Published Nov 07, 2018Motörhead hailed from London, England, so it's only appropriate that Ontario's city of the same name has an answer to that band in the form of Strange Ways. Their debut album, Hand of the Maze, is dropping November 16 via Acid Vision, but you can hear an early stream now.
The nine-song effort kicks off with the bluesy intro of "No Heart," but once the dam breaks and the song really kicks in, the similarities to Motörhead become clear — this is no-nonsense, riff-heavy hard rock with serious metallic tendencies.
The vocals also share DNA with Slayer's Tom Araya and Metallica's James Hetfield, while they pump along in similar style to Strange Ways' ode to headbanging, "Whiplash." Follow-up "Unholy Rest" brings heavier metallic hardcore leanings to the fore with an early mosh call of the title and aptly crushing breakdown, with the band calling upon Jeff Hanneman for a mid-paced Slayer riff immediately after. Meanwhile, the name of "Rose Is Dead" pays tribute to fallen Ontario metalcore troupe Rosesdead.
In a statement, guitarist Chris Belanger explained the genesis of the tracks and how they got to their final form at the Pit Recording Studio, where they were recorded by Taylor Young.
"This album is a look at the choices I've watched others, and myself make. From our jam room/storage locker and basements all over Ontario, to their final home in Van Nuys, CA, we've carried these songs and stories for a long time and are excited to finally share them all with you," Belanger explained. "Thank you to Taylor Young for helping bring this to life in a way I never could've dreamed of."
Young (who drums in Nails, plays guitar in Twitching Tongues and has engineered countless of metal/hardcore releases) added credence to the above comparisons, stating, "This record is simultaneously a tribute to Lemmy and James Hetfield. You will be pleased."
Be the judge yourself by listening in the player below. If you like what you hear, you can pre-order the album in a cassette mega pack (including an enamel pin, lighter and more) here and see the band live at Ottawa's Streets Ahead Festival on November 18.