Exciting Lancashire band Cannula offer up a new sound that they hope listeners won’t be used to hearing from British metalcore. Elements of hardcore and deathcore are fused as huge riffs and breakdowns support intense vocals and intriguing lyrics in a heavy, emotive sound they summarise as “new-wave metalcore.”
The quartet initially started out as a side project of guitarist Matt Unsworth, who plays bass in hardcore/grime band Gassed Up. Matt lives with vocalist Shaun Hunkin, who plays drums and does backing vocals in Gassed Up but wanted to delve into more lyric writing and lead vocals. The pair began writing, created a concept and theme that inspired a full EP being written within six months, then went on the look for new members to complete the band. They initially brought in Toby Hacking, who plays drums in Liverpool band Decay, as a drummer, but he moved to bass when Tom Hansell, the drummer for Leeched, came in on drums.
On the sound that Cannula have honed, Shaun tells us: “We would describe ourselves as having a new-wave metalcore sound, bringing back breakdowns that you’re used to from early 2000s, whilst combining our favourite elements of hardcore and bringing in certain deathcore elements, particularly through the style of riffs and vocals we incorporate.
“This is hopefully a new sound that you’re not used to from British metalcore. We incorporate thought provoking lyrics intended to make the listener analyse their own psychological wellbeing and question their own beliefs of their psyche.”
Our first taste of this was debut single Fragmentation of a Soothed Soul, which opens with a building riff that continues under stabbing guitars and screamed vocals “Archetypal madness, What I see is not what I always knew, Your psychic counterpart of instinct can no longer be called truth.” A fun diving riff kicks in alongside heavy drums as the vocals intensify then droips into big doomy low-tuned guitars and drums over cries of “disconnect my soul.”
The pace picks up again with a darting riff and poiunding drums leading into a more melodic chorus that combines various vocal styles, including spoken words, in the lyrics “And it’s over without words or meaning, Desperately believing (your only son has gone), Bring forward my parting day, Forget all I have to say, Fragmentation of all my bones, This isn’t the life I chose.” That continues into heavy screamed vocals that bring the track to a close.
On the track, Shaun said: “It’s the biggest relief and weight off our shoulders. This song was the second we had written for the EP over a year ago so we’ve been sat on it for a long time, which every musician will attest to being extremely difficult. The reception has been extremely warming and it means a lot that so many people have taken their time to check out the song. It’s hard when you set up a new band because you don’t have the established fanbase set up to release the song, and as all of us are already in established bands, we’ve not been used to ‘starting again.’ The risk has paid off though and everything is going well!
“For anyone who hasn’t yet checked out the single, Fragmentation of a Soothed Soul encapsulates everything that Cannula is: powerful metalcore with emotive lyrics. This single showcases everything we have to offer as a band instrumentally. The single will also entice any fans who have an interest into psychology and the function of the human psyche, as the song intertwines my own experiences of mental health and trauma with psychological research, to create an understanding of why people act the way they act. The ideas of cognitive dissonance are prominent in my lyrics and they portray how my own experiences have shaped my behaviour.” Check it out in the video here:
That’s been recently followed by second single Soliloquy of What Will Be, which features Andrew Wilson of Revulsion and was released last month. The track opens up with building guitar that launches straight into intense screamed vocals “What will be, will be, And when the coroner slices my body from head to feet, What I’ll never see, The look on my mother’s face when I cease to breathe” over heavy drums. A darting riff kicks in under heavy screams that continue into even more intense verse that begins “He should’ve died thereafter, Choking on the taste of blood.”
Heavy, guttural screams of “Let the pulse slip away from my wrist and let me go” drop into a chugging riff and crashing cymbals, then rolling drums develop into big screams, more rolling drums and a high-pitched repeating guitar lick. Intense screams “His mother said, ‘I was sure he would die,’ Pull the hook from his throat and let him die alone, When he’s in his grave, Your house will no longer be a home” come in over chugging guitar chords and powerful drums, before big doomy guitars and drums support huge screamed vocals that bring the track to a heavy ending.
On the track, Shaun tells us: “The single takes inspiration from my near-death experience as an 18-month-old having a 12-inch hook lodged in my throat. The music video, again filmed by Gaz Davies, shows a story of two parallel versions of my life, one in which the accident happens, and I reminisce, and the other in which I did not survive and mourns as to what could have been. This track is probably the heaviest on the EP!” Check the track out in the video below:
Both these tracks come from Cannula’s upcoming debut EP, on which Shaun says: “Without giving too much away, we have a few singles to drip-feed before we release the EP. There isn’t long to wait at all before the full thing is out so just keep your eyes out for a few new singles.
“In terms of what to expect, six full tracks that smack you in the face from the get-go. Each track is its own entity in its own right, offering something different from the last song. We have a fast song, a slow song, singing, screaming, blast beats, everything you can imagine. Whatever avenue of metal you like, something will please you from this release (as cliché as it sounds).”
The band’s members bring a range of influences and musical inspirations to the table. Starting with Shaun: “For me, it all started with The Rev from Avenged Sevenfold, as I was a drummer before a vocalist, but it was his ability to sing and drum which was first attracted me to vocals as well. This was further accentuated by Pablo Viveros from Chelsea Grin and Jami Morgan from Code Orange. Vocals wise, I take a lot of inspiration from Winston from Parkway Drive, Phil Bozeman from Whitechapel, CJ from Thy Art Is Murder, all the usual suspects. On a side note, creatively for me bands like The 1975, Loathe, Bring Me The Horizon, Pale Waves and Static Dress are at the forefront of music right now. Creating a brand that is bigger than any member is what attracts me to those sorts of bands.”
To which, Matt adds: “My first guitar was an SG copy, so it’s obvious that my first influence was Angus Young of ACDC! His playing is something that’s definitely stuck with me through the years. As I got older and more into heavier music, Adam D from Killswitch Engage and Jason Richardson, who’s been in the likes of All Shall Perish, Chelsea Grin and Born of Osiris, definitely help shape my style of playing. As well as them, I always go back to Parkway Drive and older Bullet For My Valentine, so that’s why Shaun and I clicked when writing the EP as all our influences aligned.”
While Tom tells us: “My two main drumming influences are Chris Adler from Lamb of God and Matt Greiner from August Burns Red, mainly because they both know perfectly how to write drums for the composition they’re playing on. Any gaps in the music are always filled with precision and groove and I try and emulate that as much in my playing as I can.”
And Toby says: “Deftones all day, every day. The raw energy in the early points of their career was pretty infectious to me. In terms of live performances as well, Meshuggah just sound insanely good and you can’t not take inspiration from that. Finally for me, playing this music, I take a lot of inspiration from Renounced, primarily for the emotive guitar work they have.”
The intense vocals Cannula offer up are inspired by themes of mental health, abandonment and parental failures, as well as a particular focus on psychiatrist Carl Jung’s focus on analytical research.
As Shaun explains: “Jung’s ideas of archetypal phenomena and the collective unconscious are found at numerous parts within the EP. As well as this, medical themes become a common occurrence in our visuals, music and branding. This is where our band name ‘Cannula’ originally came from, and we often, as a joke, describe ourselves as ‘medi-core.’ Ultimately, it’s self-expression and our own experiences that influence us to write music, and allowing yourself to have that connection with people at live shows. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to perform as a band yet and see how our music connects with people, this is something we cannot wait to witness.”
Expect plenty more from Cannula very soon as they’ll be releasing more music ahead of the release of their debut EP, with more music already in the works. You’ll also be able to see them play live as and when things open up again, with one show already booked in and touring commitments made to other bands.