Wacken in Winnipeg

Four bands battle for a chance to go to Germany

Wacken Metal Battle isn’t your average battle of the bands.

“It’s not a ticketing selling contest,” JJ Tartaglia, founder and organizer of Wacken Metal Battle Canada, says. “It’s not a popularity contest either.”

Bands enter by filling out an online form. There are no mandatory requirements or entrance fees.

“Usually a high percentage of the bands that apply get in,” Tartaglia says.

Then, they are judged by people in the industry rather than by the audience.

Battles take place in countries around the world and all national winners are sent to Wacken Open Air in Germany for the final international battle.

In Canada, one winner from the Prairies will head to Toronto for the national battle.

On March 18, Winnipeg bands Cell, Commencing Human Desperation, Perilous and  Speed Demon will play at the Windsor Hotel to determine who will go to the Prairie finals in Calgary.

The Uniter caught up with each of the bands to see where they’re at before the final Winnipeg round.

 

Cell once set off the fire alarm at The Windsor with their smoke machine.

Cell

Uniter (U): How long has your band been together?

Cell (C): We’ve been a full band for a year and a half now.

U: How did the band form?

C: I started writing on my own while touring around with my other band Entity and I found that every time I got a moment to myself, I kept on creating new Cell riffs and lyrics. Dave joined in October of 2014 and we connected instantly. It's funny because if Ryan didn't join after that in November, we would of been just a two piece!

U: What has been your favourite moment as a band?

C: So far our favourite moment has been when we set off the fire alarm with our smoke machine at the Windsor when we played with Untimely Demise, Endless Chaos, and <

Withdrawal! We finished our set and looked to the right noticing that the fire department showed up.

U: Where's your favourite place in Winnipeg to hang out as a band?

C: It would honestly have to be either our jam space or The Handsome Daughter. It's a great venue that the music scene has been needing for a while now. If the Zoo was still open, I'd say that would be my favourite place.

U: If you make it big, what's the first thing you're going to buy?

C: Most likely more gear to improve our live performance.

U: What's something that makes you stand out from other metal bands?

C: I'd say our pure energy and our live performance make us stand out compared to a lot of other bands. We also like a lot of forms of metal so we try to combine a few different things into our black metal.

U: Why do you deserve to make it to the next round of the Wacken Metal Battle?

C: I think what we bring is new and different. It's got a lot of different elements that would interest people who aren't normally into black metal!

U: What would winning the Wacken Metal Battle in Germany mean for you guys?

C: Words can't even describe the feelings we would have. It's honestly a dream we've all had since we've gotten into this music.

 

Commencing Human Desperation are quite fond of Salisbury House.

Commencing Human Desperation

Uniter (U): How long has your band been together?

Commencing Human Desperation (CHD): Three years since January.

U: How did the band form?

CHD: It formed originally from Vinny sending videos to Seth of him doing vocal lines for him to write the first song to. Soon after releasing this song, they began to reach out to other people to form the remainder of the band's original line-up.

U: What has been your favourite moment as a band?

CHD: Our favourite moments are always when we're out touring.

U: Where's your favourite place in Winnipeg to hang out as a band?

CHD: Our favourite places in Winnipeg to hang out would be our jam space (The "Trap House") or probably Salisbury House.

U: If you make it big, what's the first thing you're going to buy?

CHD: We'll probably buy our own van or bus for touring in.

U: What kind of band merch would you never have?

CHD: Probably underwear!

U: What's something that makes you stand out from other metal bands?

CHD: We think the diversity of our music helps us stand out. While we mainly fit into the deathcore genre, we blend a large range of different sub-genres together to form our sound.

U: Why do you deserve to make it to the next round of the Wacken Metal Battle?

CHD: We are an extremely hard working and almost entirely do-it-ourselves band that has set goals for ourselves right from day one. We've striven hard to get where we want to be, to reach out to people to get them out to our shows and to put on a live performance that impresses new people every time we play.

U: What would winning the Wacken Metal Battle in Germany mean for you guys?

CHD: Winning the Wacken Metal Battle would mean a lot to us. It would mean a huge opportunity for us to get our music in front of more people than we've had the chance to before, including potential labels/management agents, and would open the doors for us to continue playing music full time on tours but in our own country and in another country.

 

Perilous are proud of their shoes and puppy-petting skills.

Perilous

Uniter (U): How long has your band been together?  

Perilous (P): We’ve been steady for a year now.

U: How did the band form?  

P: We decided to make the most of a baby shower and formed a death metal band. We've known each other for nearly six years but it took us up until that baby shower to mesh our riffage together. After all the gifts were opened we pulled out the guitars. Unconventional metal at unconventional times.

U: What has been your favourite moment as a band?

P: The first time we got free beer to play a show. Thanks Cory! We'd like to think that is the point of which you are at the very least mediocre.

U: Where's your favourite place in Winnipeg to hang out as a band?

P: We really enjoy hanging out in a wide variety of basements. Both unfinished and finished. Also at any pet store. There are very few non-Perilous petted puppies.

U: If you make it big, what's the first thing you're going to buy?

P: We will go to our local music shop, buy our own CD and then immediately ask for a refund. Then, go to the nearest 7/11 and buy some taquitos and chicken wings. Honey garlic.

U: What kind of band merch would you never have?

P: We'll have it all. If it can have our name on it, we're going to sell it. Tattoo's on children, a line of cigarettes, children.

U: What's something that makes you stand out from other metal bands?

P: Mostly our shoes. Everyone loves our shoes.

U: Why do you deserve to make it to the next round of the Wacken Metal Battle?  

P: We really don't deserve anything yet. We still have a show to play and a bunch of talented bands playing with us. Did we mention our shoes though?

U: What would winning the Wacken Metal Battle in Germany mean for you guys?

P: First off, we'd get a free trip to Germany to play the largest metal festival in the world. Number B, it'd be the peak of our lives and it would all be downhill from there.

 

Speed Demon prefer to cultivate grease appeal over sex appeal.

Speed Demon

Uniter (U): How long has your band been together?

Speed Demon (SD): Two years

U: How did the band form?

SD: Through a lot of jammin’ and bottles of Kraken rum!

U: What has been your favourite moment as a band?

SD: Playing Funky (Winker Beans) in Vancouver.

U: Where's your favourite place in Winnipeg to hang out as a band?

SD: The bathroom of the King’s Hotel...

U: If you make it big, what's the first thing you're going to buy?

SD: Hookers and blow–fish.

U: What kind of band merch would you never have?

SD: Speed Demon anal beads.

U: What's something that makes you stand out from other metal bands?

SD: Some bands have sex appeal, we have grease appeal.

U: Why do you deserve to make it to the next round of the Wacken Metal Battle?  

SD: We've worked hard as band this past year to get where we're at now, and are ready to give our all.

U: What would winning the Wacken Metal Battle in Germany mean for you guys?

SD: Everything! It would blow our minds!!

 

These interviews have been edited for clarity and length.

Published in Volume 70, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 17, 2016)

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