Southampton punk-metal newcomers Canavar are smashing their hometown’s post-hardcore reputation to smithereens with a genre-crossing fusion of fierce riffs, frenetic energy and delicious melodies.
The quartet, formed of Deklan Webb (vocals and guitar) and Jack Bowden (guitar) alongside the brotherly rhythm and bass section of Rowan (bass) and Toby Rashley (drums), met through a shared love of skateboarding then decided to “make noises together.” They formed a band called The Bitter-Town Hounds but, after six years of playing, finally honed their sound towards the Canavar proposition, which they describe to us as “raw, true and relentless.”
The name Canavar comes from a Turkish word for ‘Monster,’ and the sound these guys is certainly monstrously heavy – to the extent we had it described to us as a mix of Rise Against and Slayer, which was certainly a new one on us. Deklan expands: “Haha yeah it is an interesting mix. I would say it’s got the speed of metal but the melody of certain punk, plus truthfulness in the lyrics. We don’t like to sing about your everyday pop culture crap, we like to talk about things that matter and make a difference, that being said, we don’t want to make every song ‘political’ or ‘righteous,’ we like to keep a nice balance.”
Our first taster of this is debut single Sacrilege, which opens with a lively punky riff and driving drums then drops into an equally energetic opening verse. A big high-pitched solo kicks in then drops into a more laid-back verse with vocals “And in the warmth of knowing truth, The coldest nights can be the proof, Of a dawn that battles dusk,” over a lone bassline, before shouted vocals come in over the returning lively guitar riff. The punkiness then disappears, replaced by a Coheed & Cambria-esque little guitar blitz, a big high-pitched solo over driving drums, then a huge smash of screamed metal vocals bring the track to an intense ending. Check it out in the video below:
This is an exciting introduction to the band and the next step in the Canavar story is the release of their debut album on 28 September. As Deklan explains: “We’re massively excited! You certainly can (hear the same fast, frenetic punkiness) but also lots of heavier too! We feel like we’ve finally achieved the sound we want and that suits us, we can’t wait to show the world who Canavar are.”
The album was mixed by Dan Precision (aka Dan Wleklinski), the 88 Fingers Louie and former Rise Against guitarist, who Deklan tells us has been a major influence on the band: “He has first hand influenced us musically. Even when producing our album we immediately hit it off and we would happily say that he’s a dear friend and he feels like a fifth member of the band. Even before we met him, the band (88 Fingers Louie) had always given us the little punk edge that we carry today.”
On what inspires their music, Deklan adds: “It depends, sometimes after a shitty day you just want to come home and jam out, vent all thats been rotting you through the day, and others, inspiration just strikes out of nowhere and its almost second nature to convert the emotion into lyrics or chords, its nice to find a sound that resonates with your thoughts.”
Sacrilege is out now and available on Spotify and iTunes. The band will be promoting the new album throughout the rest of 2018 with several gigs, including The Unicorn in Camden on Saturday (25 August), The Wedgwood Rooms in Portsmouth on 2 September and The Firehouse in Southampton on 22 September. More info on all their upcoming gigs is here.