Album Review – Laugh At The Fakes / Dethrone The Crown (2014)

This promising Canadian band is here to provide us all some good old Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal, crafted in the Great White North.

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Album Cover - Laught At The Fakes - Dethrone The Crown - 2014“O Canada! Our home and native land!”

And also a land with so many awesome indie metal bands I could spend hours and hours talking about each one of them. However, if there’s one new Canadian group that truly deserves a lot of our attention, it’s Hard Rock/Heavy Metal band Laugh At The Fakes. Formed in 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, and after releasing their debut six-song EP One Night Only in 2011, this quartet is about to release their first full-length album, entitled Dethrone The Crown, a very honest and exciting celebration of the only music we love, our good old Rock N’ Roll.

Do not expect to listen to modern North American metal, electronic sound effects, infinite doses of virtuosity or anything like that in any of the songs from Dethrone The Crown. Laugh At The Fakes focus heavily on raw traditional rock music, influenced by the musicality of bands such as Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Alice In Chains, among many other classics, and dealing with contemporary topics like murder, corruption and war.

From the very first riff of the opening track, Not Like Me, you can enjoy their traditional Hard Rock with a huge Heavy Metal influence, something like a mix of Led Zeppelin and Alice In Chains, which is reinforced by the 70’s/80’s Rock N’ Roll vocals by singer/guitarist Everett Mason. It’s a nice song for headbanging, with the final part of it being totally awesome, especially the guitar solo and the accelerated drums. The second track, Death Awaits, is a more metallic tune (probably inspired by the NWOBHM) that gets a lot heavier and progressive halfway through the song, with highlights to its lyrics that couldn’t be more real than that (“The uniform buys you time, a luxury you’d never give / Pulling the trigger, it makes you feel bigger, for taking a life away, from our own”), followed by the superb Cut To The Chase, a soulful Hard Rock tune perfect for hitting the road, with its excellent guitar solo making it even more enjoyable.

Killing Time, the first single of the album (a perfect choice, by the way), is a very professional and pleasant music journey guided by its amazing riffs, with lots of elements from the beginnings of Heavy Metal and 70’s Rock N’ Roll, while Fighting Dirty focuses on more traditional Heavy Metal the likes of old school Deep Purple, with highlights to its nice chorus and all the progressive parts that flow until the end of it. Then we have Got No Regrets, which sounds like the stuff Maiden recorded in Piece Of Mind, especially its rhythmic drums, vocals and lyrics (“I don’t belong here, I got no reason left to stay / I’m getting lost dear, my mind is far far away”), and Harmonica Playing Man, a song that flirts with Pop Rock and maybe due to that it’s a little below the rest of the album in terms of quality.

Laugh At The Fakes - Photo Credit - Naryan Wong 3Finally, closing the album on a high note we have And I, another good Hard Rock song with a huge influence from Rock N’ Roll from the 70’s, with its smooth vocals blended really well with the melodic bass lines, and the title-track, Dethrone The Crown, a more ferocious song with hints of Thrash/Death Metal, which despite being very technical, it doesn’t sound cheesy at all.

If you hadn’t had a chance to see those guys playing live, like I did when they opened for Blaze Bayley at the Metal Showcase on October 17 during Indie Week Canada, you can check their music at their official website or at their Facebook page, and stay tuned for the release of Dethrone The Crown pretty soon on their iTunes profile page, as well as in other online and physical stores. And do not miss their CD release party this November 14 (Friday) at Bovine Sex Club, in Toronto. Just like the Centennial Flame in Ottawa will never die, Laugh At The Fakes are making sure Canadian Rock N’ Roll won’t die either with their honest music crafted in the Great White North.

Best moments of the album: Cut To The Chase, Killing Time and Fighting Dirty.

Worst moments of the album: Harmonica Playing Man.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Not Like Me 6:28
2. Death Awaits 4:52
3. Cut To The Chase 3:37
4. Killing Time 6:14
5. Fighting Dirty 5:38
6. Got No Regrets 4:03
7. Harmonica Playing Man 6:15
8. And I 6:56
9. Dethrone The Crown 5:14

Band members
Everett Mason – guitar, vocals
Kevin Daliri – guitar
Galen Weir – bass
Chris Avalos – drums

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Concert Review – Blaze Bayley (Hard Rock Café, Toronto, ON, 10/17/2014)

The Messiah blessed his loyal fans with pure Heavy Metal at Indie Week Canada 2014 in Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: Laugh At The Fakes, The Blackcloud Syndicate, Spewgore and Phantom

blaze bayley torontoOn a very pleasant not-so-cold night in the heart of Toronto during Indie Week Canada, from October 15 to October 19, Hard Rock Café was invaded on October 17 by around 150 metalheads to support four amazing local bands, with the icing on the cake being an electrifying performance by the “Messiah” Blaze Bayley, as part of the festival’s Metal Showcase.

I can’t say I was expecting more or less people than that, probably a little more due to the presence of such a great musician as Blaze, but one thing that I loved about the festival was the sense of family among all bands and fans at the venue, including Blaze himself who spent a lot of time talking to fans, taking pictures and signing stuff, as well as being able to put some faces to names like Jon Asher, from Asher Media Relations. You will read more about this great guy from Montreal, his business and the bands he works with here at The Headbanging Moose for sure.

