Your new Canadian Heavy Metal Playlist

Happy Canada Day!

You know, people always ask me* “Des, you’re a metalhead who’s Canadian, what are some of the best Canadian metal bands?”

Here’s my top five list in response. First off, I will say that my list will be a little West Coast heavy, but that’s because that’s where I’m from and what I got the most exposure to coming up. Secondly, I need to give a couple of honourable mentions:

Cancer Bats, HellTrack, Anciients, Skull Fist and Bison B.C., Sumac and Gorguts. All of these guys kick ass. Check out their stuff on Bandcamp or iTunes.

Okay, here we go:

BAPTISTS

Baptists are pretty new on the scene, but their mixture of blistering hardcore and sludge metal is delightfully abrasive.

KATAKLYSM

Montreal’s Kataklysm is pushing 30 years together as a band. They’ve just released their twelfth studio album, and it might be their best. They are, undeniably, Canada’s best death metal band. They have not made a single bad album and there’s no sign of that changing anytime soon.

Very excited that I will be able to see them live for the first time in Victoria in October.

3 INCHES OF BLOOD

3ioB are no longer active, but for 15 years, they cut a brutal swath across the Canadian metal scene. I’ve seen them live a ridiculous amount of times, and one of my old bands even opened for them once.

Their mix of power metal and thrash with tinges of death and extreme metal really drew me into the heavier side of the genre. I am choked I never got to see them live at their insanely fast sellout final concerts in Vancouver, but I am pretty happy with my last memory of seeing them live: it was at the first and last (as far as I know) BC Metal Show here in Port Alberni, where they headline about 10 years ago.

It was an outdoor concert in a farmer’s field. A few songs into their set, the generator for the stage lights went out, but the generators for the equipment still worked. They performed the rest of the show by lighter and flashlight. Transformative metal experience.

WOODS OF YPRES

Windsor, Ontario’s blackened death doom purveyors are what, at times, I would call my favourite band. Over four albums and one EP they went from black metal to something more akin to Type O Negative.

Unfortunately, David Gold, the main songwriter, died in a car crash shortly before their final album was released, robbing the world of one of its great metal songwriters.

Most of their songs are about how living in a cold, wet place is shit and death. They did it with their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks and I’m choked I’ll never get to see them live or get another album from them.

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD/DEVIN TOWNSEND

Okay, I’m cheating a little bit. If I included Devin Townsend’s stuff on this list on their own, there would be little room for any other bands. First, Strapping Young Lad was my first real introduction to extreme metal. Devin took guitar lessons from the same guy I did at the time and gave him the CD. He was a blues fan, so he was like “it’s too much for me, do you want it?”

That album was City, and it’s still one of my all-time favourites. A ridiculous sense of humour and gonzo approach to extreme noise is what delineates SYL from other bands of their ilk. An amazingly tight live performance accompanies their releases. Unfortunately, they’ve never gotten the props in their home country as they do overseas, so if you’re reading this in Europe, you’ve probably had many more chances to see them live than I have.

I’ve seen them a few times though, and have loved it every time. But, Devin’s moved on from SYL to do various other musical projects that bear his name.

To this day, he’s one of the only artists on my blind buy list. Kind of like Canada’s Mike Patton, he’s a musical genius of unparalleled creativity.

So I’ll leave you with his most Canadian song, which likely has nothing to do with Canada, “True North.”

*No one’s ever asked me that. It’s a political tactic, like when a candidate says stuff like “I met a single mother in Bompsabingling, Wisconsin** who told me….”

**Any town in Wisconsin named Bompsabingling that exists does so randomly. I had no idea you existed. I’m sorry if I offended you Bompsabinglingians.

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The Obligatory Sales Pitch

Hola, been a while. You’re looking good! You still on that cleanse?

Anyway, I found it prudent to mention that my debut novel MOTHER OF ABOMINATIONS, in case you haven’t heard of it before, is now available in several formats for your eBook. I’m told paperbacks are coming soon. Believe me, I’m anticipating those more than you are.

Check this cover out!

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It’s gonna look amazing in my hands. But it will also look great in your digital libraries.

So, of course it’s been available on Kindle through Amazon for a while now.

Got a Nook? No, that isn’t a sentence in Klingon. It’s available on Nook here.

And here it is for the Kobo, which my publisher James Palmer refers to as the “Canadian Nook,” which is what they used to call me in college.*

As always, reviews are appreciated.

*This is not actually true. I don’t even understand the joke I made.

Top 5 Irish Bands

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so rather than bore you with the preachy rant about the horrible shit that St. Patrick actually did and what “driving the snakes from Ireland” means and all that nonsense, I thought I would rather share with you my favourite Irish bands. These are bands you’ve probably never heard of before, and many of them had songs I listened to while writing my debut novel that is partially set in Ireland, MOTHER OF ABOMINATIONS.

