Tag Archives: Ontario

Fumigation – “Integrated Pest Management”

I had the great fortune recently of receiving an email out of the blue from Fumigation‘s Chris Humeniuk with a request to review his band’s soon to be released CD, Integrated Pest Management. Intrigued, I proceeded to download the tunes from the provided Dropbox link and fire up the band’s website, which, brilliantly, has a lyrics page.

Before we get into the release I think it’s only fair to warn you that I have little to no expertise regarding all of metal’s sub-genres, including death metal. Quite frankly I don’t really care if your band is stoner metal, doom metal, melodic death metal or whatever. The only thing I care about is this: when I annoy my neighbours listening to your album is it going to kick my ass?

In the case of Ottawa‘s death metal quintet Fumigation, the answer is a definite yes. The band’s website refers to its sound as “groove-laden death metal” and I would add elements of technical DM as well. What sets them apart, however, is their choice of theme over and above the typical negativity associated with the genre. When I asked him how a death metal band with a pest control theme evolved he replied, “Our theme came about by me getting a job as an exterminator, and one of my friends thought it would be really funny to have a band about my job. I had a bunch of songs ready to go for a band anyways, so I figured I’d try and write lyrics and come up with ideas to turn everything into a pest control themed band…basically the life of an exterminator. I then found people that thought the idea was pretty funny and off we went, and 5 years later here we are with our first full-length album ready to drop.”

Highlights include the outrageous “Fleshlight Castration“, “Pediculosis, (Mommy I Have Lice)“, the crushingly heavy opening track, “Cranofacial Duplication” and the terrifying, “Lick of the Carnivorous Caterpillars“. Who knew that fuzzy little multi-footed critters could evoke such terror?

Overall Fumigation‘s Integrated Pest Management scores a solid 4/5.

Excellent production qualities and well-crafted songs should take this release a long way. Plus, those pesky lice are likely to abandon ship once you start head banging, an unforeseen bonus for sure.Fumigation - Integrated Pest Management

Xprime – “Here We Are”

One of the great things about Canada is our diversity. We’re all different, and every area of Canada is a cornucopia of backgrounds, language and opinions, appreciating and acknowledging all types of people and tastes. An excellent example of this diversity is Here We Are, the new EP from Niagara-based band Xprime. With a mix of pop, rock, funk and country, no song sounds alike and the band represents all areas of our diverse musical landscape. And yes, they even speak some French.

Xprime has come a long way in only a short amount of time. Formed in 2009, the four-piece has won over fans across Southern Ontario with both their live show and their EP, finding success among reviewers and radio stations alike. Listen to the album and you’ll see where this success comes from: their musical fusion creates catchy, radio-friendly songs that will appeal to everyone while also finding a home in specific genres.

Each of the album’s five tracks is different. Kicking off the album is the upbeat “Tell Me Why”, a poppy rock track that sounds somewhat like a quasi-French version of The Arkells. This is the album’s first bilingual surprise, splicing together French and English lyrics to create an interesting mix of language. Those of us with limited French vocabulary may be able to pick out a few words, and this is actually a bit exciting. The band is careful about their use of language, embracing their Francophone roots while appealing to both French- and English-speaking fans. They’re a lot like Arcade Fire in how they do this, but with a slightly more rocky and distorted sound.

Moving through the album we hear more diversity, with bits of Weezer (“Please Come Home”), funky ’70s groove (“Foxy Lady”), and finally a combo of Cake and The Killers in the album-closing “Jane’s Modern Waltz”. These songs are all different and unique, making the album impossible to describe but easy to love.

The band itself shows a lot of talent and some super high chemistry. Unlike other bands, Xprime shares vocals between all members and harmonizes exceptionally well as they do so. Their chemistry shines throughout the tracks and it’s clear they have a tight-knit group with some solid individual skills. It’s also clear they’d be a wicked band to hear live, with songs that would sound great on a stage and in front of a huge crowd.

You can hear and buy the album (only $5!) online, on iTunes or in person at one of their weekly shows. It’s definitely worth checking out, and as they work on their next album and release more tracks, like Xprime on Facebook to get the full scoop. Here they are, and they’re here to stay.

