By Sarah Kitteringham
CALGARY – There’s been a handful of releases by Calgary bands this summer that we’ve yet to cover. Let’s go over that here before we get into the August gigs.
First up, Calgary death metal band Cultist released their EP Cosmic Tomb on July 15. The follow-up to their 2016 demo features a tighter rhythm section and slightly more melody amidst the dry, howling old school tendencies. Recorded by AJ Kovar and mixed by Spencer Craft, the six-track release is topped off with a cover of Master’s “Pay to Die” and is available now on Bandcamp.
To learn more, we chatted with drummer James Baragar, who is joined on the album by vocalist and bassist Vanessa Grossberndt, and guitarist Brodie Wylie (Vaalt).
Full disclosure: Baragar has previously written for BeatRoute.
“I remember the first time I heard Obituary’s Cause of Death (1990), in high school, and immediately, something awakened and I knew that this was it,” he says of his inspiration to form a death metal band.
While the demo is undeniably primitive, the newer release features a dollop more spit shine, and is polished off with a haunting drawing by Constance Knight of a doomed man crawling in a space ship in outer space, his helmet burst open, revealing decaying flesh within.
“There’s this conspiracy theory that when the U.S.S.R sent the first man into space, he wasn’t actually the first guy, and that they did a test run with a less presentable guy first who didn’t make it back,” explains Baragar, who enjoys listening to conspiracy podcasts. He’s referring to the Lost Cosmonaut theory that is commonly referenced in pop culture.
The second release worthy of a mention is the …An Impetuous Offering demo by Drear. Released on July 11, it’s available now on Bandcamp. The band is composed of Vaalt’s own Steve Tillapaugh on bass and vocals, and T. Perras on drums. Comprised of only two lengthy tracks, the recording is malevolent and feedback heavy. Recorded live off the floor by Dire Omen’s Rolando Rodas, the offering features two lengthy songs of rumbling death. Think Inverloch and Temple of Abandonment.
The final release isn’t by a Calgary band, but I sure as hell wish it were. Head over to Bandcamp to check out militant black metal band Neckbeard Deathcamp, who released their debut White Nationalism is for Basement Dwelling Losers on July 21. Featuring such biting (and deeply critical) cuts as “The Left Are the Real Fascists” and “Please Respond (I Showed You My Penis.” This shit rips and is proudly FEDORA CRUSHING.
Now for shows: August kicks off with the annual Loud As Hell Festival. Head to Dinosaur Downs Speedway in Drumhellar, Alberta from Friday, August 3 until Sunday, August 5 to see Fit For An Autopsy, Archspire, Into Eternity, West of Hell, Neck of the Woods, Ninjaspy, Eye of Horus, and numerous more. Weekend passes are $99 and include camping AND a pancake breakfast ach morning of the festival; visit https://www.loudashell.com/ to get yours.
One of the best gigs of the month goes down on Friday, August 10, when Boise, Idaho based hardcore punk act Ingrown perform at Commons Church (Calgary). The band is raw and raging, utilizing grindy blast beasts alongside gruff barks and catchy riffs. They’ll be joined by Seattle based powerviolence act Regional Justice Center, and Calgary’s own Mortality Rate, Enemies, and Full/Choke. Tickets are only $10 at the door; the gig is all-ages.
On Saturday, August 11, head to King Edward Park Small Hill (Edmonton) for a killer heavy gig featuring Calgary’s own doomviolence band Sawlung, alongside Edmonton’s Messiahlator, Feeding, and False Body. Bonus points if you go solely for the “symphonic Viking metal.”
Meanwhile in Calgary, Vancouver brutal death metal act Evilosity is performing with Edmonton death metallers Display of Decay, alongside Pathetic, Kings Rot, and Pecado at Vern’s. Tickets are $10 at the door.
The first rendition of the Temple of Ascension black metal festival kicks off on Thursday, August 16 at the Starlite Room (Edmonton). The opening night features performances from Profanatica, Dumal, Funeral of God, and more. On Friday, August 17, Primitive Man, Rites of Thy Degringolade, and Blasphemy will perform, among others. On the third and final day, Hellfire Deathcult, Diocletian, and Revenge will cap off the proceedings. Three-day passes for the festival are $100.
Head to Vern’s on August 17 (Calgary) for Black Sacrament, Vile Insignia, Fjell Thyngor, and Vectivus.
Edmonton’s own Don’t Wanna Hear It Fest runs from Friday, August 24 until Sunday, August 26. Through the course of three days, the fest will be hosting five shows at three locations. Bands performing including Pill Crusher, Full/Choke, Disphoria, Nag, Tommy Grimes, Paroxysm, Paradise, and Uncanny Valley. Details were not publicized as of press time, so be sure to check their Facebook page for more information.
Also happening in Edmonton on Friday, August 24: Protosequence is performing with Kelowna based “death/black/doom horde” Apollyon, Edmonton’s Begrime Exemious, and Calgary’s Plaguebringer at Rendezvous Pub. It will be the last show for Protosequence vocalist Joseph, so be sure not to miss it. Tickets are $15 at the door.
Another excellent all-ages offering goes down on Sunday, August 26 at Southview Community Hall (Calgary), courtesy of the Major Minor Music Project. Heavy Summer begins at 2 p.m., and features local grindcore titans WAKE performing alongside Widowspeak and Flashback, both of who are celebrating album releases. They’ll be joined by Apollyon, Bayonet, Chained by Mind, and several more. The show is $10 or free with a Southview Community Membership; a food truck will be on site for the day.
Hardcore legends Terror will be kicking off the school year with two exclusive Western Canadian shows. See them on Saturday, September 1 at Starlite Room (Edmonton) or on Sunday, September 2 at Dickens (Calgary).