Straight out of the snake pit and coming to broil your grey matter, Edmonton’s death metal practitioners Immunize unleash their scorching brand of bedlam this weekend.
Immunize got started when lead singer Calvin Campbell encountered lead guitarist Tyler Letourneau back in 2012 at an audition for a tech metal band formed by local drummer Bryan Newbury.
“The style just wasn’t my flavour. But I told Bryan, ‘I want to work with Tyler. I love his style, I love his riffs,’” says Campbell.
Over time Immunize went through a series of crew changes until locking down it down as a five-piece with Jordan Paras on rhythm guitar, Yannick Bussweiler on percussion and former Oooze member Curtis Berg on the six string fretless bass.
It wasn’t until early 2016 when the band released its debut Psychotic Behaviours, which features Desecrate The Gods bassist Ryan Berehulke. Berg was Campbell’s original choice to take on bass duties but wasn’t able step in until after the album was recorded.
“It’s always weird how you close one door and another opens… between timing, personalities, style, and schedule conflicts, it’s almost like fate has a hand in creating bands. Getting a group of like minded people together is difficult.”
With a sound firmly rooted in melodic death metal Campbell also confesses a love for melodic death metal.
“I was big into punk and hardcore, which developed into metal-core,” he says. “That’s when I found a love for melo-death. We don’t make music to flex our egos. We want melodies, harmonies, and solid grooves.”
Together Letourneau and Paras deliver a skull crushing onslaught of savage guitar acrobatics over a break neck rhythm attack that slices through your frontal lobe like an angle grinder. Campbell slashes the dark canvas with his demonic operatics.
On stage, Campbell assumes the role of the restrained lunatic contorting on stage in a straight jacket, while the rest of the members are fitted out in white madhouse scrubs. It’s an ingenious alternative to the traditional black worn by most metalheads.
“I’ve been booted right off the stage into the mosh pit by my band members,” Campbell says. “That’s why we all rock out wireless, cause I’m famous for stomping out guitar and mic chords,” he says.
It’s a methodology that allows the members of Immunize the freedom to explore the live space, conjuring up some high octane choreography.
In contrast to their fire storm of metallic aggression, Campbell claims that the subject matter of their songs are inspired by a great compassion for the disenfranchised and how injustice and ignorance preys on the afflicted and those on the margins of society. He has a deep hatred for egomaniacal dictators yet he admits that he consciously channels the personality of a tyrant to provoke his maniacal stage persona.
“We are Immunize,” Campbell says, “here to vaccinate you from all the bullshit the world can offer and bring you back to the light, back to the safety of your padded room.”
Sat., Nov. 26 (8pm)
The Mercury Room
$15 in advance
Dave o Rama