Blazing in the Northern Sky: Vancouver Metal Compilation Unleashed (Interview & Photo Gallery w/ Gross Misconduct, Without Mercy, Mournir, Assimilation & Medevil)

Vancouver Metal Compilation (cover art)

Vancouver Metal Compilation (cover art)

When it is so easy to find music by more prominent acts, why should anyone support the creative economy of lesser-known artists? The obvious answer is that “great” bands don’t just appear overnight; they devote years of effort to develop their talent, learn their craft, and produce singular new works. But the sad fact is that the majority of modern music listeners are consumers first – they are satisfied by a modest selection of recordings from bigger bands whose albums regularly pop up in music media and are upheld as “the best” and, by consumer reasoning, therefore the only ones worth buying.

To the average metal fan, many of the local bands in one’s own community remain unfamiliar until one or two appear on support slots for larger touring bands – yet, even then, why give a dollar to some unknown band from two towns over when it is so much easier to trust the established and familiar headliner?

As a relative newcomer to British Columbia’s premier city, two and a half years on, this reviewer and dark music fan is still discovering all that Vancouver has to offer. While the city boasts a legacy of seminal underground acts (e.g. Skinny Puppy, D.O.A., Front Line Assembly), its current crop of metal bands are hard at work, week after week, writing and rehearsing songs and honing their performance skills onstage at smaller venues. As with all independent artists, they create because they must, and they survive because they refuse to give up whether or not they ever become household names.

Rather than idly waiting to be discovered, last August three members of the local metal community decided to bring Vancouver metal to the world. Darin Wall, Joey Hockin, and Samantha Landa released a call for submissions that resulted in a whopping 18 local bands contributing to the compilation album released this past Friday (see below for our video interview with Hockin and Landa, conducted at the CD release party held at Rickshaw Theatre, and further down check out our photo gallery of the performances at the CD release party.)

Art is a living process, not a mere product. Rather than passively consuming “content”, music fans ought to embrace their role as patrons of the arts and actively support today’s creators. Not all local bands will go on to become tomorrow’s household names, but without their continued effort in the present, the inspiration to create withers and dies. The Vancouver Metal Compilation is a free CD and digital album, but you can show your support by donating via Bandcamp here.