Given the trend of end of the year lists, I thought it fitting to begin 2019 with one as well. Most of you probably already know of the Quebec classics like Cryptopsy, Kataklysm, Gorguts, Quo Vadis, Voivod and Neuraxis. Or perhaps more recent bands such as Despised Icon, Beneath the Massacre or Ion Dissonance. With my unique advantage of being part of the Quebec metal scene, and the opportunity given to me to have a platform such as this, here is my chance to shed light on some lesser known bands from our local scene that you HAVE to check out!
1. Beyond Creation
Hailing from Montreal, this progressive/technical death metal unit deliver eloquent progressive passages coupled with their own brand of brutality that always seems to have a degree of atmosphere to it. The outstanding guitar work of Simon Girard and Kevin Chartré is nothing short of amazing. All while the bass guitar work of both original bassist, Dominic “Forest” Lapointe (Augury, First Fragment, Teramobil, B.A.R.F, ex-Quo Vadis) and current bassist, Hugo Doyon-Karout (Equipoise, Brought by Pain, Conflux Collective) show not only the benefits of mastering your instrument, but also why Beyond Creation stand apart from their contemporaries and sit firmly at the top of my favorite death metal bands. With a sound of their own and three amazing releases under their belt, their most recent making my top albums of 2018 list. Beyond Creation is an absolute must for any death metal fan.
2. Depths of Hatred
This 5 piece death metal band from Montreal offer us epic death metal full of dark melodies, blast beats and brutal breakdowns. 2018’s Bloodguilt marks their third full length release and first with new vocalist, Nico Monette (ex-My Home the Catacombs). It showcases a more mature sound from Depths of Hatred, maximizing the melodies they’re known for and writing these gargantuan choruses that could summon the Kraken to even the shores of the St. Lawrence River. If you’re a fan of The Black Dahlia Murder, Revocation or slightly melodic and brutally beautiful death metal, then Depths of Hatred is the band for you.
3. First Fragment
First Fragment have been active in various forms since 2008, but 2017 marked the release of their first full length album Dasein. This technical death metal outfit likes to blend an eclectic and neo-classical sound that is dizzyingly mesmerizing. Passionate flamenco passages compounded with ruthless, unmerciful brutality make First Fragment a riff filled roller coaster ride to parts unknown. This is yet another Montreal death metal act featuring the masterful bass proficiency of Dominic Lapointe, so you know it’s quality death metal.
Moving away from death metal but keeping the death in tow. This deathcore five piece from Victoriaville do exactly what their name implies both live and on record. Remorseless crushing breakdowns, atmospheric leads and hearty melodic riffs on their latest release Impending Death show that they can dance with the likes of Whitechapel, Despised Icon, Oceano or even a more dynamic band like Carnifex.
Being signed to Unique Leader Records in 2017 and releasing their second full length, the aforementioned Impending Death, in May of 2018 shows that they’re well on the way to that dance. Those who know my musical tastes know that I only dip my toes in the many offspring spawned from hardcore. It’s not a distaste but more of the fact that there are many bands within those subgenres that are carbon copies and don’t quite offer my ears an enjoyable experience. Every once in a while though, I find an album or band that I really enjoy. Whitechapel’s early releases, Fit For An Autopsy’s last two albums, Howard Jones era Killswitch Engage, Sufferize, Mental Cruelty and Within Destruction for a bit of slam and extra brutality, and Obliterate’s Impending Death. If you’re a deathcore fan, get this album and see them live! They do not disappoint.
This brutal deathcore 5 piece from Quebec City are a little more on the brutal side than their Victoriaville counterparts, Obliterate. Blending in more brutal death, slam and d-beat.
Sufferize’s 2017 E.P Genocide is full of crushingly heavy riffs, grimy groove, ethereal melodies and barbaric breakdowns performed in an untimely civilized manner. The brutal death metal influence in Sufferize is what I really enjoy the most. Adding an element that makes them not only heavier and groovier but stand out from their contemporaries. For fans of Slaughter to Prevail, Ingested, Carnifex, or those who want their deathcore a little more on the brutal side.
Yup, you read that correctly. Bookakee is horror themed progressive/technical/brutal death metal band from Montreal. With visual and audio themes of gore, sex, mutilation, depravity and classic Nintendo games. Bookakee offer a live show that is uniquely their own, including a live nun abortion and the massacre of an undead Donkey Kong all while the band plays a death metal rendition of DK’s music.
