Monday, June 26, 2017 This Week's Paper

Make a Scene

Skip the Foreplay


With a band name like Skip the Foreplay, it is a pretty safe bet that audiences will not be holding hands singing “Kumbaya” while swaying to and fro. And on their new album “Nightlife,” the bandmates hold true to this by going hardcore right off the bat with a 46-second instrumental intro song, “St4p,” that grabs you by the collar and slaps you silly with guttural vocals and brain melting guitar work – a taste of things yet to come.

There is some melody in their songs too, though, which helps set Skip the Foreplay apart somewhat from other metal bands with their type of grating “Cookie Monster vocals” rather than actual singing. In fact, just about all the songs on “Nightlife” have their fleeting moments of gentility, but these often seem out of place and more of a set-up for a blast of screaming vocals and pummeling drums sure to follow. There is even a DJ in the band, and this adds an interesting layer of beats, electronic dance sounds, dub-step, hip-hop and house – but not in a way that makes for well-arranged songs. The band is: Fillion on vocals, Chuck on guitar, Mathieu on guitar, Julien on bass, Marc-André on drums and DJ Phil on synthesizer.

“We play party music. It’s a mix of hard metal and dance music, not really hardcore, it’s more like party core,” the band is quoted as saying. If you like your music to dive headfirst into the action with no cuddling or afterglow, Skip the Foreplay is for you.

Based in Montreal, this is Skip the Foreplay’s first full-length CD on Epitaph Records. Their fans seem to like it – the critics, not so much. Many of the songs sound like they are composed of various unassociated pieces spliced together with no rhyme or reason, as if it is an attempt to add color and texture to the yawn-inducing angry shouting/guitar grinding on every track.

“Nightlife” does have its moments of techno ambience – earning the band yet another descriptive adjective: “trancecore” – like on “Dinner with Snooki.” This track lasts only over a minute, though – just about as much time as anyone could probably stand being around her.

The CD finishes with a cover of electro-pop duo LMFAO’s “Champagne Showers,” begging the question, “Why?” It is just more of the same unintelligible snarling backed by random electronic/metal noise.

For those who want to see for themselves what Skip the Foreplay is all about, the band plays El Corazon in Seattle on Oct. 12 with Abandon All Ships and For All Those Sleeping.

Reviewed by Matt Nagle

Obey The Brave

“Young Blood”

Obey The Brave is certainly doing something right. The band, based in Montreal and Ottawa, was formed in January and has already been signed to Epitaph Records, released their debut album and done a United States tour.

The band consists of Alex Erian on vocals, John Campbell and Greg Wood on guitars, Miguel Lepage on bass and Stevie Morotti on drums. Their label describes them as “an exciting, adrenaline-charged metalcore band.” That description is quite accurate. This is headbanging music.

“Lifestyle” starts the album off. The song is heavy and short, clocking in at 1:20. Erian’s lead vocals are somewhat harsh, and his bandmates support him with spirited backing vocals. Erian delivers an approach to life: “I keep fighting for what’s wrong/ one day at a time.”

The drums are up in the mix on the second track, “It Starts Today.” It starts much faster than the first song, then a tempo change shifts it into slow, heavy mode. “Asleep all day/ we live large, stronger every day.”

“Self Made” displays more of the gang backing vocals and tempo changes. The strong production on the album is quite apparent here.

Morotti really shows his talent on “Live And Learn,” where his drumming is all over the place. One of the guitar lines is quite melodic, adding some contrast to the rest of the composition.

“Grim” is an instrumental, about 30 seconds long. It consists of eerie sound effects and a very deep bass line. It leads into “Get Real,” which begins with very heavy guitar. Erian spouts off on the status of his life. “Same $#!& different day/ I’m sick of all this drama.”

“Time For A Change” is a fast-paced tune. The lyrics are about abandoning a nine-to-five job and making music a career. “We rock the places far away/ you come for it every day.”

“Unstoppable” is slow, grinding and heavy.

“Burning Bridges” has what sounds like keyboards, or perhaps synthesizer, in the background.

Some of Obey The Brave’s songwriting techniques, such as the frequent use of tempo changes, can make their songs start to sound alike. But they have considerable talent and the production of their debut album helps overcome their shortcomings.

Reviewed by John Larson