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Maltese super group meets Swedish metal

Mark Debono delves into the stories of Maltese Victims of Creation and the Swedish October Tide ahead of the bands’ performance at Remedy.

Victims of Creation. Photo: Bloodography

Victims of Creation. Photo: Bloodography

As far as local bands in the doom/metal/stoner sphere go, I have yet to see one which excited and captured the imagination of so many as Victims Of Creation did when they returned triumphant to stage, following an absence of almost two decades.

That is a story in and of itself though and, today, I am more concerned about the more recent past, as well as the immediate future.

Victims of Creation is as close to a metal super group as you can get in a small scene like Malta’s.

With members such as bass player and singer Rex, who also plays with Memento Nostri, Norm Rejection, Cumshaft, Griffin Device, Lithomancy and Xtruppaw and drummer Dino, also of Deluge of Sorrow, Griffin Device, Lithomancy, Wound, Xtruppaw, and formerly of Weeping Silence, you can see why I make such a claim.

Formed back in 1992, Victims of Creation only played in gigs rather sporadically and, given how busy the members were with so many other projects, one can understand why.

However, in 2013, Victims Of Creation were to be victims of circumstance no more.

Laughing on their first full-length album, entitled Symmetry of Our Plagued Existence, and riding high on that, the band gigged more extensively and even played overseas on two occasions.

The album was well-received, both locally and also by international fans and media.

Victims’ tunes are not really aligned with my tastes, as I normally prefer faster, more brutal arrangements. However, it does have to be said that the guitar and bass tone are incredible. Murky and weighty just as one expects from the genre, with powerful drums backing up the sound.

Vocalist Rex excels, as usual, with deep vocals I personally find rather reminiscent of Swede Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth fame and formerly vocalist of death metal supergroup Bloodbath.

October Tide. Photo: Andi BaloghOctober Tide. Photo: Andi Balogh

I can see why fans of the genre were stoked to get their hands on Victims’ work and their enthusiasm translated to the live shows the band played in too.

Flush with success, Victims of Creation started work on a second album and, although its release had to be postponed owing to other commitments, musical and personal, they still found time to plan two gigs.

Last Friday, Victims played alongside locals Fallen Icon and German trash metal act Insulter. And on Saturday, young guns Oblique Visions will be join-ing Victims of Creation, along-side Swedish doom/death metal legends October Tide.

The guitar and bass tone are incredible. Murky and weighty just as one expects from the genre

Founded in 1994 in Avesta, October Tide can boast of two members who played in Swedish doom / death metal titans Katatonia, as well as four full length albums, the latest of which was launched in 2013.

Their debut 1995 demo tape was created by then-Katatonia members Jonas Renkse and Fred Norrman, with much of the material written during a break-up of the latter band (which in the end was only temporary). In 1997 Renkse and Norman signed to VIC Records and their debut, Rain Without End was released.

1999 saw October Tide release what was then thought to be their second and last album, this time called Grey Dawn and which featured Mårten Hansen instead of Renkse on vocal duties.

The album was incredibly well received by fans and the media alike. However, a band decision was made to not grant interviews, nor tour. Understandably, the consequence of this was that October Tide’s public profile was very short lived.

What did happen though is that these two early albums from the band garnered extensive repute in the underground scene, and fans have often regarded these two releases as two ‘treasures’ resulting from Katatonia’s temporary break-up.

Eleven years were to pass before October Tide returned in 2010 with A Thin Shell, a new full-length release, recorded at Black Lounge studios with renowned producer Jonas Kjellgren (of Scar Symmetry).

The seven doom-laden and emotive songs are heavy yet catchy and the band closed their self-imposed, decade-long hiatus through this release, which features artwork from Travis Smith, who has worked with acts such as Opeth and Testament.

In autumn 2012, October Tide moved into Black Lounge studios to record Tunnel of no Light, their highly anti-cipated fourth album which was released in April 2013 through the bands new label home, Pulverised Records.

The band has toured across Europe rather extensively since releasing their latest two albums. However, their southernmost European des-tination is most likely our own little island.

“We don’t really try to make a break or feed our listeners with music that we expect them to like. It is more important for us to play music that we like to play and to have a good time together.

“With that strategy you don’t really get as big as Swedish House Mafia, which is not really our goal either,” said drummer Robin Bergh in 2013. I guess when an answer is that honest, you know a band plays from the heart.

Oblique Visions, Victims of Creation and October Tide perform on Saturday at Remedy, Coconut Grove, Paceville. Doors open at 8.30pm.

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