Sound Seekers

SOUND SEEKERS: Mash and thrash with Loviatar

Loviatar members Justin Gobeil, Mike Bond, and J-P Sadek. Photo by Alex Cairncross.

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani

The Ottawa four-piece Loviatar makes tales of epic doom somehow anthem worthy.

The band — Mike Bond, Justin Gobeil, J-P Sadek, and Shane Whitbread — may have all the rock kids in town shouting “myth-ol-ogy” to the tune of Lobotomy when they play this weekend.

I’m fist pumping along too: Mytho-o-lo-gy, myth-ol-o-geeeee!

It wasn’t what one trained on whiny indie rock might expect — to feel such affinity for a genre where one has no familiarity.

It might be easy to diss doom metal as the preserve of D&D playing, trench-coat-wearing anti-socials. However, that line of thinking overlooks the technicality, precision, and imagination required to conjure up such sagas in song.

And Loviatar does that in scorched-earth tunes such as Eternal Famine and Sons of War, themes inspired by the comic book series Y: The Last Man.

Converted or not, one must point out that Loviatar doesn’t quite strip away the geekery of the genre. True, there are some of the hallmarks — glottal delivery, showy solos — and I think there was some shit about wizards and castles in there too.

Still, you can’t ignore what Loviatar is doing musically to meld disparate genres into a mash of thrash, metal, and brain-searing rock. The pretty guitar scrawl, the reverberation that allows you to feel the music in your head and in your gut, and a vocalist who conveys power and pathos in equal measure, all adds up for that hell-yeah effect.

“We have a rule in Loviatar,” drummer Sadek, ex of TokyoSexWhale, says, “We never say no. You always have to try something. Even if you’re not good enough to play it, you’re going to get good enough. There’s a lot of learning in that band.”

There is plenty of gear too. Walls of cabinets and piles of pedals exist to create a sound whose grandiosity is matched only by the wild imagery of the lyrics.

“Vocals are a big element of the song” Sadek says. “Justin [Gobeil] and I spend upwards of eight hours just writing the vocal parts for one song. You wouldn’t think it because there’s not a lot of lyrics in there — some are just whoa-ohs. And those whoa-ohs mean something. It’s not not w-o-a-h, it’s w-o-e. When you actually read the lyrics, that’s what it says,” Sadek laughs. “It’s called Eternal Famine ferchrissakes. It’s not a happy tune.”

With The Uncooperatives and Monobrow. Saturday, Oct. 8. 9 p.m. $10. Dominion Tavern, 33 York St.

Toronto’s Ohbijou have feted city living in most of the songs on their previous two albums. Their new release takes off (eh), celebrating more pastoral areas. The album, called Metal Meets, was inspired by travels to the woods and across Europe and North America, where the band toured. The album expands on what everyone loves about the band: it’s full of all that reverby rock you’ve come to love. Along with the pensive lyrics, Ohbijou is a band that appeals, artfully so, to the sappy in some of us.
Thursday, Oct. 6. $12. Ritual Nightclub,137 Besserer St.

The Peptides put tales of drudgery to disco in their recent release, For Those Who Hate Human Interaction. They play the Elmdale Tavern Saturday, Oct. 8 at 9:30 p.m. For those who hate family interaction, log on to the Citizen’s Big Beat to see the concert. It’s being streamed over the Thanksgiving weekend.