Tag Archives: Canadian Content

THE UNRAVELLING “13 Arcane Hymns” [2010]

5 May

FFO: Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Perfect Circle

        Perhaps as a consequence of North America`s universally applied and globally recognized approach to everyday philosophy, loosely defined by an emphasis on “quantity” over “quality”, the defining core pillars of modern metal  have gone on to embrace a culture of excess, standardization  of aesthetics and expectations.  The foolish, inexperienced majority of youths pursuing counterculture have facilitated a never ending pursuit for acquiring new ways to cash in on shock value through lower tunings, faster blast-beats and increasingly more violent commitments to vocal cord shredding gutturals.  Even as a fan, it is ridiculous for a genre or artist to put mass produce blandness, brief satisfaction as McDonald’s sandwich.  Considering how uninspired this “Quality over quantity” food metaphor is, it is one that is familiar to absolutely everyone.

Which brings me to “The Unravelling”, a Canadian fusion of progressive metal song structure, and 90’s brand of ambient industrial, which places its spiritual stylistics close to yesteryear’s genre titans like Tool, Nine Inch Nails, and Perfect Circle, complimented by their self described “Dillinger Escape Plan’(s) refusal to compromise”.

Oh also, did I mention that Unravelling is a mere duo, comprised of the vocalist/lyricist Steve Moore and a single, multi musician, Gustavo de Beauville. It is this foreknowledge combine with The Unravelling’s actual music that sets itself miles apart from your average everyday rocker rabble. Case and point: their 2010 debut, “13 Arcane Hymns`, which at the time was widely acclaimed for its substance by dozens of prog- metal communities.

Despite being based out of distant city of Calgary and being forced into hiatus, due to Steven Moore being diagnosed with cancer, The Unravelling’s seminal debut is both  a passionate dictation, as well as a fiery  bludgeoning to one`s expectations, senses  and the established counterculture status quo.  In fact, The 13 tracks off of “13 Arcane Hymns“ don’t attempt to provoke your everyday visceral forms of fear by through some convetional showcase the most abhorrent sound and subject matter the band could muster. In fact, the songs` melodic structures are pristinely discernible, unsaturated and are coupled with the rarity of clean vocals. All  in all this makes 13 Arcane Hymns harmonious and  subtle but with a distinct, mid 90’s disdain for existence itself. One of the most on the nose,“ Anemia“-era Tool sounding tracks is “Becoming Chaos” ; in fact, the prophetic wailing-vocals and south American jungle tribe percussion pace and rhythm would almost be an unwelcome imitation, but Anemia is 20+ years old, has not had my undivided attention in years.In a similar fashion,  Burning Chaos is also an excellent track on its own terms, whilst bearing an uncanny Tool resemblance, much  like the familiar curves and contours of a spouse’s twin sibling.

Consider these two tracks but a brevity of nostalgia fondling; its really nothing more than a passing flirtation, as The Unravelling’s overall energy and direction is always fluid. By the time the album progresses to “Open Skull” , the general sound of influences will congeal into some weird merger of Ayreon, Perfect Circle and NIN, which will then be replaced in ”Last Night’s Protest” with a distinct early Selpultura-esque battalion breaching percussion and attitude, with Steve Moore sprinkling a  hint of System Of A Down`s trademarked verse barking. Clean vocal gusto may dying a dying practice, but it definitely still deserves attention in its returning feature, as the anthem “Where Will It End” which sprouts atop of the fanfare of 90’s Nu-metal-esque riffs, chunky drop D triplets and a cacophony that I have come to know as Joey Jordison`s post-career spectre successfully achieving double bass based form of vengeance.

13 Arcane Hymns “ is Steve Moore and Gustavo de Beauville’s  portal into the an era of the past that seems to be too often ignored. While Steve does invigorating, revival and renegotiations trademarks, singing styles and vigour that is unique to another artists. He channels something long personal in anyone old enough to remember the 90s. It is Mr. Beauville’s ability to play and write all  of The Unravelling recorded music. It is because of him that “13 Arcane Hymns” shines as an album, because Gustavo De Beaville is a visionary who builds worlds in, far out synthesiser fictions and keyboard harmonies on canvasses of industrial backgrounds.

