By Ana Krunic
Despite its relatively small population, Vancouver has spawned a surprising amount of internationally acclaimed acts. It’s even more surprising when you consider how many of them come from the metal or alternative scene: Skinny Puppy, 3 Inches of Blood, D.O.A., and, of course, Devin Townsend and his insane genesis as Strapping Young Lad. When Townsend announced that he was putting the Devin Townsend Project (DTP) on hiatus last year, his bandmates, drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen and guitarist/bassist Brian Waddell, had time to spend on something that had been brewing for a while. Without the constraints of the relentless tour schedule that the Devin Townsend Project demanded, Imonolith sprung forth.
“Brian and I started writing material for Imonolith back in 2015,” Van Poederooyen says. “In between tours we just started jamming, since we grew up on the same kind of music – Pantera, Van Halen, that kind of stuff. We’d been writing music for the past few years, and we thought, let’s do this, now is the time. Let’s get some artists that we’d truly love to write and play in a band with and get it going. In February we made the calls, we got in touch with everyone. We were already kind of jamming with Byron [Stroud, of Fear Factory and Strapping Young Lad] so he was the first guy we added, then we got Jon [Howard, of Threat Signal] and Kai [Huppunen, ex-Methods of Mayhem]. And that’s Imonolith.”
The songwriting for this project is, so far, a joint effort between Van Poederooyen and Waddell since they already had a body of work together before forming the supergroup.
“There’s guitar leads and stuff that’s been added, but for a base sound everyone loved what Brian and I had already written. As the band progresses and everyone gets used to touring with it and playing the music, we’re going to evolve much more.”
Coming from that kind of musical background creates preconceptions from fans who assume they’re going to follow in Devin’s prog-metal footsteps. But Imonolith is coming at their sound from their own angle, as heard in their first single, “Hollow,” which came out along with a music video on January 18.
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“Everyone in the band has different influences and that’s how we want to present the music,” he explains. “We don’t just want to come out with crushing metal – we have a catchier radio side to us, which the world’s going to hear with ‘Hollow.’ We don’t want to be a one trick pony. We want to have our heavy side, our catchy side, our experimental side and everything in between.”
The single is a precursor to a full-length album they’re hoping to release this summer, with their first-ever show happening in their hometown of Vancouver.
“We’re excited. Brian and I have been touring constantly for the past 10 years to the point where if we got four or five months off, it was a long time. And now, the last show I played was on December 31, 2017. So for me it’s like, holy shit, I need to get out there, man. To play the first ever show with this project in our hometown, especially after this long, is amazing.”
Imonolith plays at the Red Room on February 23 with guests Touch the Sun.Imonolith, Red Room