Can You Dig It?

Zimmer’s Hole just might be at the peak of the phrase “tongue and cheek.” Quite literally, a band named after their friend’s butt! That said, their tongue is permanently planted in the arse of heavy metal. The comedic sense and antics that follow this band is simply, epic.

There is no mistaking that this line-up, which boasts three quarters of Strapping Young Lad, does mean serious business. Since the early 1990’s, Zimmer’s Hole guitarist, Jed Simon, bassist Byron Stroud, and legendary drummer Gene Hoglan’s other band have made fire trotting maniacal noize in a similar vein. Zimmer’s Hole, however, has a twitch of the classics. The tipping point here is the mentally unstable vocalist, “The Heathen.” He turns the SYL boys on their head. With a nose for sarcastic timing and a wide grasp, The Heathen delivers a sermon every time. It is a spectacle to behold with subject matter anywhere from the grotesque to the awkwardly corny, and some accurately bizarre observations of heavy metal culture.

While it may be rehearsed, their live show feels entirely off the wall and seems ready to come unhinged at any moment. The Heathen dabbles in pyro and strange theatrics; at a live show you can bear witness to anything. The anal curtain call, an ungodly birth, the human vagina, or perhaps the many eager minions that greedily mine at Heathen’s giant booze filled strap on. Yes, all this and so much more, you really have to be there. There is no telling what can happen at a Zimmer’s Hole show.


“Just keep your head up and watch your backs, is all I’d say,” laughs Simon.

See them while you can, because lately they haven’t been around too often which is a serious shame. There was some talk after the demise of Strapping Young Lad that the members would be able to concentrate more on the Hole and make it more of a full time thing.

“Everyone is scattered around the continent now so the usual getting together every day isn’t as easy as it once was,” says Simon.

“We’ve always wanted to be a full time band, and we’ll just have to see how this next year pans out for everyone. I would love nothing more than a to get a regular cycle going. I have enough material for years of releases. We will be spending some good time together soon, and a lot of magic has happened in the past when we are all in the same room. I’m looking forward,” he adds.

A new album planned and a proper world tour in the works. The Vancouver show at the Rickshaw marks a bit of a comeback. Zimmer’s Hole will be cumming full circle. With guests Dayglo Abortions, Process, Golers, and Aggression on the bill, get set and get in line.

Zimmer’s Hole plays the Rickshaw Theatre on January 23

-By Heath Fenton


Toronto hardcore – Career Suicide takes on the world

Toronto’s Career Suicide is not new to the hardcore game. They’ve been a band for about a decade and are showing no sign of stopping. They are facing a year of touring and are looking to release a new album by March. Their longevity is likely in part to them starting the band with the right attitude.

“The band has always been a labour of love. We really didn’t start with any expectations beyond writing the music that we most wanted to hear. The fact that anyone outside of the band paid us any attention and actually enjoyed it was completely secondary and honestly just a nice bonus,” says vocalist Martin Farkas about their approach to their music. “To this day, even 10+ years into the band, I’m still so pleasantly shocked when we arrive in some city half-way across the world and a crowd of people turn up knowing every lyric to our songs!”

 Career Suicide - Angela Owens Photo
Career Suicide – Angela Owens Photo

Travelling halfway across the world is something the band will be doing this year. Along side their gig in Vancouver the Easterners will be playing a handful of shows in California. This is before they fly to Hong Kong to do a mini Asian tour where they will be hitting up China, Korea, and Japan.

Career Suicide - Angela Owens Photo
Career Suicide – Angela Owens Photo

The band’s new record, Distractions, should be out by March 2016 on Deranged Records. As a band that tends to be a bit obsessive about recording their material, their newest effort was no different.

The unmastered teaser track for “Cut and Run” out 2015

Attempted Suicide out on Deranged

“We all agree that Attempted Suicide, our last full-length album, was easily our best material, so following that up seven years later was no small task. We had a lot of expectations, it needed to be up to the same standards musically, but at the same time still take a step forward, so that it didn’t just end up sounding like out-takes from the same session. I hope that comes across and we hit the mark,” says Farkas about the experience, “We just finished everything in early December, so I’m still too close to it to be objective. It usually takes a few months before I can stop dwelling on the things that could have been done differently. We’ve played a few of the new songs live and posted another online and the response has been really positive, so I’m really looking forward to having the LP out and seeing what everyone thinks. I might be suffering from delusions, because I know every asshole in a band thinks their latest material is their best, but I really feel that some of our best-written songs are on this LP.”