Live show alone the band is worth the money to see, but lets talk about their 2018 release Ignominies. With an updated production and a new guitarist the band sounds reinvigorated. The opening track, “Monarch of the Depraved,” show us they’re seriously not fucking around from the start. It has everything from blistering technical leads, spacious breakdowns, pulverizing slams and impassioned melodies. The title track brings to mind the dissonant melodies of Virulent Depravity, mixed with Death Cult Armageddon era Dimmu Borgir riffs before busting into classic Swedish melodeath territory then slamming the listener with brutality of otherworldly nature.
What the fuck right? And you’ll still want more! The track “Bréhaigne” features Julien Truchan of Benighted fame and adds a black metal flavor that makes you question where the band will go next. I could almost do a full article on this album and how much it impressed me. I would highly recommend it for any death metal fan and their live show to anyone looking for that little extra fun with their music.
Outre-Tombe are an old school death metal quartet from Quebec City. If you have a love for old school death metal bands like Deicide, Edge of Sanity, Bolt Thrower, Entombed and Dismember then this is right up your alley. Complete with member names such as Crachat, Vitesse, Cobra and Désastre, the band sounds straight out of the late 80’s/early 90’s and that’s not a bad thing!
Their latest release Nécrovortex, is a showcase of everything I loved about listening to Once Upon A Cross and Cause of Death when I was a teenager getting into death metal via my older cousin, who had a ton of classic albums. The album also made it onto BangerTV’s top albums of 2018 list alongside Rivers of Nihil, Satan, Tribulation and Slugdge. Which is no easy feat looking at some of the bands on that list. If you’re a fan of the old school death metal era or even newer bands like Mammoth Grinder, Gatecreeper, or Gruesome. I highly recommend Outre-Tombe.
8. Shape the Above
Shape the Above are a progressive death metal quartet from Montreal. Their first release being the 2014 E.P Continents and second being 2018’s At The Hands of Loss. In the 4 years between those releases, you can tell the band evolved immensely.
At The Hands of Loss is not a departure from their first outing, rather it is a maturation and expansion of the sound developed on Continents. Sonically, they’re as similar to Opeth and Porcupine Tree as they are to Between the Buried and Me and Black Crown Initiate on At The Hands Of Loss. The evolution of the bands sound and attention to song writing puts them a step above most. At The Hands Of Loss is an audio journey through peaks and valleys. Soft graceful melodies leading into dissonant chord passages coupled with djenty groove and a wide vocal range from vocalist William Arseneau make this band stand out in the Quebec scene. If you’re a fan of Black Crown Initiate, BTBAM, Revocation and Opeth, I would suggest you give their latest album a listen.
9. Lost Creation
Many Quebec bands have dropped some stellar albums in 2018 and Lost Creation is one of them. This deathcore band from Montreal have shed most of the hardcore edge from Enemy and replaced it with some dissonant, downtuned, djenty, d-beat grooves on 2018’s Tales of Hatred. This turn towards brutality puts them between their Quebec City counterparts Sufferize and Victoriaville cousins Obliterate and it’s quite the pleasant about-face. I really appreciated the transformation and evolution in sound. “Warmth” being my favorite track from Tales of Hatred, it lands somewhere between Whitechapel, Black Tongue and Archspire, which is nothing short of impressive. Yet another Montreal band that should now be a must for deathcore fans.
Seeing as I’ve not had the opportunity to talk to the Super Metal World Podcast audience about my own band, I figure now is the best of times. Shameless or not, we’ve released two E.Ps, 2015’s The Death of Life and 2018’s Theodicy. Influenced by Fear Factory, Gojira, The Haunted, Decapitated and Black Dahlia Murder. We fall between the lines of melodic death metal and deathcore with black, death and nu-metal tendencies. With our 2018 release, we added more elements of prog and atmosphere expanding on our previous sound. We aim to offer the listener a unique experience with every song. With an all new lineup and studio time scheduled for early 2019, you can expect more from us soon.
For honorable mentions, I would like to include some extra bands. They too have great musicianship and/or live shows, and have all impressed me in one way shape or form and deserve a shout out.
Links to bandcamp or Facebook
The Outborn – Progressive Death Metal from Quebec City
Warsenal – Thrash/Speed Metal from Montreal
Unbeing – Progressive Instrumental Metal from Montreal
Feels Like Home – Metalcore from Quebec City
A Life Forsaken – Metalcore from Granby
Becoming The Bully – Metalcore from St-Jean sur Richelieu
Forest is the vocalist for Killborn, a melodic death metal band from Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.