Derelict – Montreal Technical Death Metal

Official Website for the Montreal Technical Death Metal band. Blog, videos, streaming music, merch, social media, press materials, etc.

Posts Tagged 'voivod'

Technicality Vs. Songwriting, Part 2

Hi guys, Max here. A few weeks ago I gave you a pretty good idea of where I stand on the tech vs. songwriting debate. This week I’d like to talk more about how it is possible to write great technical music.

Technical skill, to me anyways, is but a tool used to achieve greater means. I find technical music simply for the sake of technicality doesn’t do much for me. I obviously like technical music. I mean, I play in a tech death band. I do believe that there are moments when a technical section can really add punch to a song, but there needs to be a song there to begin with. Being able to mix technical proficiency with good songwriting is an art in itself. It’s a delicate balance that’s very hard to achieve, but that’s totally worth it.

I can remember to this day watching Metallica play a live set on TV during Woodstock ’99. They played “Wherever I May Roam,”, “Seek and Destroy” as well as “Enter Sandman”. I knew I wanted to play guitar. Just like that, the seed was planted. Something about those tunes made me feel something awesome. Not only was the songwriting great, but at the time my young ears had never heard guitar solos like the ones Kirk Hammett was busting out then and there. I knew heavy metal was going to be my calling. Years later my tastes have changed drastically but that drive still remains. Music, and in this specific case Metal music, makes me feel a wave of energy that I just surrender myself to. Whether it be the cool focus of Cynic’s “How Could I?”, the pure and unaltered rage spewing from Devin Townsend in Strapping Young Lad’s “Shitstorm” or the progressive melodies and grooves of Symphony-X’s opus “The Divine Wings of Tragedy”, there is an emotion that comes to the surface to breathe life into your sonic pallet. Other artists I would recommend who mixed dizzying energy with incredible complexity are Charles Mingus, The Mahavishnu Orchestra as well as Frank Zappa.

I’d like to take a moment to mention technical death metal here. After all, we in Derelict consider ourselves to be a technical death metal band. I told you guys a bit about my personal songwriting process last week but I’d like to take a moment to talk about the genre here for a moment. Let’s take a look at Suffocation, one of death metal’s most legendary and truly brutal bands as well as one of my favorite death metal acts. Suffocation definitely fit the technical category, but not in a flashy way. Suffocation pummels your eardrums relentlessly until you literally feel the crushing weight of those riffs smothering you and making it hard to breathe. On top of that Frank Mullen sounds like a savage who will kill your face. I find they chose their name really well. That sound would not be achieved without the speed and generally technical aspect of the riff writing. This is a good example of technical song arrangements. Listen to “Liege of Inveracity” or “Pierced From Within” to get a good idea of their staple sound.

Martyr, from Trois-Rivières, Québec are one of my favorite bands, period. Daniel Mongrain, who also plays in legendary Quebec band Voivod, just might be my favorite metal guitarist. The man is a true world class player who happens to be a huge metalhead. Mongrain has a jazz background and plays session all around the province. Martyr are one of the most technical bands you will ever hear. Not only are they extremely impressive to watch, but they are a joy to hear as well. One of my favorite songs of theirs is “Virtual Emotions” where they deconstruct chord voicings in a technical frenzy of epic proportions. Here is a band who can appeal to musicians and non-musicians alike and do so rather well. Derelict got to open for Martyr two years ago and I was truly grateful to be able to talk to Dan about songwriting and metal in general. I’ll never forget that day. The man really is one of my idols.

Technical metal is getting very popular these days. It’s in the nature of musicians to try to push their limits and try to create new sounds and new techniques on their instruments. I think technical music is important. I think it’s important to try new things and to try to improve as a player, because if anything you end up learning something new, which can only lead to good things. Experimenting is a crucial element of art. Experimenting with new techniques is an integral part of the constant evolution of art, and technical death metal has definitely contributed to that evolution.

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The Montreal Effect

Hey guys. Below is a blog update from Max about the Montreal metal scene.
Just a quick reminder, if you’re IN Montreal, tonight (Oct 26th), we’re playing at Foufs with Decapitated, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Decrepit Birth and Rings of Saturn:

The Montreal Effect

Very often in life we ask ourselves or others how we are influenced by our surroundings. This is true in many walks of life. Our surroundings affect how we dress, what music we listen to and many other things too numerous to list properly right now. As someone who writes music, in this case death metal music, I have to say that my surroundings have had a great impact on my playing and songwriting.

