Get rich or die grinding
by Sarah Kitteringham
Careening down the highway while attempting to make a break for the Alberta border with police cars and a helicopter on your trail would be unnerv- ing for even the most hardened of criminals. For Calgary metal act Wake, it is just another hilarious tour story to reiterate while sitting in guitarist Sergey Jmourovski’s backyard and snacking on the apples tum- bling from the trees. Needless to say, the five-piece doesn’t take their “fifteen-minute fugitive” status seriously, thanks to lenient police officers who let them off after they begged “the poor musician case.”
“We are a grinding hardcore band,” said Jmourovski, who has also played in Calgary acts Baikal and Snake Mountain.
Obviously, as players of said genre, the band can call them- selves “poor musicians,” despite being remarkably busy in their short year together. Not only have they toured the United States, but have also self-released their Surrounded by Human Filth seven-inch. It reached No. 1 on the metal charts at CJSW and they are primed to embark on their second tour. They have also written eight songs for their upcoming full-length.
“Our songs are pretty diverse. Not technically, but our style,” said bassist Rob Strawberry, who played in Mystical Unicorn and Zeitgeists and has been booking his own shows for 12 years. “It’s hard to pigeonhole us, to say we are a grindcore band or a crust band.”
Indeed, Wake plays an amalgamation of several extreme genres, with tunes featuring the constant battering of snare and bass, surprisingly catchy guitar licks accentuated by tremolo picking and alternating screeching/howling vocals with remarkably beautiful lighter sections that contrast to the ut- ter grimness of the heavy. Wake is as nihilistic lyrically as they are instrumentally, and vocalist Shayne Baker — formerly of The Dead Will Rise and Collapsed Empire, and currently of With Wings We Vanish — describes his themes as centering on “hatred of mankind.”
“The stuff we’ve been writing, some is black metal influenced, some of it is noisy hard-core influenced,” explained Jmourovski of their new tunes, which will be featured on the upcoming album. With a working title of Speciest — which is a hatred of all humans because they are human — it is clear we can expect certain things from the album’s 13 potential tracks. However grim this all seems, the band isn’t totally serious. Bassist Sean Faren — also of Mark of Cain and Gummers — notes that in contrast to his bandmates who throw out catch phrases such as “kill everybody,” “be uber grim” and “get rich or die grinding,” he finds himself “super out of place.”
He isn’t entirely, though he is certainly the only member who spends the entirety of each per- formance with an endearing grin plastered across his face. Most of the responses Wake provides during the interview are provided with a laugh, and overall the band knows what they ultimately aim to achieve, sans bleakness: “Play super- fast music and have a good time.”
By way of a conclusion, drummer Tyler Dergousoff — also of Mark of Cain and Gummers, formerly of Valour and Bitch Kryptonite — said the band wants to “spend as much time in the van as possible.”
Drive on. See Wake play on Oct. 14 at Broken City with Truck!, Asthma Attack and Sigil, and on Nov. 13 at the Hifi with Breathe Knives and Kataplexis.