So, I’m going to count down to my favourite and suggest some tunes for you. Enjoy!

5. Therapy?

This band is a question. They are the most well-known band on my list, so I put them first, but you might not know they are from Larne, in Northern Ireland. Therapy? provided some much needed metal in the grunge era. Somewhere between industrial, goth and alternative, they scratch a lot of itches.

This song, “Screamager” comes from their poppiest album, Troublegum, but it might be my favourite Therapy? song. So here it is:

4. God Is An Astronaut

Post rock/electronica is not usually my bag, but I got into these guys because their name comes from Clive Barker’s film, Nightbreed. It’s good writing music and they come from County Wicklow, Ireland!

3. Mael Mordha

Mael Mordha hail from Dublin and, admittedly, take a lot from my number one band. They’re the first band on my list that take traditional Celtic music elements and inject them into their sped-up version of doom metal.

Here’s their song “All Eire Will Quake”:

2. Cruachan

I listened to a lot of Dublin’s Cruachan while writing the book. There’s a lot of bile and intensity in their brand of folk metal. A lot more Celtic influence in their music as well.

Here’s their intense war cry, “Blood for the Blood God”:

For a good chunk of the band’s existence, they had a second singer, Karen Gilligan, who offered a softer, more melodic side to the band. Here’s “The Fianna”:

Their album Folk-Lore was produced by legendary Irish musician/drunk Shane McGowan who also sang on a couple tunes of theirs. Here’s the best: “Ride On.”

1.Primordial

Black/doom/celtic metal band Primordial hail from Skerries in County Dublin, but they often feel like they come from the battlefield. After the battle, mourning their dead, but rejoicing in their victory. Primordial is a band like no other.

“Babel’s Tower”

Their album The Gathering Wilderness is a current favourite. It’s meaty but subtle. Here’s “Coffin Ships”

The title track from their latest record, Where Greater Men Have Fallen stays away from the local political themes and instead provides a true and enduring reasoning for the abolishment of war.

And finally, they do a killer cover of the traditional Irish song, “Foggy Dew.”

Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day. Stay safe and come home alive. If not, may you be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.

Update

Just a quick update on me.

It’s been a busy few days, but I noticed that Kindle sales have now opened up at Amazon.ca here in Canada as well as the regular site. The novel (MOTHER OF ABOMINATIONS) appears to have started off doing pretty well there, so that was cool to see.

To find out more about the novel, check out my interview at Darkness Dwells with my buddy Jason White. We had a solid hour long conversation about my podcast, my novel, my next novel and my time living in Scotland among other things. Check it out here.

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Frankie listens, so should you!

Speaking of my podcast, this week my buddy Darryll and I covered the two Lost Skeleton films from Larry Blamire (THE LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA and THE LOST SKELETON RETURNS AGAIN) as well as my review of season one of FEAR OF THE WALKING DEAD. Check that out here.

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Growr!

Novel #2 is coming along nicely. I said I will be first drafted at the end of spring break (which starts this Friday) and I still think I’m on track to do that.

Until next time!

Those poor bastards…

In the last two days since the last post, I have written 2000 words. I think maybe all I needed was to publicly shame myself. Even if only four people are reading this. Spring Break in a week and a half. By the end of Spring Break, I will have finished my first draft of my second novel.

There. I said it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I was in a writing slump, and I think it’s because the stuff I’m writing is really bleak at the moment. Which is weird, because bleak is kind of my stock and trade. I wallow in it. I prefer those kinds of stories to read, watch and, yes, write.

So why then?

This is the first time I’ve delved into the misery in the long form. All of my bleak stuff has been in short story format thus far. I’ve been putting these characters through shit for so long now, that perhaps I’m beginning to resent myself for doing it.

And so…I will continue.

Those poor bastards.

There’s not much else going on. School’s been crazy busy, but for the past two days I’ve really just been listening to tunes and setting up my classroom. It’ll look good when it’s done. I’ll post pictures.

 

Already lazy

So, it’s been close to a week since I’ve posted something. That doesn’t mean that stuff hasn’t happened.

It’s been a banner week at work. The school I’ve been teaching at for almost a decade closed down. In essence, a building closed down. Our work continues at another location, but, since I’ve spent almost my entire career in that building, it still hit a little hard. Tomorrow, I go back to work and set up a classroom. The first classroom I’ve ever had to myself. I’m excited.

On top of that, I have finally been able to break silence on my participation in the Fright Night Theatre Film Festival. For the past few months I’ve watched close to 80 films (16 features and the rest shorts) in preparation to select a line-up for the two day film fest. Out of those, myself and a half dozen others put together a schedule of five features and fifteen shorts spread out over March 11th and 12th in Hamilton, Ontario.

