Eastern Canada is experiencing a heavy metal time warp. As soon as you cross over the border in Ontario, the harsh vocals and burly beards of the west give way to the soaring shrieks, long hair, leather adorned styling of Skull Fist, Midnight Malice, Cauldron and Diemonds. If you travel further east, you can add Kingston, Nova Scotia natives Vicious to that list.
The band, founded in 2011, released their debut album, First Drop of Venom, this past April and are now gearing up to bring their old school flare to Calgary Metalfest on their “Devastation to the Nation” tour.
“Well, I think it was kind of a long time coming,” says lead vocalist and drummer, Jake Gracie, of the revivalist movement.
“Throughout the early 2000s, it seemed like people just got tired of listening to things like, well, the post-hardcore scene. Independent labels, like Earache Records, and guys like Metal Blade started picking up all these traditional heavy metal bands towards 2008, 2009 and it’s really just starting to come to fruition.”
Vicious is certainly doing their part on First Drop of Venom. The record, while not bringing anything overly new to the musical table, offers up a solid 10-song slice of headbanging party anthems that resonate with anyone who grew up stealing their dad’s whiskey and listening to Skid Row in the garage.
The album, which had been in production since early 2013, had been delayed for release due to a number of line-up changes, funding problems and the group’s relocation to Halifax during that summer.
It’s been well worth the wait for their fans, who have patiently awaited its arrival since their debut EP, Bring Down the Demo (2012).
Gracie, who is joined onstage by Devin Cashin (guitars, vocals) and Garth Potter (bass, vocals), emphasized how proud he is of album and is quick to point out that this isn’t just a cheap imitation effort.
“It’s not a nostalgic thing for me at all. I’m only 20 and I wasn’t there for the ‘80s or anything like that, but we love that timeframe. It’s just something about the sound that’s absolutely invigorating.”
They will fit right in with the burgeoning NWOTHM scene when they roll through town. Although Calgary has yet to produce as many bands in the genre as the east, there is a burgeoning appreciation for high-singing hair-farmers. After all, where would metal be without the shining stars of the ‘80s?
Watch Vicious on Thursday, June 5 at Vern’s Pub during Calgary Metalfest.
By Brandon McNeil