Xprime - "Here We Are"

The Bends – “Through Looking-Glass Houses”

There are a lot of great albums out there, and the Canadian music scene is a big pond full of fish. With so much competition, how do independent bands stand out? It takes a ton of talent, lots of energy, and a devoted army of fans to push them up above the rest. Lucky enough to have all three (and then some!) are The Bends, an enormously popular and brilliantly talented band out of St. Catharines, Ontario. They’re well-known in these parts, and with a new album coming out August 25 and a whole lot of time left to do even more, these fish will be hard to catch.

The Bends are a nifty young group with surprising talent and really cool style. While still fresh and fun, their professionalism and seemingly effortless sound show a lot of maturity and suggest they’ve been around a while. In some ways they have: the band formed almost four years ago and have been developing their sound ever since. Would it shock you to learn they’ve only JUST graduated high school? This is almost upsetting! The amount of talent these guys have is almost unnatural, and in their new album, Through Looking-Glass Houses, they show what they’re made of and what they have to offer.

Overall the album is fantastic. The 11 tracks fly by with different beats and moods, crossing genres and showing some good diversity. There are hints of Weezer, The Killers, The Strokes, and The Beatles peppered throughout the album, and with strong technical skills, great songwriting, and really catchy beats and riffs, the album has a lot to love.

Showing off a slightly heavier and trippy side of The Bends’ sound, the instrumental introduction gives an interesting taste of what’s to come. There is an immediate shift in mood as the album transitions into the second track, “Spit Curl”, one of the more bouncy and fast-paced songs on the album. The energy doesn’t stop here, though; the remaining tracks are equally fun and dancey, and the nonstop spirit is totally refreshing. “Something About You” provides something dancers can go nuts to, as does the funk-infused “Chicken n Rice”. It’s also nice to see some more variety in the somewhat psychedelic “That We’re Not” and less poppy “Isn’t It Strange”, showing the band’s ability to diversify and create different sounds.

It’s hard to pinpoint what’s best about The Bends: the vocals are fantastic, the guitars, bass, and percussion are all strong and smooth, and the incorporation of other instruments (horns, cello, ukulele?) all add to the band’s great sound. Through Looking-Glass Houses is an album that will really get you moving and by showing off all their finer qualities, The Bends have created something really cool. They’ve worked hard on this album, and you can tell.

This isn’t their first album and it will hopefully not be their last: the band’s now on hiatus as the members all head off to university, but maybe with some luck and convincing they won’t be gone for long. The album is being officially released at The Mansion House in St. Catharines on August 25, and fans of the band will definitely want to see them before they leave for school. Check out the band’s website for more info and news, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned for their return!

The Bends - "Through Looking-Glass Houses"

FaceTheHate – “I See Red”

I See Red, the debut album from North Bay, Ontario’s FaceTheHate is a solid thrasher that satisfies. A collection of nine tracks, the release displays strong production values and features several interesting twists and turns throughout.

The album gets off to a fine start with the appropriately titled instrumental “Beginnings”, wherein the band sets the tone with a hypnotic galloping riff that crushes, caresses, pushes, and pulls the hearer into the overall body of work. The tone thus set, the ensuing eight tracks propel the listener on a metal-injected thrill ride that will impress even the most jaded of moshers and headbangers.

From a songwriting viewpoint the entirety of I See Red is strong – if this album were a package of hot dogs it would read, “all meat, no filler”. The band displays impressive musicianship throughout utilizing elements of thrash, metalcore and progressive metal in a tightly bundled package that never loses its focus – each song stands up well on its own while serving the whole. Specifically the guitar work is stellar, although – and this is the exception – there are a couple of slower melodic lead passages that sound somewhat awkward to this ear, particularly in the aforementioned first track. That specific bit of criticism, however, is very subjective in nature with the likelihood that other ears may hear nothing awkward at all.

Lyrically the band avoids most of the cliché typically trotted out in the genre; for example, where one song totally disdains organized religion, another leaves the question of God and spirituality open-ended. It seems that FaceTheHate is satisfied with asking the questions typical of the genre without shoving the answers down our throats.

As an overall package I See Red scores a solid 4/5. If your ear enjoys great riffing and complex song arrangement with clear and brutal low end then this album is for you. FaceTheHate has given the world an excellent independent debut that deserves to be heard.

Highly recommended!

Preview I See Red on ReverbNation and for more info about FaceTheHate check them out on Facebook.

FaceTheHate - "I See Red"