WARCALL – DEMONARCHY – PANOPTIC/DISCONCERT
There was some confusion since the band’s name was a new one to us at Metallian Towers and the group’s formation supposedly dated back all of two years. The music on Demonarchy - something of a hackneyed name at this point – is mature by any measure. The riddle was solved upon discovering that the band had indeed operated for many more years under another monicker only to change its name, record this album and now see its release.
With that preamble out of the way, whatever the case of the band’s age, Warcall has put forth a dazzling album whose biggest merit is maintaining heaviness and frantic speed upon a grouping of diverse riffs without ever resorting to demeaning devices like clean vocals, keyboards, opera vocals or whatever trendy modern bands do. Warcall is always punishing the listener and always exciting and always powerful without compromising the metal. What is wonderful is how many good riffs these guys have. The band then takes that and adds additional flair, say a little drum sound here, a guitar lick there, to complete its brand of death and thrash metal. This sort of music is more ordinarily associated with Europe, you know some melody but very heavy, and indeed shades of Arch Enemy or the harmonies of Iron Maiden are heard here and there. Having said that, Warcall is its own band and a good one at that. There is some uneven spacing between tracks on the disc it sounds like, but Demonarchy is worth searching for. – Ali “The Metallian”
There are four guys called Gord (vocals and bass), Yann and Lwi (both guitars) and Mat (drums) who rehearse next door to the Molson Brewery in Montreal. They are collectively called WarCall and have recently released an album called Demonarchy through Panoptic Records. Drummer Mat called into Metallian Towers on morning to give Ali “The Metallian” the scoop on WarCall. Here goes. – 07.11.2009
METALLIAN: Mat, thanks for your call. How about you tell Metallian’s readers about WarCall’s genesis?
MAT: We started out in 2003 as Plan B. Well, we started being serious and playing shows in 2003, but we were together since 1997. Only when Gord joined in 2003 we took a more serious approach to the music. We were playing more of an old school thrash metal with clean vocals with Maiden and Motörhead influences. We did three demos, an EP and quite a few shows. When one of the guitar players, Mike, quit we wanted to have a more aggressive approach so we decided to change the name at the same time. We changed the name to WarCall and that is where we are now. Mike was tired of playing shows. He wanted to stop playing music seriously.
METALLIAN: Are your surnames a secret or part of the public record since you don’t advertise them?
MAT: That is a good question. We never talked about it. It is not a secret, but we prefer to go with our first names.
METALLIAN: So, what is your surname?
MAT: It is Simard.
METALLIAN: How did the band get hitched with Panoptic Records?
MAT: We went on tour for three shows last year in September with Norther in Quebec and Ontario. The shows were in St-Hyacinthe, Chicoutimi and Ottawa. Stephan of Panoptic Records, who was the tour manager, saw us on stage a few times and we had a good time and talked. He liked our T-shirts and our style. So, when it became time to press the CD I approached him and we signed a deal.
METALLIAN: What do you think of Norther?
MAT: Er, I think it’s a good band.
METALLIAN: Were you to think they sucked would you tell me?
MAT: Yes, I would. I don’t particularly like… the music is OK, but the musicians are excellent.
METALLIAN: Is it correct that WarCall did not have any other releases, like demos, before the full-length?
MAT: We had one demo, which we sold at shows. It featured four songs that are on the album. It was simply called WarCall. That was released in April of 2008.
METALLIAN: Just before we delve deeper into the music could you reveal whether you were, or are, in any other projects?
MAT: We have another project, which is called Les Damnes, actually. It could be translated as ‘The Damned.’ It is four guys from WarCall. We change instruments and we play black metal. I play bass and do vocals.
METALLIAN: Is Les Damnes serious and looking for a deal?
MAT: It is just for fun. We don’t take it seriously and just go out there and play. It is surprising that we get offered a few shows. We go with the flow.
METALLIAN: Isn’t a fun black metal band ironic?
MAT: Yeah… we disguise ourselves as Zombies. So it’s ‘dead metal ‘ not ‘death metal.’
METALLIAN: Going back to your main band, why did you pick the monicker, WarCall?
MAT: We thought that it sounded cool and fit the more aggressive style of music we wanted to play. It is a subject we talk about in our songs.
METALLIAN: What does the band think of war as a conception?
MAT: Well, we think… we are not pro-war. To make an analogy with our music war is intense and violent. It makes us get our worst emotions out so it can be a great parallel to metal music. We don’t support wars. Not at all. We talk about wars in a more historical way. It is a good way to inform people about the reality of war. The message is more historic.
