Jimmy Collins – Vocals,
Kev Bergeron – Guitars,
SP Bédard – Bass,
Sam LaPlante – Guitars,
Azalée Baillargeon – Drums,
1) A Place to Call Hell
2) Ruthless Waters
3) Threat to Myself
4) New Design
6) By a Thread
7) The Countdown
8) The Fog of Your Mind
9) Rotten Foundations (featuring Alex Ferland)
‘Basterds’ are a 5-piece metalcore band formed in late 2016 in Drummondville, Québec. They started off by recording a 5-track demo in 2017 called ‘The Greatest Shame’, followed by an EP in 2019 called ‘Deliver Me’, and now in 2021, they’re teaming up with Hell for Breakfast to unveil their first full-length project, ‘A Place to Call Hell’. Recorded at House Of Gain Studio with Max Lacroix (better known for his work with Blind Witness, Sudden Waves, Boundaries and Horcrux), the Canadian heavy hitter brought the band’s sound to a whole new level. Considering that they have only been performing live since 2017 in multiple cities across Québec and Ontario, sharing the stage with bands like Obey The Brave, Knocked Loose, Get the Shot and Obliterate, they have already gleaned plenty of attention.
The title track, ‘A Place to Call Hell’, starts us off with a very deliberate riff and stupendously heavy bass, which would not be out of place on an Oceano or Despised Icon record. Jimmy Collins barks out his emotive lyrics whilst the guitars cut through, chopping between incisive riffs and melodic runs. SP Bédard certainly earns his corn throughout this track hammering his bass lines out.
‘Ruthless Waters’ follows up next with even more intensity and brutality. The vocals range from the scream and fry at the top end to some mighty impressive gutturals at the lower end. Each lyric is spat out with venom. It should be no surprise that Mr Collins was recruited to be a part of the Beyond Deviation (400 Vocalist World Record Track) such is his prowess. Another set of muscular riffs dovetailing nicely with thunderous bass.
‘Threat To Myself’ is a track that initially has the feel of a Killswitch Engage sound. The riff chugs along nicely, intersected with similar melodic touches to the aforementioned metalcore Titans from Massachusetts. The drums seemingly pummelled to oblivion on this number.
‘New Design’ is clearly going to be a live favourite. There will be many a moshpit started by this song. There is a definite hardcore punk vibe to this track at the start but as it develops, the mix of tempos and the monstrous breakdown then pulls it back to deathcore.
‘Interlude’ continues the album with a 52 second chug. Not sure why this wasn’t made into a full song but it breaks up the intensity before smashing into… ‘By A Thread’. In it’s own right a return to the savagery of the previous riffs. This track being more than a homage to the deathcore side of their sound. A growl, interjecting a similarly guttural riff, followed by a scream vocal and staccato guitar play with both the riff and melody. The rhythm section driving a pulsating pattern throughout.
‘The Countdown’ is a more mid-paced number that weaves the line between deathcore and melodic metalcore. It has bounce to the rhythm that will surely get heads banging. There are some exquisite extreme vocals delivered on this track. The drums are deliberate and precise. A wonderful melodic lead in the mid-section then gives way to that bouncy riff before closing.
‘The Fog Of Your Mind’ is another tune that mixes styles beautifully. Cracking melodies giving way to heavy breakdowns. This tune has hooks that sink deep and plenty of moments that give the chance for hairs to stand up on the back of your neck.
‘Rotten Foundations’ gives a chance for Alex Ferland to join in support on vocal duties. He certainly does not disappoint. Pig squeals and blast beats are always wondrous to hear. This track is only one minute long but it is enough time to rip you a new one!
‘Roaming’ is the final track and ‘Basterds’ leave us with a melodic metalcore anthem which gives a sense that they could continue writing absolute crowd-pleasing bangers throughout, what I hope, is a long career.
It should be no surprise that the band has been described as the next big thing in metalcore. However, their ability to cross styles from the absolute savagery of deathcore to the rhythmical and melodic metalcore means that their appeal will be wide. This album only clocks in a little under half an hour, but within it you have a sense that they thoroughly enjoy the music they play and once they are able to spread the word at festivals in Europe, will become absolutely massive.
The subject matter on the album talks about distress and being torn between the desire to help or destroy oneself and the very real topics of anxiety, substance abuse and unhappiness. These are all very relatable subjects however difficult they are to talk about. However, ‘Basterds’ show the human side to their music and the infectious live energy will have them sought after. There is a genuine nod to some of their most profound influences, but they sound like they are the next to take the metal baton and run with it, creating their own original take on the music they love.
I thoroughly enjoyed this album, especially because it is a debut LP release, it sets the tone for what could very well be a long a fruitful career for the Drummondville quintet. I am impressed by the mix of styles they employ to push their message and there are some absolutely banging moments which I know will set circle pits off with wanton abandon. They have already been playing with some of the best local bands on offer in Quebec and Ontario. My hope is that we get to see them on a European tour very soon.
This is the sound of the New Wave Of Canadian Heavy Metal. There, I coined it, you saw it here first.
Score: 10 out 10
Reviewed by: Stefan Putwain