Check out the link above for tickets and rundowns of the films. But, for a better idea of the films, this week’s episode of Dread Media features my interview with Aaron Allen, film festival director and lead programmer of Fright Night Theatre Film Festival. We talk about basically everything you’re going to see at the fest, so check it out.

Other than that, I’ve been pretty unproductive in my writing. I really haven’t written anything since I started this blog. That’s not a good sign.

Though, I don’t think the blog’s to blame. It’s my innate ability to let self-doubt kill my momentum. Now that I’m roughly 5000 words away from the end of my second novel, my brain has decided to stop me from completing it. I’m aware of it, and I won’t let it stop me. I’ll push through and finish it and fix it later.

That’s all. Less time between now and next post than the last time. Promise.

Round-up

Hola! It’s Monday and it’s already a busy week. This morning the fifth and final episode in Dread Media’s Feral February was published in which my friend Darryll and I discussed the senior citizens vs. werewolves feature, LATE PHASES.

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On top of that, Rich, the Monster Movie Kid reviews that other Lon Chaney Jr. werewolf film, FACE OF THE SCREAMING WEREWOLF. Then I do solo reviews of author Gregory Lamberson’s BLACK CREEK, the remake of MARTYRS and the low budget horror flick A PLACE IN HELL, both out now from Anchor Bay in Canada. Check out the episode here.

On top of all that, I was delighted to be interviewed by author and reviewer Amanda M. Lyons about my book MOTHER OF ABOMINATIONS. The webpage consists of not only a great interview with me, but also a sweet picture of me and my late pet duck Howard who has since been killed by a bear.

As far as a tease for next week’s episode of Dread Media is concerned, I can finally reveal that for the past few months, I have been a programmer for the Fright Night Theatre Film Festival in Hamilton, Ontario. As part of those duties, I have watched somewhere in the vicinity of 50-odd short films and 16 feature films. The cream of the crop – including the sexy and deranged HARVEST LAKE, which is frontrunner for my favourite film of the year – will be screened at the Staircase Theatre in Hamilton, Ontario  on March 11th and 12th.

Don’t wait to hear what Film Festival Director Aaron Allen and I have to say on Monday the 7th and buy your tickets now!

That’s all for today.

Okay, a little bit about the Monster Earth Universe

So, I mentioned in the last post – which was also the first post – that my debut novel was MOTHER OF ABOMINATIONS: A MONSTER EARTH NOVEL. But what is Monster Earth?

Good question, hypothetical reader!

Monster Earth is a shared universe created by Jim Beard and published by James Palmer at Mechanoid Press. In the Monster Earth universe, nations developed giant monsters instead of nuclear weapons sometime in the mid 1930s.

There are two anthologies in the Monster Earth universe. The first is simply titled MONSTER EARTH and takes place from the 1930s right up to the 1980s.

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There really are some great stories in this anthology, but I was taken by Ed Erdelac‘s story of an Inuit in the north of Canada. The whole book unfolds chronologically from the very first sighting of a giant monster to more or less modern day, painting an alternate history of the world.

The second anthology, BETRAYAL ON MONSTER EARTH picks up where the first left off, but dives further into the world’s mythology by exploring an anarchic cult called The Dissemblers.

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This book explodes the world and provides a more singular direction for the overarching story to take, resulting in a much more cohesive work of storytelling. They’re both anthologies, but elements of BETRAYAL feel like we’re reading one story which makes it a real achievement in shared world anthology-making. For more on this book, check out the interview I did with publisher James Palmer and my buddy, and BETRAYAL ON MONSTER EARTH contributor, Tom Deja in episode 346 of my podcast Dread Media.

A little while after this interview, I was asked to pitch a novel to Mechanoid Press set in the Monster Earth universe. Originally, they wanted something set during the first novel, but my pitch ended being something that bridged the two anthologies.

MOTHER OF ABOMINATIONS, which had the working title TROUBLES, explores the British/North Ireland conflict in the Monster Earth universe. I won’t say anymore so as not to spoil things, but I like to think that my novel complements the shared universe nicely.

Check out the links throughout the post to pick these books up (very affordably through Kindle) and catch yourself up. While you don’t need to read the anthologies to understand my novel, I feel like they all hang together to tell one massive story.

Check back here for more on MOTHER OF ABOMINATIONS and other stuff like movie reviews and updates on other stories I’ve done.

Greetings!

I’m the Desmond Reddick named at the top of the page and in your address bar. I’m a writer, podcaster and teacher. This is my website.

This is where I’ll keep you up to date on all my writing projects. Right now, you can get my debut novel MOTHER OF ABOMINATIONS: A MONSTER EARTH NOVEL in Kindle on Amazon. Other formats coming soon.

This is the amazing cover by Mark Maddox:

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