Taking cues from the classic hardcore sounds of Ignite and the metallic edge of Cancer Bats, Choices Made deliver a world of fantastic riffs on their third EP ‘Reason For Conflict’. It’s half dozen tracks showcase some superb musicians throughout, and the short and sharp EP format actually helps the band’s pointed messages of unity seem even more forceful.
Unless you happen to be from Ontario, or perhaps have an unhealthy obsession with Transatlantic power pop, there’s a good chance the name Dany Laj will not mean much to you. With his band The Looks, Dany has been cranking out quirky pop-rock sounds since 2016, but his recorded output goes back even further with a (now rare) solo EP from 2010. The third album by Dany Laj and The Looks – 2019’s ‘Everything New Is New Again’ – received some very positive notices from established DIY power pop blogs around the net, cementing the band’s place as a cult act, but the bulk of the Looks’ 2021 LP ‘Ten Easy Pieces’ (featuring twelve songs) runs rings around their previous works.
Featuring six bands and a selection of retro metal covers, this compilation is an interesting prospect. None of the featured acts will mean very much to most people living outside Canada – or even anyone living too far outside of Ontario – but in a couple of instances, the bands’ choice of material involves songs that will have spent decades gracing millions of stereos since the 1980s. By choosing a couple of very familiar 80s classics, Invicta and Cathartic Demise both stand a fair chance of picking up a new fan or two via this release – and at the end of the day, that’s what every hard working band wants…and needs. By recycling early nineties death metal, both Aepoch and Raider can seem more marginal, but their featured performances capture some more than reasonable extreme metal chops.
When billing as power pop punk, the new single from Toronto’s Talk Show Host might seem like an oxymoron, but in many ways, it’s a fairly accurate description. ‘Crisis Actors’ features the kind of buoyant vocals – and vocal filtering – you’ve come to expect from so much twenty first century pop punk, but musically, the track comes with much bigger boots.
Canadian metal band Zero Fire’s second EP ‘Second Sun’ was packed with great riffs. By creating a brand of melodic metalcore that also included nods to groove metal and contrasted its heaviness with use of clean vocals, it managed to be very broad in appeal. A year on, ‘The Attic Sessions’ offers fans and newcomers a couple of live recordings that demonstrate both extremes of the band’s sound. While a new studio recording would have been preferable – and a full length album better still – this EP has the benefit of giving a premier to a pair of previously unrecorded tracks.