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To The Mountains
Struggle Of The Ages
December 2017
Released: 2017, Indie
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

Canadian Carnage! Because I am a true patriot, once or twice a year I like to do a quick spotlight and some short reviews on newer, independent, underground Canadian Metal bands. That time is now! Thanks to all of the bands who sent me material for my spotlight. In the spirit of the PMRC, I have chosen a ‘Filthy Fifteen’ (+1!) as some (but not all!) of the bright lights, innovators and leaders of Canadian Metal. Most of them are independent bands releasing their debut album or EP in 2017. Check these bands out, they are the future of Metal! They are (listed alphabetically)…



Abomb (Calgary)

Decatur (Toronto)

Emblem (St. John’s)

Evereal (Mission)

Hammerdrone (Calgary)

Heaven’s Fire (Toronto)

Hounskull (Mississauga)

Ice War (Ottawa)

Maglor (Calgary)

Monarch Woods (London)

Operus (Toronto)

Osyron (Calgary)

Solarus (London)

The Lightbringer (Quebec City)

To The Mountains (Lethbridge)

Votov (Winnipeg)





Lethbridge is a small-ish farming city (pop: 92,000) in Alberta. The city has a small but well-regarded Death Metal scene and again a small but long-running Death Metal festival called Lethbridge Deathfest. In fact, the association is so strong that some of us in the Metal scene refer to the city as ‘Dethbridge’! So it seems really strange that a band like To The Mountains, who play a cool style of Scandinavian Folk Metal, would appear from seemingly out of nowhere! They are definitely out of place but that makes them stand out even more.



STRUGGLE OF THE AGES is the first album for this five-piece. All the traditional folk-inspired elements are present; we hear acoustic piano, big gang vocals, orchestral parts, cello, sound-effects (clashing swords naturally!) and the whole albums open with majestic and epic narration too!



The vocals are mixed a little far back but are also cleanly delivered. At some points there spoken word segments and I swear it is Jack Black delivering the lines, especially on the opening track, ‘Victory In Blood’. This is a good thing as it adds a dynamic sense of fun and reminds me a bit of another over-the-top band in Western Canada, The Outlaws Of Ravenhurst. The whole album has a sense of playfulness…but does not fall directly into a joke or parody category, there is actually quite a bit of powerful, straight-up Heavy Metal maybe reminiscent of yet another Western Canadian band, Scythia. Could this be the germination of a scene of this style?



Whatever it is, it’s fun and STRUGGLE OF THE AGES is really well done. It’s mid-tempo, catchy songs are hooky but also adventurous in writing as most of them hit the six minute mark. The songs ‘Wenches And Mead’ is not an Alestorm cover and looking at the lyrics, not all the songs are folk or medieval. Cuts like ‘Doom In The Sky’ touch on modern warfare, and ‘Space Invaders’ well you can guess what it is about…yep…an alien invasion.



STRUGGLES OF THE AGES is one of the more unique and varied projects in this feature and I’m suitably impressed!
Track Listing

1. Praecursio
2. Victory in Blood
3. Quest for Fire
4. Wenches and Mead
5. Descent into Madness
6. Til We Meet Again
7. Doom in the Skies
8. Space Invaders
9. Strike Em Down
10. Collectio

Lineup

Giph Snelgrove Vocals
D.J. Hunter Guitar
Johnny Chase Guitar
Ryco Radley Keyboards
Duane Keiver Bass
Matt Hann Drums

Contact

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