There are many challenges facing a young band trying to break through Vancouver’s surging heavy music scene — a scene that is awash with many specific sub genres and pigeonhole traps. It is important for a band to stand out by having a distinct sound and unique identity, otherwise, how can a band fit into and yet separate themselves from this overflowing landscape? That is not an easy thing to do without alienating the often fickle metal crowd that trudges out every weekend to witness what can be a one-dimensional four-band bill.
This is not Witch of the Waste’s problem. They possess the ability to effortlessly navigate themselves through these waters, at times hovering over them, while still touching on all aspects of being heavy. They can bludgeon you with brutal force, come at you with a tech element that can make your head spin and then throw you down with the hardest of hardcore.
“It’s been really hard to define this band,” vocalist Ryan Fitzgerald explains. “It is technical but that’s never been one of our goals. We’ve just always tried to challenge ourselves as musicians. We’ve always wanted to have energy and be interesting and unique aesthetically.” I believe that their mission has been accomplished along with some guitar parts that are just plain awe-inspiring.
One of the benefits of a metal band having a mixed bag of tricks is sharing the stage with a diverse crop of other heavy bands. This can expand the band’s audience by picking up new followers along the way and Fitzgerald believes this is happening. “As far as the reviews we’ve gotten and people approaching us after shows, it’s almost too positive. The response has been really cool. A lot of people like our music and our performance,” he describes proudly.
Fitzgerald started Witch of the Waste in 2009 with a group of friends. WOTW was basically a revolving door of musicians until 2012 when they played their first show and some solidarity was brought to the group. The lineup eventually was rounded out with guitarists J.P. Dupiuis and Peter Sacco, Phil Jones on bass and Jeremy Gilmartin on drums. With the current lineup cemented, the band hit up Raicity Recording with producer Curtis Buckoll and cut the EP All Other Voices, released independently in February 2013. They followed that up with a few small tours of Western Canada and some high profile opening slots for bands like Gojira, Intronaut, and Scale The Summit.
It took three years to get the ball rolling and a year for it to pick up speed. Witch of the Waste has now arrived and they’ve planted themselves firmly as a band that means business with a solid outlook that they can move forward with. They plan to hit it out of the park in 2014, with new songs in their set and are heading down south for Punk is Dead Fest in Lancaster, California next September.
“We’re just putting our finishing touches on the writing for a new EP that we are looking to have done by spring,” Fitzgerald looks forward. Very few young bands have the know-how to carve a niche and make a mark. Witch of the Waste is here and on the right track. Get in the club, go see them live and claim your right to say that you saw them first before they took it all over.
Witch of the Waste headlines the Astoria on January 25 with WTCHDR, Night Terrors, As The King and Destroy All.
By Heath Fenton