Career Suicide will perform at the Astoria on January 17.


Keepin’ rock and roll heavy

After band practice, Vancouver-based Waingro talked shop while drummer Benjie Nesdoly and bassist Nate Pennell gulped their beer and guitarist/vocalist Brian Sepanzyk sipped at the somewhat sensible choice of a hot toddy. They have a lot to discuss as the trio is starting out 2016 with a bang. They are about to release a music video and have released their second LP Mt Hood.

The music Waingro plays is undeniably heavy but it leans on good old-fashioned rock and roll. They set out to play the riffs that they want to hear and this has freed the music from pretension, which makes it almost too easy to like. Almost, but not quite. It’s not over-thought and Sepanzyk’s vocals are harsh and heavy which contrast nicely with the smooth riffs.

The band was initially just Nesdoly and Sepanzyk and once they had fleshed out their project they went searching for their bassist. Pennell was the obvious choice; they had sort of known him for a while from meeting at their jam space and had seen him playing shows with a former band.


“Benjie was like ‘what about Nate?’ And I was like ‘sounds great’! We texted him and he was like ‘yeah I’m totally down to check it out’ and then I was like ‘wait do you play your bass with fingers or pick?’ and that was the true test. And he [said] pick and I was like ‘oh okay then!’” laughs Sepanzyk, “I just like bass players who play with their pick.”

“[Otherwise] it’s too muddy for rock and roll,” adds Nesdoly.

“I’m not saying I’m anti-finger bass, it’s just not Waingro,” concludes Pennell.

As they chat over their drinks the three are noticeably buds and their comfort with each other is obvious. “I think it’s nice to have a level of familiarity when you start playing with someone because it’s pretty disarming, I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but you’re a little bit vulnerable when you play music with somebody,” Nesdoly explains the benefits of playing with friends.

As they have grown older they have found that they have less and less free time. This has made their free time more valuable but their playing in Waingro is definitely still worth it. They play music they really like and they do it with friends.

“That’s the challenge. Finding something worthwhile to do, but also worth doing,” says Benji about making the time, “Ninety-nine percent of being in a band is just hanging out.”

Waingro has nothing but good things to say about their new album. Recorded at Rain City Records with Jesse Gander, it was a dream to record by all accounts.

“Rain City moved to a new place. It’s beautiful. You walk in and you feel like you’re a huge band… which were not,” muses Sepanzyk, “And Jesse has it set up for him, it’s perfect for him. He deserves that.”

“He was the first choice for our last record too,” says Pennell.

“It turned out exactly how I wanted it to sound,” says Sepanzyk about the finished project.

“Brian doubled all of his guitars. And he didn’t do any rhythm; he straight up doubled every solo. It was pretty much like here is your second try, here is your second track, and he just did it. There was no needing to go back to fix [a] part. It was just done,” praises Pennell.

The impending music video is for their song “Black Eagle” and is something the band is looking forward to but they are determined to stay tight-lipped about it until its release.

“This video is great because it kind of encompasses the community in Vancouver, I’d say. It shows a lot of the people, a lot of the good spots. The Salmon Derby, rest in peace,” is all that Sepanzyk will say about it.

Stay tuned for Waingro’s upcoming video release and future dates.

– by Alex Molten


Clearing the Path for 2016

Vancouver doom fans might be feeling like they are one of the chosen ones. Fellow Pacific coasters Yob, have headed north and will bring in the New Year with friends, locals in Vancouver and in the loudest way possible. It’s been a good two years for YOB, guitarist-vocalist, Mike Scheidt, bassist Aaron Rieseberg and drummer Travis Foster have accrued serious mileage touring their release, Clearing the Path to Ascend, one that has garnered both critical and fan accolades everywhere. Scheidt, spent a few moments on the phone for some Q and A from the tour van between dates to discuss the progression.

The first obvious question would be about the evolution of these songs from that album, now that they have been so well toured after the release.