For this particular reason, I recommend checking out my standout track on this album is the closer “Victory Song”. Instead of the bleak emotive of NIN/Faith No More origins, this particular track’s introductory chant of ascension is spiritually reminiscent of the infamous German Industrial / gothic pop  group known as VNV nation.
Conspiracy?  Definitely. Well… definitely maybe…
See for yourself on the full 13 Arcane Hymn‘s full upload on Youtube:

If you enjoyed this album as much as me, check out The Unravelling’s seond album’s full release on April 15, 2015.
You can check out their new single at Bandcamp:


Watch the Music Video for “Move Forward Until You Are Dead Here”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfja5FUlR9k


Canadian Music Week Spotlight: Cafeïne et Papillon, Rockers de Montreal

7 May


Ah, Montreal. A city with a passion for many things: rye bread with smoked meat, 5 am last calls, hating the Bruins. That passion also translates to an absolutely electric rock scene; a bubbling breeding pool for would-be Iggys and Bolans. Out of that primordial, bilingual mixture comes a couple of rock vets charging up the St. Lawrence and arriving just in time for Toronto’s Canadian Music Week 2014, deux rassemblés.

They are none other than Xavier Caféïne and Stephane Papillon, and these two rock-hounds of Montreal have some nifty parallels. Both started out their music careers in the ’90s fronting some serious punk groups, both cite the early punk scene in ’70s New York as a huge factor in their musical direction, and both now go solo under their own last names.



Not that the solo life has changed much for Cafeïne (his old band was called Caféïne, after all). Here’s a man who would title his albums Pornstar or Bushido, which certainly works out for his aesthetic as he adeptly plays the grimy growler and svelte seducer like any good apostle of CBGB could. Keeping true to the punk spirit, though, Cafeïne is not one to follow blindly as he puts his own francophone spin on his brand of rock, while answering any question of “why?” with a sly, disaffecting “why not?”.


Cafeïne – New Love (2013).

His latest release, New Love, was rightly hailed as his best work yet and Cafeïne’s opus. All the elements for a classically brutish punk-rock album is here: the hellishly pissed-off distortion on the title track that kicks us off, the thick thunder that permeates “Electric”–even the one-two-three-fahs of “Left for Dead”. Cafeïne certainly made his pilgrimage to NYC’s Lower East Side and East Village.

But while New York punk may be the factor in New Love’s sound, it is Cafeine’s Montreal stylings that truly lend the album its uniqueness. Songs like “Lettre d’amour” feature him singing in his native Quebecois, while upfront talk about personal subjects mark the ruminative theme of New Love.  It doesn’t get any more honest than “Fucking Time”, where Cafeïne laments, “I wish my life could be a bit better, but there’s no fucking time / I wish my songs were a little more clever, at least they fucking rhyme / Now I’m moving back in with my parents, cause I don’t have a fucking dime /I wish that I could make peace with my father, but there’s no fucking time“. It is simultaneously droll and downcast, and when set to a blistering rock pace the result becomes the standout track of New Love.


While Cafeïne likes to retain a bit of class to his classic punk, Papillon sheds any kind of formality with complete disdain. An absolute careerist in rock music, Stephane Papillon has been in and out of clubs and dive bars since 1989, when he started as the frontman of Cherry Poppers. Had he been born a decade earlier, Papillon may have been one of the formational cornerstones of classic punk rock. His frantic live sets are invested by over 20 years of rock n’ roll energy, with the experience that knows what works and what doesn’t, and the vitality hasn’t dropped one bit.


Papillon – As​-​tu peur d’la mort? (2012).

So it was expected when Papillion recorded a four-track EP in 2012, that that piece of work would be the purest definition of “all killer no filler”. As​-​tu peur d’la mort?Are you afraid of death?–certainly lived up to those expectations, and then some. “C’est ça j’ai dit” is an excellent approximation of dirty Montreal rock, “Câlisse” entraps with a rapacious bass hook,  and standout “Ingrédients Violents” broadsides the listener with a slam of bar-hopping rock and drunken sax. No abstraction needed, as Papillon states what he means pretty clearly. Good times for all, non?


For those about to rock, we not only salute you, but also implore you to check out the vintage rock of Cafeïne and Papillon during Canadian Music Week. The duo will play back-to-back sets at Cherry Cola’s Rock N’ Rolla Cabaret on Thursday, May 8th, starting at midnight. Papillon, sleep-hater he is, will also be playing at The Dakota Tavern on Friday night at 2 am and The Bovine Sex Club on Saturday at 10 pm.

Check out Cafeïne!

Official Website.





Check out Papillon!

Official Website.






 Author: Nathan Christie