Only In Canada, Eh! – February 2011: MANAHAN, DOLL, EXES FOR EYES, HEADSTONES, And Exploring Peaks And Valleys With WOODS OF YPRES…

Hails! More Maple Leaf Metal (and Rawk) is upon you…

My good buddy / wingman Paco recently bounced a new band off my head and it stuck on the return shot. Turns out there’s life in Keswick, Ontario in the form of a band called Manahan. Not just another band either, as it’s fronted by a 17-year-old guitarist / vocalist named Cory Manahan, who has a definite head for shred and top-notch songwriting. Depends on your taste in sonic violence, of course, but I remember being 17 and it didn’t involve or include me displaying talent like this (I was all about geekdom’s Limited Edition X-Men this and mindless action movie that). An indie band for the moment, they released their debut album in August 2010 and have started make the live rounds, including a support gig for the one and only Devin Townsend back in November. Nothing like starting small :-). Normally I’d recommend checking out the band on MySpace here, but for those that don’t want to pull out a GPS in order to navigate the endlessly deteriorating MySpace realm, check out some audio samples on YouTube (here and here).

Ottawa bashers Doll (basher = able to cave your head with their tunes at 30+ paces) are gearing up to release a new and long overdue (in my opinion) album. Three tracks are currently streaming online, two of them are available for free download if you sign up for their newsletter here. Maybe it’s just my age or a deep-seated loathing of the grunge era, but I’ve never quite understood why the tag has been slapped onto Doll’s sound, and it’s even more out of place judging by new tracks ‘Plastic World’ and a rip roaring cover of Billy Idol’s ‘White Wedding’. Nope, this punk-influenced Canuck metal… and I’m not talking pop-tripe like Green Day. Live dates have been scheduled for Ontario and Quebec, watch for updates and big-ass push when the new album is finally unleashed. And for the record, what a voice… 🙂

Check out the band’s video for ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ from their debut album, Inside The Dollhouse.

Former Annihilator live bassist Dave Sheldon and Endast vocalist “Big” James Arsenian are gearing up for the release of Exes For Eyes’ debut album, The Amsler Grid. The record is due out through Year Of The Sun Records this spring, audio samples are avaialable on the band’s MySpace page here. I still stand by my claim that Sheldon’s guitar work has some Annihilator-esque traits, particularly the mid-song dynamics, but overall the band’s sound falls somewhere in amongst Testament, Machine Head, and Slipknot at their most aggressive. It’s worth noting that while this sounds like a bloodletting in the making, The Amsler Grid is actually quite a musical record. Yeah, yeah, “melody” is a dirty word, but these guys do it well and are still able to keep their Man Cards.

In closing, I was unable to get back home to see the Headstones’ highly anticipated reunion show in Toronto at the beginning of February. But, at least one person in the audience had a decent enough camera to film part of the show and the presence of mind to put it on YouTube for the unfortunates such as myself. Check out some live clips clips via the links below, prepare to become a fan if you’re not one already. Best described by Yers Trooly as Johnny Cash goes punk, or something like that 🙂

‘Tweeter And The Monkey Man’
‘Cubically Contained’
‘Cemetary’
‘Unsound’

And finally, all hail Earache Records for their new Woods Of Ypres ad campaign. Gotta get me one of those…

Woods Of Ypres: It’s not just for blokes with beards.