In the west end of Toronto, a congealed mess of discordant sound, disparate musical influences and disturbed ramblings is lurking, waiting for its opportunity to corrupt innocent minds. This thrashing punk-laced cut of the rarest hardcore is more commonly known as The Slime.
The Canadian quartet has existed in one form or another since around 2013 but only nailed down its intense hardcore punk meets thrash sound around 18 months ago. It first began when drummer Derek’s wife put an advert on a grindcore website and guitarist Robert was the first to respond. The pair set out to play grindcore with backgrounds in noise rock and death metal and did so for a while, in the process playing with hundreds of band members they met online.
They’d already begun to evolve towards more of a hardcore sound, but settled on being a punk and thrash band when vocalist Andy MC and bassist and backing vocalist CD completed the current lineup just after Halloween 2019. They now have a permanent space to play and practice in Derek’s basement aka “the Punkubator.”
On the sound The Slime have honed since, Derek tells us: “At the moment – first wave old school hardcore meets street punk meets thrash. 80s party meets 2021 nihilism.”
Said Punkubator is where they cooked up recent EP Coming Soon To An Alley You, which followed their debut album Bitter Dream. The EP offers a more polished version of The Slime sound and is packed with short and not-so-sweet tracks of pure adrenaline-filled fast-paced hardcore punk. Only two songs come in at longer than 90 seconds and none are longer than two minutes, which begins with the title track:
That’s followed by Flesh and Blood, which the band members’ widely concur is their favourite track from the EP and Derek says has the most “anarcho-crust, d beat sound to it.” A naughty little bassline opens up before stabs of guitar burst into a breakneck blast of guitars and drums under Andy’s intense fast-paced vocals. The track comes in at less than a minute long but ends on heavy guitars and drums under a wild scream. Check it out here:
A personal favourite is the edgy Look and See, which opens with bursts of heavy guitar, drums and vocals answered by little guitar flurries. Cool vocals “Look and see, You see, You see what I see” give way to heavy guitars, then a twisting guitar riff is answered by heavy vocals before another short, sharp chorus.
Circling features a really cool stabbing guitar riff and intense vocals as it builds in pace and heaviness throughout. And there’s more of the same in The Day The Earth Stood Still, which offers a nod to one of the band’s favourite films. It starts with stabbing guitars and pounding drums then big thrashy drums and cymbals and guitars that you can’t help but bounce along to. But they suddenly mix things up with slower guitars and drums and a piercing supporting Andy’s intense vocals, before ending on a familiar smash of heavy guitars, drums and vocals.
On the EP, Derek says: “The day we recorded the tracks for Coming Soon to an Alley Near You was hotter than hell; 35 degrees. There were still lots of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and we had to wait outside the studio between takes roasting our balls off. We had been taking advantage of the window when lockdown conditions were loosened over the summer to frantically practice our asses off and get ready to record and we had to get it done live off the floor that day. Everyone was miserable, even though our producers at Schoolhouse are consummate pros and amazing to work with.
“But the reception of the EP was beyond anything we could have expected, especially because we couldn’t play any live shows to back it up. Before lockdown playing live was the only way we developed our following and we didn’t really expect much from the second EP because of all the venues being closed. So we were blown away by the response that people had to the EP, even just from hearing it online. We have heard from fans in Indonesia, Turkey, Columbia, Poland, Brazil… we’ve connected with bands from all over the world, and have had some really positive feedback from bloggers and reviewers that we respect in and outside of Canada. We guess this is the power of the Internet. That’s not to say everyone loves the EP but still pretty amazing.
“What you should expect from Coming Soon is old school hardcore with an emphasis on crossover thrash, speed, an in-your-face adrenalin rush… We also like to dabble in some stranger genres such as surf, street punk and noise rock.”
The Slime sound is largely influenced by hardcore acts like Jerry’s Kids, Poison Idea and Negative Approach with an 80s crossover with the likes of Annihilator, Sodom, Municipal Waste and D.R.I. But they all listen to a wide range of diverse music, from Morbid Angel, Terrorizer and Doom to ska, reggae, garage and rockabilly, while Rob wouldn’t be a guitarist without Kirk Hammett and his Randy Rose Flying V. Then there’s bands from their homeland like SNFU, Armed and Hammered, bunchoffuckinggoofs and Trigger Happy.
And on what inspires them to write music, Derek tells us: “Everyone probably says this, but we are really inspired by the musical chemistry between the four of us. For Rob, working up a hook or a groove on his own and bringing it to the group and seeing where it goes when I come in with a beat or where Andy takes it lyrically or what CD can add with a baseline is the magic that makes this fun. Words aren’t needed, and suddenly something average has legs… that’s what this is all about.
“Andy MC’s lyrical themes range from horror to philosophy to his life growing up. But we always want to transmit that life doesn’t have to be taken too seriously and to remind people not to forget to party.”
The ongoing pandemic has been tough for people and bands everywhere, but it’s apparently still going strong in Canada. As Derek explains: “The lockdown is still in full swing here. Whenever they relax the conditions we try to play together as much as we can but it’s been a few months now since that’s been allowed. In terms of writing and creating, we have had to work solo and send tracks around via WhatsApp. Somehow we are still writing new songs all the time so it hasn’t killed us.
“One of the things lockdown has done is forced us to get onto social media and the Internet in a way we never did before, when we mainly focused on gigging anywhere and everywhere. It’s led us to create more of a visual identity and aesthetic for the band. Also – we aim to entertain our social media followers with funny or wacky shit as best we can. It’s been a whole new side of performance for us and it’s created a kind of community.
“One thing we have been doing is creating a series of playlists on Spotify called Songs in the Key of Slime that capture our genre-fluid influences and hopefully gives people something cool and curated to listen to week to week.”
It’s been a while since we featured any Canadian bands (only one since October!), so we asked Derek for his thoughts on their local scene. He said: “Toronto is one of those expensive cities to live where jam and performance space is at a huge premium. It makes it a challenge for live musicians in every genre but especially in punk/DIY because that scene is so venue dependent. However, there have always been great heavy bands from Ontario and across Canada that make a solidified scene.
“Killer bands such as Gag Order, Plasticheads, Choices Made, Maldita, Prior Convictions, Reckless Upstarts, Angry Spells and plenty of others are powering through the forest of bullshit that can be making music in 2021. Everyone should check them out. Also, Toronto has rallied around many of its live music venues during the pandemic and has saved lots of them. That’s a good sign for things to come.”
There’s plenty more to come from The Slime, including a split EP with the aforementioned Prior Convictions, from Hamilton in Ontario, through the bands’ Cursed Blessings label later this year. They also have more plans to record new music and are eager to get out there and play their music live at long last.
And Derek adds: “We really make an effort to blend our influences and styles into something new. We are never opposed to going on a psychedelic tangent. None of us are originally from Toronto and we range in age from 20 to 45, which probably accounts for some of the blending that happens in our sound. But mainly we want people to remember to have a good time. Thanks for reading!”