METALLIAN: Are you writing about historical wars, like Iron Maiden for example, or do you rely on fantasy?
MAT: It is reality. For example, the first song, WarCall – The Landing, is about Normandy. Cold War Breakout is about someone trying to escape over the Berlin War. That is the type of subject we are speaking about. The Black Death is about great plague. Blood For The Sun is about Mayan sacrifices so half of our songs are about war.
METALLIAN: What does the song Man Bites Dog talk about?
MAT: That is just about the aggressiveness of human nature!
METALLIAN: What about Architecture Of Doom?
MAT: That is a song about dictators and oppression.
METALLIAN: Anyone in particular?
MAT: No, not really. It is about all the aspects of dictators who are on the planet.
METALLIAN: Mat, let’s go into a different direction. Is WarCall a band with ambition looking for ascendancy or growth or is the band more of a fun outlet?
MAT: I would say it is a bit of both. When we started Plan B our first objective was to have fun. That is still the main objective. We like to have fun, have a good time on the road and have a good laugh. At the same time, we like to push ourselves and be one step ahead of the others. We like to push our limits. We have objectives like playing Europe and touring. We are being realistic and taking it one step at a time.
I wrote a lot of the songs and riffs and I listen to progressive and extreme death metal. I wanted those to be heard in our music. It is important to have that heard in the music we make, but still stay metal and have that aggressive and fast style of music. That is the basis for the structure of our songs. I am the drummer but I learnt to play guitar first.
METALLIAN: Is there any time you could imagine the band using keyboards?
MAT: Maybe on records, but not live.
METALLIAN: What about female vocals?
MAT: Hmmm… I don’t see it happening. Not because I don’t like it, but because I don’t think it fits the musical style we want to create.
METALLIAN: What sort of a deal do you have with Panoptic?
MAT: For the moment we recorded our album and Panoptic put it out. We haven’t really talked about the next album. We are trying to book shows and maybe open for bigger bands in the Montreal area. We have a few contacts in Europe because we toured last year with bands like Kalmah, Catamenia and Impaled Nazarene.
METALLIAN: OK, let’s find out which metal band is the worst out there according to you.
MAT: The worst metal band? Wow, that is a good question… surprising question! Let me think…hmmm…. hard to say. Well, in the end every band tries to make good music. It can start some wars. It is a tricky a question. I’d say the band that Gaahl did after Gorgoroth called God Seed. I am quite happy that this band didn’t work out because the idea was really crappy. The case that happened with Gorgoroth was ridiculous a bit. I am happy that this band didn’t work out and broke up after, like, one show. The name sucked and the concept sucked.
METALLIAN: So, if God Seed had called and said ‘come over to Europe and come tour with us’ would you have done it?
MAT: Of course. We have played with crappy bands before and the shows were good so what can you do?
METALLIAN: What would you do should you go into your child’s room and he has been playing Kid Rock all day long?
MAT: I will let him enjoy what he has to enjoy. I am open-minded. I try to be. When I was a kid my parents didn’t really like the fact that I listened to metal. They didn’t try to stop me though. I think it’s important that parents support what their kids listen to. I got into metal when I was around 12 with AC/DC’s Back In Black and Iron Maiden’s Number Of The Beast.
METALLIAN: What happens if you get a call from Ricky Martin and he is inviting you on a date?
MAT: Welllll…. I don’t know about that. I would investigate what the objective is and depending on the answer I would go because he seems like a nice guy (laughs). What can I tell you?
METALLIAN: What is next?
MAT: Our album was released on October tenth and we are pushing for shows. We have played many in the last few weeks. More are coming. The reviews are coming in now and they are quite positive so we want to push the album for a few months. Our next show is December fifth in Granby. We play there with Korpius and another band. We will play in Quebec City in January. We have written quite a few new songs. The new album is half written so hopefully we can record it next summer and release it next year this time. It will be the same style, but with heavier song structures like The Black Death and less like Man Bites Dog that is thrashy. There will be lots of speed, but still melodic.
Local shows depend on the evening and who is playing. On one particular date you can have a big show and on another smaller. I think fans prefer the bigger shows. I worked in metal bars in Montreal as a soundman. One week it was big and another week it was crappy, but the scene is dynamic and many shows happen.
METALLIAN: Mat, why is Metallian the best heavy metal website?
MAT: Because you have interest in WarCall and underground bands and that is what pushes the lesser-known bands. There is not only Metallica and Arch Enemy out there. Smaller metal bands are important and they need the media’s support.
The band’s debut album, Demonarchy, is out now through Disconcert’s Panoptic imprint. The band’s website is at http://www.myspace.com/warcallband.