What is a burning ghat?
One version: A ghat is a stairway down the banks to the holiest bodies of waters used in cremation rituals and the charred remains of the burned would be set adrift into the current.
Another version: The Burning Ghats of Vancouver: an extreme noise-filled, irate machine of a local band dedicated to dreadcore. Steeped deep in hardcore with a guitar tone that preys on minor chords that summon storm clouds to roll in fast, topped with lyrics that wail and scrawl with despaired reality, it’s bleakness at best.
Now that we cleared that up, may there be no more misinterpretations of their name. “Everybody seems to have their own versions of what it means,” chuckles bass player Cam Strudwick. “I actually went to the burning ghats in India. It’s insane. The funny thing is that they named the band before I joined.”
Over five years ago Burning Ghat’s guitarist Kevin Grindon’s previous band Batoche fizzled out. It was from these ashes that the Ghats were born. For his next project, Grindon picked his Scab (vocalist Chad Jones from the band Scabs). Then another scab was picked when Strudwick was recruited. More recently, they snagged manic drummer Ryan Driscol from Galgamex to make the current line-up. Like many young bands, Burning Ghats would go through evolutionary phases to get to what they have now.
“When we first started we wanted to be super techy and still have crust punk parts,” Grindon speaks of this process. “Then we moved away from the heavy metal and monster vocals to go back to our roots: hardcore, the one thing that ties us together as a group.” That may be, but there’s more going on in their music than hardcore, like evil undertones and dark tumultuous screamed lyrics.
The Ghats recorded their new record entitled Something Better Than Yourself at the Hive Creative Labs and made it a sort of coming out party for the years put in. “Lyrically this record turned into an attack on the lack of compassion I am forced to see every day. I’ve seen situations with other people that have affected me and about 75 per cent of what I write about deals with addiction and aversion to pain. Escapism, I guess.”
The Burning Ghats will announce their full arrival on to Vancouver’s extreme music scene with a coming-out-record-release-party on November 22 at the Astoria with Bridge Burner, Keep Tidy and Soot.
By Heath Fenton