Monday, July 9, 2012

Oh, Canada: Barn Burner bring their blazing trad metal to the Webster

Metal has arguably become a little too pretentious and precious for its own good. Worse, it's being sub-genred to death. It seems like today everyone has their own post-blackened-funeral-ambient-drone project or something very close to it. Besides being outright dull, a lot of these more artsy projects are over intellectualizing a form of music that should appeal to your lizard brain. There seems to be an overabundance of smarts these days, when really there should be more hearts, guts and yes, even hips added to the mix.

Thinking does have its part in metal, but sometimes, you just want to throw back a beer, make the horns and bang your head. Luckily for people like me, there are bands like Montreal's Barn Burner around to remind people that going to shows can be fun too.

On their second record for Metal Blade, "Bangers II: Scum Of The Earth", released last year, which follows the appropriately titled "Bangers" in 2010, these Canadian heshers connect the dots between early metal bands such as Black Sabbath and Thin Lizzy and modern acts such as Saviours and Superchrist. Their high octane blend of riffs and blazing solos would get the most jaded metal head banging their head and grinning from ear to ear.

In fact, it was the band's intention to make their most recent record even more "metal" sounding. The first one had a very distinct 70's vibe to it.

"On this record, we were leaning toward the fiercer, heavier stuff, more than the first record. We were going for a harsher, more classic sound," said lead singer/guitarist Kevin Keegan. In addition, the band also features guitarist Cameron Noakes, bassist Nick Ball and drummer Taylor Freund.

In a way, the band is a reaction to a lot of trends going on in metal today, whether it's the ones that are watering down the music or the more esoteric sounds of sometimes snobby underground music. They just want to make music that flat out rocks, and at times it seems like there aren't too many like minded souls out there, not just in the audience but amongst their fellow musicians too.

But there is a small, but growing scene of bands giving their modern take on traditional sounds. Keegan is thrilled about this development.

"It's small enough there is a pretty good scene. It's not as big and ubiquitous as the contemporary metalcore scene. There are a bunch of bands taking it back to the roots, and I see a lot more sincerity in what they are doing. I always get excited when I see these types of bands," said Keegan.

When the band hits the stage at the Webster Underground this Sunday as direct support for Skeletonwitch, you can expect a high energy show, but you can also expect that the band will knock back a few before they hit the stage. During the course of our conversation, the topic turned to drinking and why it seems, well, at least to Keegan, that Canadian bands are able to hold their drink more than American bands. I would expect a challenge from the hard charging dudes in Skeletonwitch on this mater. Of course, it would be a friendly contest. American metal dude status would be in jeopardy. But Keegan thinks they have an advantage and makes a "bold" statement.

"We could probably drink them under the table. Canadian beer is way more potent than American beer, so we're used to it. Usually most Canadian bands could out drink their American counterparts," Keegan said.

Even though Keegan admits that when he's off the road, he likes to drink craft beers. His favorite right now is Coney Island, an American brew, that he says he can find in specialty shops in his home city. He also cites Sam Adams as another brew he enjoys, for the fact that it's harder to get in the Great White North. While on the road, the band will enjoy whatever adult beverages they can get their hands on. With all this drinking, you know their has to be consequences in the form of massive hangovers. But before you think they'll let that deter them, you are dead wrong.

The band has a special way with dealing with this "occupational hazard".

"There are no surefire cures for a hangover except to drink way more water than you normally would. I'll wake up and drink two liters of water after a wild night. Right now, the big thing for us is bananas. We're convinced that whatever is in the banana is good for a hangover. It could just be a placebo, but we're always saying how we have to get the "hangover banana"," Keegan said.

So, if you go to the show be sure to bring some fruit with you, because judging from the way these guys throw down, they might need it. Regardless, get there with enough time to catch their set and witness another great band from the Great White North, that knows how to pay homage to the greats, while putting their own stamp on a classic sound. You might have a new favorite band.

Sunday July 15

Barn Burner
Oath Of Insanity
In Damnum

The Webster Underground
31 Webster Street
Hartford, CT 06114

6:00pm - $12 adv/$15 day - All Ages

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