“We have more of a depth of awareness in the movements of the songs and how they feel to play them to people and how people perceive them. Also kind of given them a new sense of growth and not only that but playing them alongside are older material, make for really dynamic sets because each record has its own vibration and swing. The new songs compliment everything really well, but [with] the new songs it’s hard not to have a sense of some growth they’ve had in writing and performing them. It’s a good feeling,” says Scheidt.

With music that is so heavy and cathartic, one would wonder, if that well does ‘run dry’ or does an artist have to seek yet another dark corner to explore and mine for content.

“I write from what is there and trying to express it and to be part of a process that is, for lack of a better word, ‘healthy.’ While at the same time that heavy music and [the] songs that we play are a great vehicle to express it. However, I’m not attached to feeling bad, I’m not attached to suffering. If that well did run dry, I’m okay with that. You see it all the time, bands and artists that hit slumps or just had their time. You don’t always have a say in that. What is our future? I always wonder that? I don’t know what our future is or how many records we have in us. I do know as we continue to grow we won’t put out anything that we don’t feel 100% about,” explains the vocalist/guitarist.

So, what about the audience and the support that has supported this band all along, there is something with a sense of two feet on the ground with this band, even after all of the attention from the last album and the build of material before that.

YOB - James Rexroad photo
YOB James Rexroad photo

“For so many years with very underground success and response. Meaning that the people that got us ten years that got us, they really did get us. A handful of that scene were positive about what we were doing, it was very encouraging. Though it was always so small that I think we were okay with that. We were playing music that we wanted to play and a cool audience and good support from a couple of labels, that seemed fine. Over time as we’ve continued to write albums we feel really good about and just put every we had into that music first, then you send it out into the world and it kind of has a life of it’s own. We tour of course… but there are pieces that we cannot take credit for. People and what they do with the album.

There is very much a grounded and rooted aspect to this band and it’s music and following, one has to wonder how all the expanded attention and praise even sinks in or does it sink in? Moving forward. Though they respect that they are very “lucky” with all of this.

“We are also suspicious of what it means,” he explains. “Okay, let’s just keep doing what we are doing as close to our hearts as possible, making decisions that feel good to us in our hearts and definitely not let it have any delusions around it, you know. To me it’s just an understood energy exchange and between the people that have been loving and supportive of the band we have the responsibility to be good for that and taking good care of ourselves and our families, making sure our friendships are strong and that’s all a part of it,” adds Scheidt.

Yob shares local ties and a mutual respect with locals Bison and the shared touring history with one of our prized heavy weight locals. Join us for bringing in 2016 and sending out 2015 in the most liberating, cathartic and volumetric manners. The correct decision has been made.

YOB plays the Rickshaw Theatre stage with BISON and Astrakhan in Vancouver, December 31, 2015



Southern fried Vikings

Musically speaking, Gothenburg, Sweden is best known for pioneering melodic death metal, which makes a band like Graveyard stick out like an oddly shaped tree in the deep northern forest. They mix a refreshing sound that branches the likes of American southern blues, psychedelia, and hard rock. Since 2007, Graveyard have been slaying with four full length albums, building a rabid following in their home country. With major North American tours opening for bands like Soundgarden, Clutch, and CKY, that popularity has now began to grow in a cult like fashion on this side of the pond. They now find themselves headlining their own shows.


“Sweden has always been very into America. So American sounding music is generally well received here,” bassist Truls Morck explains. “I think Graveyard sound like a lot of different stuff put together and is not very easy to pin down. People call us all sorts of things here because for some reason people need to label and organize [a] thing to understand it. Most of the things people call us are true to some extent but often the opposite.”

ne thing you can’t deny is that Graveyard knows how to get to the bottom of a pot of serious rock and roll gumbo. While not entirely reinventing the wheel and wearing their influences on their sleeve, Graveyard is still able to stir up a unique sound that they can call their own special sauce. “The obvious would be to drop names like Black Sabbath, Pentagram, or Fleetwood Mac, all three unbelievable great bands. But it isn’t that simple,” Morck goes on. “I think we’re more like a product of everything we hear and see. We don’t usually talk much about other bands while writing songs. The goal is to let everything float through and just go with gut feeling and intuition when writing. That’s what moulds the band’s sound.”

