Album Preview: WarCall Won’t Be Celebrating Their Anniversary Quietly

Their New Album Invaders Will Make Some Noise on Friday the 13th

(left to right) Phil, Mat, and Gord. Courtesy David Gonzalez

Montreal thrashers WarCall are making this October’s Friday the 13th a bit more spectacular with the release of their latest album Invaders.

Known as Plan B from 1997-2007, WarCall was founded in 2007 and has since featured a new lineup of members.

For the past ten years, the lineup for the band has been Jonathan Gourdeau on the bass and lead vocals, Philippe Bédard Gervais on the drums, and Mathieu Simard on background vocals and guitar. Although, they each prefer to go by the stage-names Gord, Phil, and Mat respectively.

Inspired by bands like Iron Maiden and Motorhead, WarCall has been successful in creating a sound that is all their own. On the surface, their music is primarily thrasher-metal, but there are also elements of traditional metal, progressive-rock, black-metal, and punk-rock.

Since their founding, WarCall has risen to become an important part of the thriving Montreal metal music scene. This year, the band will be celebrating their 10th anniversary along with the album release at Petit Café Campus in Montreal on Oct. 13.

“It’s really fast, aggressive music,” Simard said in regards to their new album. “But this time around we really wanted to have a good production.”

Simard explained that, compared to their previous album III —in which they experimented with spontaneous live recordings and analogue sounds—the music in Invaders is much more polished.

“It’s really a mix of all of our personal influences,” he added.

Thematically, the theme of war is the centrepiece for Invaders. It is also the primary subject that the band explored in all of their past albums.

Album art for Invaders. Courtesy WarCall

“We can talk about war in many different aspects,” Simard said. “This time around, we wanted to focus on war from the point of view of things that you cannot control, things that happen to you that come by surprise.”

To convey this, WarCall chose to tell the story about an alien invasion. A sci-fi fan himself, Simard said that the theme of the album was one that he brought to the band to see what they thought of it. And from that initial idea, Invaders was forged.

Conveyed through imagery and carefully placed sound effects, each track on Invaders tells a part of the story much like chapters in a novel. While each track can stand alone and be appreciated as such, the album has a distinct flow that can only be appreciated by listening to the album in its entirety.

It’s clear that WarCall takes great care in creating music that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. Their emphasis on themes and storytelling are evidence of their attention to detail.

Things like themes and storytelling in music bring to mind the rock and metal bands of the 70s and 80s. Since WarCall draws some of their inspirations from these older bands, it’s nice to see that they are paying homage to such a great musical tradition.

For example, the predominant guitar and drum intro in the track “Through the Dusk” brings to mind the sounds of Iron Maiden and Metallica. Yet, with the death-growl dominating the vocals, the fusion creates a more modern track.

Apart from their growing list of album releases, WarCall also tours extensively here in Canada and over in Europe. For a band of only three guys, fans that come out to live performances time and time again are an important part of a band’s success.

“Even if it’s here or over in Europe, it’s always nice to see familiar faces at shows. It’s not that different, it’s just that the language is different. When you are in Germany you don’t always understand the fan, but we communicate through music and enthusiasm.” – Mathieu “Mat” Simard

Simard said that many of WarCall’s fans have been following the band since their beginning.

“When we play cities more than once, it’s really nice to see people that we recognize,” he explained. WarCall’s fanbase stretches across Canada, but Quebec fans make up the majority.

The band will also be kicking off a ten-day European tour beginning Oct. 19 which will bring them to cities in France, Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic . Since this is the band’s third time touring the continent, Simard said that they also have a substantial European fan base.

“Even if it’s here or over in Europe, it’s always nice to see familiar faces at shows,” Simard said. “It’s not that different, it’s just that the language is different. When you are in Germany you don’t always understand the fan, but we communicate through music and enthusiasm.”

According to Simard, WarCall’s live performances are pretty intense.

“We are men of few words. We prefer to let the music talk for itself,” he explained. “So usually, when we start to play we try to have the least amount of time between songs and rock the hardest that we can.”

And rock they do. The music on their album is full of speaker-blasting fun, particularly in their track, “Riding With Zombies,” which really explodes to life with a face-melting guitar intro that really amps up the energy of the tune.

By the time Mat’s punk-like vocals burst to life it sounds like he’s ready to take on whatever may come his way. And the fluctuating grind of the tempo brings in intense moments of exhilaration, only to have the raging drum thunder back to life while Mat’s voice roars furiously over the din.

This brings to mind the insane level of energy that most likely comes with their live shows, and how exhilarated and enraged the audience must get.

“One of the most common comments that we have from fans after the show is that for three guys, we make a lot of noise,” Simard said.

WarCall // Invaders // October 13 // Petit Cafe Campus (57 rue Prince-Arthur E) // $13 at the door