We in Derelict are very fortunate to call Montreal home. Montreal is a very lively and artistic city where you can attend some sort of artistic performance or live a nightlife experience pretty much any night of the week. It’s also a fairly unique city in that the French and English languages live in relative harmony. What is also true about Montreal is that it has a world-class metal scene.

When I was a young teenager and discovering the heavier arts, some of the bands I stumbled upon after the Big 4 were Iced Earth, Opeth, Death, Arch Enemy and Deicide. I was off to a good start when I saw someone mention Cryptopsy in a magazine(that’s right, metal sites were not as common back then). My friend Pat and I first listened to the song “White Worms”. I couldn’t believe that this type of brutal music even existed, let alone that the band was from my hometown! After that life-changing event it didn’t take long for me to realize just how much of a brutal bastion of metal this city really was.

Years later it’s very easy for me to cite a bunch of local bands who have had a tremendous influence on me and other members of Derelict past and present. I don’t know if it’s because of Voivod, but Quebec metal bands, many of which are from Montreal, often seem to have either a technical, progressive or off kilter approach that give it a distinctive sound. Some bands, like Gorguts, even venture into the avant-garde category, literally reinventing how they played their guitars as they went along. This alongside other influences from the United States and Europe have now made Montreal a more diversified metal juggernaut, with famous bands like The Agonist, Blackguard, Beneath the Massacre and the recently defunct Despised Icon all making waves in their respective styles. While that is happening you have bands like Neuraxis, Unexpect, Martyr, Augury that keep pushing their own boundaries. The underground is also kicking it pretty hard with bands like Beyond Creation, Endast, First Fragment, Self-Collapse, Impalement, The Unconscious Mind and many more playing local shows seemingly every week.

The speed, relentlessness and jarring musical direction this city harnesses has resonated in Derelict as well. The eerie tones and chaotic rhythms of our brethren and metal forefathers seem to creep through our songs (or at least some of the ones I write). We are often told that we have the “Montreal” sound. I for one embrace it and am very proud of the strong metal tradition of my hometown. Vive le métal!

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Hailing from Montreal, Derelict mixes the brutal and technical elements of the Quebec metal scene with listenable structures and melody, resulting in an unforgiving yet accessible package. The band’s trademark sound has led to comparisons with the likes of Death, Strapping Young Lad, Obscura and The Black Dahlia Murder.

In 2009, the release of the Unspoken Words album through Year of the Sun Records marked a kickoff point for Derelict with several national tours, increased media exposure, and greater critical acclaim. The band’s 2012 followup release, Perpetuation was once again mixed and mastered by Chris Donaldson of Cryptopsy and contains 12 furious tracks that showcase an upgraded version of what Derelict fans have come to love. This new crushing-yet-memorable opus led the band to be nominated for “Metal Artist Of The Year” at the 2013 Canadian Independent Music Awards alongside Devin Townsend and Bison BC, as well as to secure international distribution through Maple Metal Records.

“This album was long in the making, and saw the band through some intense challenges,” says vocalist Eric Burnet. “We survived our trials and came back much stronger. Perpetuation is streamlined Derelict: it has fast tempos and brutal riffs, but lots of melody and catchiness too. We all pushed ourselves to expand what we could do with our instruments, and we got Sébastien Pittet (ex-Augury) playing fretless bass on it too!”

With the help of constant touring within Canada, and support for international acts such as Decapitated, Cryptopsy, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Decrepit Birth, Job For A Cowboy, Whitechapel, The Agonist, Revocation and Threat Signal, the band continues to spread its socio-political message of self-empowerment, freedom and peace to a mass of receptive fans.


Derelict Is…

Eric Burnet – VocalsFacebook | Twitter
Jordan Perry – DrumsFacebook | Youtube
Max Lussier – GuitarFacebook | Twitter
Xavier Sperdouklis – Bass
Simon Cléroux – Guitar…Facebook

Sébastien Pittet - Fretless Bass (Perpetuation Studio)… Myspace

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