The age of the internet doesn’t always serve the interests of people who play in metal/hardcore bands and want to be loved. Or want to rent a nice place to live in, even.
Mike Crossley of Toronto’s Vilipend discovered this the hard way recently, after striking a verbal agreement with a landlady about an apartment that he and his wife were keen on.
“She Googled me and emailed me saying she wouldn't rent to us because she wasn't comfortable with the ‘energy the music manifests,’” Crossley explains. “We thought it was crazy and kind of funny so we posted it on the band Facebook page.”
The outpouring of support for Crossley and Vilipend over social networks and from the media has been a warm embrace for a band that has had it tough in recent years. Their powerful debut album, Inamorata, is being celebrated at a release show with Jucifer at the Garrsion on Aug. 16. The record’s opening moments on “To Impede the Healing Process” are a terrifyingly sinister onslaught of hellish screaming, violent guitar slashes, and thunderous drumming.
Listen to "To Impede the Healing Process."
“We label it ‘northern hostility,’ because we’re Canadian and from the north and it’s abrasive and aggressive,” vocalist Chris Gramlich says of Vilipend’s sound. “It’s also beautiful though. There are elements of serenity and sadness.”
Indeed, the album’s title is derived from an Italian word meaning "a woman who is desired" and, after scanning the lyric sheet to make out the emotive wails emanating from the bottomless well of rage and anguish that is Christopher Gramlich, it’s clear that Inamorata is full of twisted love songs.
“The period of time when these songs were written was very bad for me,” Gramlich admits. “There was a failed relationship, an addiction to various painkillers and antidepressants and it was just a bad time in a young Gramlich’s life. And the band had to deal with it.
“The music we make is dark, so I’m not gonna be like, ‘Puppies and unicorns/and rainbows,’” he says, singing a jaunty tune. “There’s a theme of love lost or things you love hurting you. I mean, I love painkillers; they’re awesome.”
The drugs in question were necessary after Gramlich suffered a horrible accident when Vilipend was opening for the Dillinger Escape Plan in Toronto, after a summer tour in 2009.
“He took a dive off the stage, a monitor slipped and he was on his back,” Crossley recalls. “No one really knew he was injured so he got piled on and other injuries occurred.”
“I broke my wrist, my finger, fractured my L1 vertebrate,” Gramlich clarifies.
“[Guitarist] Derek [Del Vecchio] went to the hospital with him and we stuck around and loaded gear and wondered what the hell was going on,” Crossley explains. “It was scary, not only to have a bandmate outta commission but also to have a friend seriously injured and in the hospital. This was during our first upward trajectory as a band. We’d put a lot of work into it and had this show after a tour with great bands. So it took away our momentum but now we’re back and stronger.”
After facing numerous tests of their characters, Vilipend's members are not resting on their laurels, even if they now have comfortable apartments where they could rest on such things.
“We’re hitting the road on Saturday for eight dates in the States with Meek is Murder,” Crossley says. “Once we get back, we’re spending September working on new material. We want to start creating again and assemble the ideas we’ve come up with over the last few months.”
“World domination,” Gramlich states, when asked what he’d like to see Vilipend accomplish with Inamorata. “We’re in it to win it. I don’t show up and say, ‘I wanna put on a good show tonight.’ I want [people to say] ‘They put on the best show tonight.’ So, I’m coming for you. Any bands playing with us, I’m coming for that belt.”
See Vilipend play with Jucifer in Toronto at the Garrison on Thursday, Aug. 16.
Listen to "Last Stand of the Hopeless Romantic."
Music Notes: MTV VMAs, Deadmau5, Amon Tobin, more!
Vilipend "Plague Bearer" - Track of the Day for November 2, 2010
on Aug 15, 2012