By Ari Rosenschein
It’s a dark winter night and a few hundred black-clad Vancouverites are watching Erosion annihilate the Astoria supporting local heavyweights Bison. Like their debut album, Maximum Suffering (2018 Hydra Head), Erosion’s performance is grim and efficient. No banter or instrumental breaks—just punishing songs played at absurd velocity with vitriolic lyrics of uncommon depth screamed by bespectacled frontperson Jamie Hooper.
The band describes the album as a “cathartic audio expulsion of our collective contempt for humanity,” and it certainly is. Comprised of members of Baptists and Three Inches of Blood, Erosion deal in short diatribes with crusty authenticity. It’s aural rancor of the lowest order.
Hooper is sledgehammer direct about the band’s central message. “Erosion refers to the political, social, and moral decay around us. Worldwide politics are terrifying and there’s so much xenophobic-fear mongering.” He gives a hometown example. “Take a walk through the DTES and it’s tragically obvious how our systems are failing marginalized people every day.”
Though based in the province, Hooper doesn’t consider Erosion a BC—or even a particularly Canadian—band. “If we had to identify regionally, I think “Pacific Northwest” fits better. The issues we yell about are global and our sound takes as much influence from Sweden as it does from Toronto.”
Speaking of influence, besides drumming in Baptists, Erosion’s Nick Yacyshyn plays in SUMAC with Hydra Head-honcho and metal guru Aaron Turner. Hooper jokes that Erosion “operates on a lot of nepotism and favours from both the Baptists and SUMAC camps.”
So what is the relationship between Erosion and these other projects? “Erosion essentially sprouted from Baptists,” Hooper explains. “Those guys are all talented and multifaceted.” Characteristically wry, he adds, “I’m the only one-trick pony.”
Considering the gap between 2013’s Kill Us All cassette EP and Maximum Suffering, one might imagine a wait for new music. Maybe not. “Nick’s a prolific guy,” says Hooper. “He’s got material waiting for us to contribute our filth to.” So it’s down to scheduling? “The trick is getting everyone in a room. Once we’re together, things happen pretty quick.”
Not as quick as the average Erosion song. Most barely hit three minutes, and many clock in under one. Yet, occasionally, they’ll stretch out on something like “Consumed.”
“Generally, we’re fans of Keep It Simple and Stupid,” Hooper confirms, adding one final crack. “Think of the opener and closer as foreplay and post-coital cuddle. The rest is all action.”
Maximum Suffering is available now via Hydra Head.