Rush without the synths” is a pretty decent summary of what The Wring are going for here. The key elements are complex, layered, noodly guitar/bass lines and shifting time signatures. Prog’s regular downfall is letting the noodling get in the way of good songs, but The Wring keep things tight and let the songcraft lead.” Loose cipher.

Svneatr – Chinook Review

Svneatr – Chinook Review

“Another day, another black metal album. Just like my daily bowl of Lucky Charms and cup of coffee, it will either be delicious or tiresome. Is it gonna be Starbucks’ ashtray blend or Trve Kvlt’s Diabolical Divinations roast? Is Lucky Charms gonna hurt that shady cavity I’ve got developing in my molars or will it delight with its blend of hearty bits and sweet marshmallows? It’s a toss-up – just like black metal. While I have history with Vancouver’s Svneatr, sophomore effort Chinook hopes to follow up 2018’s excellent The Howl, The Whisper, The Hunt with a cold, riffy second-wave shenanigans. Does Chinook live up to to the hype?” If you want to destroy my Svneatr

The Ember, the Ash – Fixation Review

The Ember, the Ash – Fixation Review

The Ember, the Ash hail from the Canadian province of Ontario, and are not my usual cup of tea. The project is a solo effort by one 鬼, and is listed in the Metal Archives as being one of symphonic deathcore, which is so far outside of my usual wheelhouse that I’m not entirely sure what drew me to Fixation, the project’s sophomore effort. And yet, here I am, several listens in, not tearing my hair out with my hands, and admitting to have enjoyed the experience.” Ash for the masses.

Ischemic – Ischemic Review

Ischemic – Ischemic Review

“As 2021 continues to be the DLC to 2020 that absolutely nobody asked for or wanted, bands are using the downtime due to lack of touring and promotion to work diligently on their musical output. Some bands, such as Toronto’s Ischemic, are even going as far as to record and mix their own music, further driving home the fact that DIY can’t, and won’t, be stopped. Not by pandemics, not by lockdowns, not by lack of touring. It’s this admirable and, quite frankly, necessary approach that will eventually separate the diehards from the pack, and on the band’s self-titled second full-length, they didn’t let the pandemic get in the way.” Crisis management.

Nordicwinter – Sorrow Review

Nordicwinter – Sorrow Review

“I don’t know how much the brand Ronseal means to people outside the UK but here, it immediately conjures an advertising slogan: “Does exactly what it says on the tin.” Sometimes, you come across bands that embody this. Nordicwinter is Ronseal. Despite being from Canada, it would appear that its very raison d’être is to deliver in audible form the desolate, lonely wastes of a single Scandinavian season – I’m not going to say it, you know, the one … traditionally between Autumn and Spring. Sorrow takes this to extremes, however.” 12 inches of Sorrow.

Olde – Pilgrimage Review

Olde – Pilgrimage Review

“Ontario’s Olde have been banging around the sludge scene for an unknown period of time, formerly as Corvuss until around 2014 when they decided to change their name to what it is today. I’m usually pretty good at keeping an ear out for quality sludge and doom releases, but I will admit I’ve never heard of Olde until the accompanying one-sheet bio claimed that they’re for fans of High on FireTroubleThe Melvins, and Entombed How do I say no to that?!” Olde and slowe.