Similar in approach to bands like Clutch or Orange Goblin, Graveyard has flirted with an accessible sound but still remain firmly steeped in the underground, at least for now. The momentum seems to be building like a snowball. Morck has noticed this. “We put [a lot of] thought into building our band slow and steady to make it last long. Today that seems to be the big challenge. To last and continue to make interesting music while keeping people’s attention. Graveyard has come a long way already and that is great. We just do what we’re best at, the better you do that, the better road you travel. Hopefully we’ll get to do that for some more time.”

The band is rounded out by fellow Scandinavian mustachioed hair farmers Axel Sjoberg on drums, and Joakim Nilsson and Jonatan Larocca-Ramm both on guitars and vocals. They take the business of rock seriously and definitely have the chops to make this a long term thing. They give you the best of both worlds. Some tunes give you a wildly swinging a machete, navigating your way through a swamp, while others leave you gazing up at the sun while tripping out in a field of poppies.
“We always mix the up-tempo rockers with the slower moody stuff to fulfill the spectrum,” Morck sums up. “A good thing about our live set is how we balance between playing exactly how they are on the records and how we can pick up the atmosphere and mood of the moment and kind of tweak the way we play to fit it. Every show is a little different because of that.”

Graveyard is on course to take over North America with its own version of a southern fried Trojan horse. So you best be one of the cool cats and get inside now!

Graveyard perform at Venue December 12.


– Heath Fenton


Put the punk back into post-punk

After the large storm in Vancouver at the end of August that left vast swaths of the city in the dark, local post-punk band Spectres was scheduled to play a highly anticipated show. The venue was in the heart of the downtown Eastside and like the rest of the area, powerless. In true DIY punk style, a generator was found and the show went on. Undeterred by the darkness, punks came out in full force to watch the bands and buy warm beer from the bar.

First to take to the stage was Spectres and they pulled the anxious energy from the night and channelled it into an electric show. Lead singer Brian Gustavson dominated the room. As a tall man with platinum blonde hair he is hard to miss in a crowd, but on stage he is riveting.

Sonically, the band easily fits within the post-punk genre but, Spectres vigor on stage is all punk. Zach Batalden and Tyler Pilling attack their guitars while the rhythm section—Nathan Szilagyi on bass and Mitch Allen on drums—pummel out the beat.


Sitting in their van on a rainy Vancouver evening outside of their jam space, the band sucked on cigarettes and reflected on the live show they have developed. “We all come from punk backgrounds. You play a certain way and you play aggressive. You don’t have to play quick or slow to be aggressive from the stage,” says Pilling.

“Post-punk is a really open-ended term, it can mean a lot of sounds, and for us the British anarcho-punk sound was as much of a foundational influence as something like the Cure, Joy Division, or Siouxsie and the Banshees. For us, we were trying to draw on a bunch of influences. Plus, there wasn’t a post-punk scene. We were playing shows with punk, hardcore, and crust bands. Part of it was we developed a stage show that fit playing those sort of shows,” explains Batalden.

Spectres have built on a modest start and have been a music project for a decade. “I started the band with me and one of my friends on the island in 2005, maybe 2004,” recounts Gustavson. “It was just me and him and we recorded a few songs and made demos in a barn.”
“I guess it was eight years ago that we played our first show,” Batalden says about Spectres becoming a live act. “I don’t know, we’ve been together as a fully functioning band for eight years, almost nine years.”

As the band persevered in playing the brand of music they set out to play, a post-punk scene grew within Vancouver.
“There were so many shows where people would look at us and be like, ‘what are these guys doing?’” mused Szilagyi.

“We were the smoke break band. It’s kinda nice not to be that,” laughs Batalden.

Spectres is now about to release its third LP, titled Utopia, in both North America and Europe. Finished up around March, it has been in limbo in pressing plants which has been a frustration for the band. They hope it will be out soon so keep your ears keen and your eyes peeled for news of its release!

“We have definitely done some different stuff with the sounds on this record. I think we have pushed the envelope creatively in terms of making some pretty weird sounds on the record and doing some more pop oriented stuff. Hopefully people will be receptive to that. There are definitely some dance hits on it. I hope people dance,” says Batalden about the album.

Spectres perform December 11. Ask a punk for location.

By Alex Molten


Night Birds are no rookie punks

The members of the New Jersey band Night Birds are some experienced punks. Vocalist Brian Gorsegner has been at it since adolescence and has seen it through to fatherhood. He was taking a stroll while on the phone with BeatRoute. “I tend to be loud and I have a two year old at home. I just project,” he laughs.

