Metal is one of the most diverse musical genres, from the mechanical sounds of industrial, to the wailing of classic heavy metal, it’s popular perception is a poor generalization of the nuances of its sound and musicians. A metal show then, is a similarly vaguely defined event, that can showcase the height of theatrics, religious, sacrilegious, political, apolitical, the list goes on.
This past Saturday, four bands that all fit under the umbrella of metal commanded the crowd at Detour Music Hall for two sets. The Offering, Ocular Trauma, and Past the Verge, with Death Perception being the only band out of Hamilton on the bill.
The bands all lie somewhere in the black, death, and/or thrash subgenres of metal but use all of their collective differing influences to bring something new to the metal community. The show also marked the release of Ocular Trauma’s new five-track EP, With Death We Commence.
Ocular Trauma features Tim Anger on vocals, Chris Popoli on guitar, Jay Dawson on bass and Jacob Gigliotti, a Brock student, on drums,
“I did a tonne of albums before under the name, Anger because it’s just my last name. I thought of the name Ocular Trauma, and I was going to call an album that at first but then I’m like ‘nah, we’ll just make a new thing’ because I had a whole new sound going for it and I wanted to do it with actual musicians because I would just track drums before, program it. So I got Jacob and Chris to do it we decided to just keep going with it, and now we’re here” explains Anger.
Regarding the underlying themes and meanings behind his violent lyrics, Anger takes the Ronnie James Dio approach and would rather leave them up to interpretation. They paint very vivid nightmarish images discussing sleep paralysis and mental health disorders.
“The album’s structured, there’s five songs, and they’re each modelled after the five stages of grief. Denial, anger, sadness, bargaining, and acceptance but for the most part, I like to keep stuff to the imagination … I like to keep things pretty vague just to make people think about it” explains Anger.
The quasi-concept album is an idea that Ocular Trauma is planning to explore further in the future, with even more ambitious projects.
“I want to make, and I started doing this with the EP, is following a story that will follow through three albums, so we have to make three albums, and put a lot of money into them, and we’re writing a whole story that will follow through, almost like a trilogy. In Lord of the Rings the one we just released is like the Hobbit, it has something to do with it but doesn’t really. And then the big ones will be these three albums” Anger says.
Regarding the instrumentals, although Anger would describe them as mostly “traditional metal”, they have a tremendously unique sound due in part to Gigliotti being heavily influenced by prog rock, and Popoli’s focus on “angular” metal riffs. The pair has to step outside of the box to find music that combines the best of both their styles.
The members of the band have all worked on different projects before through their musical and artist histories. Anger and Popoli have collaborated on all Canadian metal radio show at Brock’s CFBU 103.7 FM, and do comics and film out of Sweaty Deuce Productions. Anger and Dawson are also the vocalist and guitarist Earthborn Deformity.