IMG_2993The first attraction to hit the stage was Rock/Metal band LAUGH AT THE FAKES, from Toronto, Ontario. Those guys play a nice mix of Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, very old school but with a more polished sounding, and they surely entertained everyone already at Hard Rock Café before 9pm. Although it was impossible to get or memorize the setlists of any of the opening bands, I know Laugh At The Fakes played a pretty cool song called Killing Time, from their debut album Dethrone the Crown, which will  be released pretty soon and, of course, reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose.

Band members
Everett Mason – guitar, vocals
Kevin Daliri – guitar
Galen Weir – bass
Chris Avalos – drums

IMG_2997After some Rock N’ Roll and a short beer break, it was time for Thrash Metal/Hardcore band THE BLACKCLOUD SYNDICATE, also from Toronto, Ontario, to speed things up with their visceral music, with highlights to the wicked performance by lead singer Miko Zolefrapanidis. The guy was on fire, probably inspired by Blaze’s usual performance. In regards to the songs, I truly enjoyed a song named Protest the Riot and their cover version for Billy Idol’s classic Rebel Yell, both from their 2013 release called Rage in Common.

Band members
Miko Zolefrapanidis – vocals
Giuseppe D’Angelo – guitar
Graham Scott Anthony – guitar
Shawn Davidson – bass
Glenn Novak – drums

IMG_3003And there was more violence to come with the third indie band of the night, Thrash Metal/Hardcore veterans SPEWGORE, from Brampton, Ontario. Led by vocalist Bill Brown, the band took the proverbial phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” seriously, as they were able to deliver an almost full setlist in a very limited amount of time. If you enjoy fast, short and brutal hardcore songs, go after the music by this Canadian band. They truly delivered a nonstop energetic concert at the festival.

Band members
Bill Brown – vocals
Steve Macpherson – guitars
Ken Gibson – bass
Mark Macpherson – drums

IMG_3004The last attraction before the Messiah was Heavy Metal band PHANTOM, from Toronto, Ontario, and let me tell you those guys make the expression “New Wave Of Canadian Heavy Metal” more real than ever! What an amazing band, with powerful songs such as their new single Blood & Iron being the perfect warm-up for Blaze Bayley. Kudos to D.D. Murley, Necro Hippie and J.J. Blade for keeping the fire of Heavy Metal burning, and for reminding us why the 80’s were the best decade in the history of music by far.

Band members
D.D. Murley – lead vocals and guitar
Necro Hippie – bass guitar
J.J. Blade – drums and backing vocals

BLAZE BAYLEY

IMG_3015Coincidence or not, when the clock hit two minutes to midnight, BLAZE BAYLEY began his flaming performance at Hard Rock Café, accompanied by the extremely competent Iron Maiden tribute band MAIDEN QUÉBEC, from Montreal, Quebec, who were by the way supporting Blaze in all of his Canadian dates.

Celebrating 20 years of the controversial, obscure and awesome album The X Factor, Blaze and Maiden Québec presented a very interesting mix of his first solo albums (when his band was called only BLAZE) and Iron Maiden songs. And it wasn’t a perfect mix, just an interesting one, because unfortunately there were absolutely no songs from his best solo albums, the masterpieces The Man Who Would Not Die and Promise and Terror, which I can understand based on the fact Blaze is a 100% solo artist now, relying on local bands to build his setlist wherever he goes. I know it might be hard for any band to learn too many “new” songs in a short period of time, and so adding songs Maiden Québec are used to play like Running Free, Whathchild and Wasted Years was the most viable solution for all musicians involved.

IMG_3024Anyway, despite those minor limitations, it was indeed a great performance by “the man who will not die”, with highlights to songs such as The Brave, Silicon Messiah and Kill and Destroy, together with his Maiden-years songs When Two Words Collide (which I saw live only once, during the Virtual XI World Tour in 1998), Lord of the Flies, the all-time classics Futureal and Man on the Edge, and the more-than-perfect The Clansman. How can a normal person not get all fired up with this epic song, especially after Blaze’s inspiring words about living our lives, about feeling the sense of true freedom? This song always makes me want to be Scottish, I just love it!

IMG_2998

The Messiah is among us!

But the most important detail of the whole concert was, of course, Blaze Bayley himself. There’s an expression in Brazilian Portuguese that summarizes the state of a person when he is fearless, brave, lionhearted, and 100% ready for war: we say that person has “sangue nos olhos”, or blood in his eyes in English (not in a surgical way, of course), and that’s exactly how I see Blaze Bayley every single time he’s on stage. He gives it all, no matter if he’s playing for 50 or 50,000 people, and he literally demands each and every motherfucker from the crowd to join him in an incredible metal music havoc. You cannot hide from Blaze, he will see you standing still and kindly ask you “Hey, you, motherfucker! Come on!”, it doesn’t matter if you worked for over eight hours, if you’re fuckin’ exhausted nor if it’s already 1:30am. And that’s how true independent Heavy Metal is done.

Setlist
1. Lord of the Flies
2. When Two Worlds Collide
3. The Brave
4. Ghost in the Machine
5. Silicon Messiah
6. Ten Seconds
7. The Clansman
8. Futureal
9. The Launch
10. Soundtrack of My Life
11. Kill and Destroy
12. Man on the Edge
13. Running Free
14. Wrathchild
15. Iron Maiden
16. Wasted Years

Band members
Blaze Bayley – vocals

Maiden Québec (Canadian tour support band)
Pat Lalonde – vocals
Steven Bergeron – lead guitars
Leandro Alves – lead guitars
Math Gagnon – bass
Jef Rastoldo – drums