While having a two-year-old makes it difficult to tour, it has changed Gorsegner’s attitude towards the long trips in the van. As he grew older, touring started to be more work than play. But now with all of his responsibilities at home, it has started to feel more like a vacation again. It is a chance to hang out with his friends: drummer Darick Sater, guitarist PJ Russo, and bassist Joe Keller.

NIGHT BIRDS Photo By Joe Leonard
NIGHT BIRDS Photo By Joe Leonard

Night Birds released their third LP, Mutiny at Muscle Beach, on October 2nd and it is rocking to say the least. Filled with high-energy vocals, ripping guitars, driving drums, catchy riffs, and just enough feedback it is everything punk should be. It is music that makes you want to shake your ass and punch someone in the face at the same time. On first listening, I couldn’t help but think of Vancouver’s own The Jolts, which is fitting since the band is slotted to open for the Night Birds’ Vancouver date.

Gorsegner sees the album as the band’s strongest effort yet, which to him just makes sense. He couldn’t put out something he believed to be worse than the album before. For Night Birds, it’s all about forward momentum. What they have produced is no rookie punk sound, it is four guys who know exactly what they are doing.

It’s the band’s first release with Fat Wreck Chords, but being signed to one of the bigger punk independent labels hasn’t changed much, except for more muscle behind their albums distribution. There were no big budgets or open-ended recording sessions. They approached recording Mutiny at Muscle Beach the way they had their previous albums: with a clear vision, a set list of songs, and lots of practice. “We’re pretty good recorders. We have every song locked down before we go into the studio, because it’s expensive,” explains Gorsegner.

What song would Gorsegner want a new listener to check out from their new album? The first track, “(I’m) Wired,” would be a good place to start. Fast and catchy, it showcases Gorsegner’s strength as a punk vocalist. He wraps out the lyrics at breakneck speed. Once you’ve listened to Mutiny at Muscle Beach’s opening track you may as well listen to the entire thing. It’s jam packed with goodies.

Night Birds perform at the Hindenburg December 4.

By Alex Molten


No duds, just buds

You may already know Dead Quiet’s guitarist/vocalist Kevin Keegan. He once called Vancity home as he proceeded to make his mark as one of this town’s most notable guitar shredders in the local metal scene with his band of math metal giants A Javelin Reign. In 2008, he packed his bags for Montreal and started the party banger band Barn Burner who did countless tours, backing their two solid releases on Metal Blade records. Keegan returned to the rain city just over a year ago and immediately enlisted Jason Dana as his drummer for his new project.

“Dana would come through Montreal when he was in Bend Sinister. I knew the guys and I would go to their show. Him and I would just take off into some corner and chat each other’s ears off. I’d tease him saying that I am coming back to Vancouver and we should start something,” Keegan explains. “When I finally did get back I gave him a call and asked if he was still down with this band and he was like ‘oh yeah.’”

DEADQUIET photo by Teddy Farggeus
DEADQUIET photo by Teddy Farggeus

Now if you are starting to get the idea that Dead Quiet is sort of a supergroup thing, then you aren’t far off. Aaron Gustafson from prog metal instigators Anciients was enlisted for bass duty, and soon afterward Brock MacInnes from the Blood River Band would be drafted in as a second guitarist. The band was set, the album was written, and studio time was booked at Rain City Recorders with Jesse Gander. Just like that, Dead Quiet was born. “A real quick process. Real snappy. Not much mucking around,” Dana puts it quite bluntly. “That is one of the great things about working with musicians of such pedigree. Shit gets done.”

What is really intriguing about this band is that it sounds nothing like any of the other bands these cats are in. There is a very heavy nod to stoner type rock with its slow prodding groove riffs and jumpy drumming. They’ve got proggy interludes with grungy over tones while Keegan’s patented screech brings the ship down into the dark murky depths. The music has a real old school doomy feel to it as well. The maturity of the players is instantly recognizable.

For the last year the band has been tweaking their live show and plans to hit up Europe in the spring. Dead Quiet is loud live. “The show has a lot of energy,” Keegan states. “This is the tightest band I’ve ever played in. There is a lot of charisma on stage. This band has no duds.”

Dead Quiet performs at Fortune Sound Club on November 26.

-By Heath Fenton