By Sarah Kitteringham
BeatRoute is proud to premiere the self-titled debut by Edmonton crust punk act Paroxysm. Says the band of the release, “This mini LP is a window into the problems plaguing society in 25 minutes of dark metallic crust…. Paroxysm attacks white supremacy, misogyny, the status quo and those who benefit from it.” Stream the record below, and read our interview with lyricist and vocalist Holly Brake, alongside drummer Chris.
EDMONTON – Emerging from Edmonton, Paroxysm expels a d-beat laden, blackened style of hardcore punk. The socio-politically oriented band is on the cusp of releasing their self-titled EP, a 25-minute crossover rager. The multi-label release will be available on vinyl, and features blazing riffs and a crusty howl excellently lain over top the mix. Paroxysm has improved quickly since their March 2016 offering, the Open Wounds Demo. Despite its rudimentary recording quality, the 50-cassette edition sold out.
“I believe that musically the aim has been for a d-beat, blackened-crust type sound. At least, this is where I think a lot of our influences are coming from. Each member of our band seems to feed off of a variety of metal and punk,” explains Holly Brake, the lyrics and vocalist for the act. She discussed the release with BeatRoute alongside drummer Chris.
“The demo was recorded in one take, live-off-the-floor in a matter of hours with equipment that none of us knew how to use. By the time we recorded the EP, we were tighter as a band and playing much faster. We also took our time while recording the EP. There are more layers of guitar. The sound is altogether cleaner.”
It’d be foolish to mistake cleanliness for meekness, as the EP is anything but. The oscillating groovy riff in “White Picket Fence” is overlain with unnerving shrieks; “Sickness Remains” opens with crushing, swelling instrumentation then transforms into something bordering on grindcore. The obvious difference here is the improved production, courtesy of Derek Orthner (Begrime Exemious). Thematically, the release has many commonalities with their demo, whose cover depicted the St. Bernard Residential School located in Grouard, Alberta. Paroxysm’s Bandcamp page includes a strong statement regarding the release.
“Paroxysm is a platform for me to bring to light the rampant human indignities that have been caused by colonialism,” explains Chris.
Extreme racism, poverty, unusually high rates of illness, low life expectancy, inconsistent access to clean drinking water and suicide rates that are double the national average are all deep seated, ongoing issues for Aboriginal communities across Canada.
“Be it the cover of our demo, which depicts the Residential School my mother and her siblings attended, the cover of our [new self-titled] album that shows an ominous view of the tar sands that have destroyed a vast landscape, or in the music which I use as a release for inner turmoil caused by the struggles of daily racism.”
He continues, “My family along with EVERY indigenous family on Turtle Island [the ingenious name for North America] have deep wounds that we are trying to deal with. It’s very true that not a lot of people know or acknowledge the atrocities committed on Indigenous peoples. By telling a part of my story in that write up it puts a face to the white supremacist laws created by the Canadian government.”
Brake is adamant that Paroxysm will continue to focus on social issues as a means of addressing and combating injustice. In the current antagonistic political climate where extreme right wing ideologies are being normalized, it’s a message Paroxysm places deep importance in, both from within and in their day-to-day lives.
“I don’t just think it’s important to make a statement about this with our band, I think it’s important to make this statement in every life situation where it needs to be heard,” explains Brake.
“It’s about speaking out against ‘socially acceptable’ racism which includes anti-refugee and Islamophobic sentiments, spitting on anti-choice-misogynist-sign-holding-scumbags, or standing in solidarity with workers in every industry being exploited for their labour.”
She concludes, “It’s about acknowledging that the land we inhabit is stolen, and this nation continues to exploit and victimize indigenous communities to date. We must all work toward reconciliation and indigenous liberation. I believe it starts with educating folks on Canada’s treacherous history, and addressing the racism that has been passed down through generations and dismantling it.”
Paroxysm will release their self-titled EP on vinyl September 22 at the Brixx (Edmonton). They’ll be performing alongside Begrime Exemious and WAKE. You can hear the band online at https://paroxysmofficial.bandcamp.com/.
Editor’s Note: The print edition of this article featured an incorrect spelling of Holly Brake’s last name. We apologize for the error.Begrime Exemious, Brixx, Crust Punks, Debut, Paroxysm, punk, WAKE