Canadian Metal Assault: Valyria

We're off to Alberta for the second in our series of pieces on the Canadian underground metal scene...

Here we are again, in search of new morsels of metal goodness from the great white North... So it's greetings to Valyria! Hello - care to introduce yourself? "Jeremy Puffer here, I am one of the guitarists for Valyria, and we are currently having a blast playing power metal influenced melodic death metal. Myself and co-guitarist Andrew Traynor have been playing together since we were 15-16 years old in 2009 and after many horrible names we settled on Valyria late 2012 with the addition of our current drummer Mitchell Stykalo".

Pleased to meet you! And welcome to Metal as Fuck! You mention the genres you work in - but who are the main influences musically for the band? "Between the four of us (the band's lineuo is rounded out by bassist/vocalist Cam Dakus), I think we cover the whole spectrum of metal genre-wise as far listening habits go. But our mutual influences are Blind Guardian, Angra, Wintersun, Erra, The Contortionist, Periphery and Rhapsody (of Fire). We are aspiring to expand the melodic death metal genre by adding in power metal, progressive metal and deathcore/metalcore elements".

Yep. That's all bases covered right there! Moving away from Valyria specifically, what's the metal scene like in your home town of St. Albert? And, more generally, what are your thoughts on the metal scene Canada-wide? "It's fairly small in St.Albert, as far as I know it is us and a couple other bands. Most bands in the area are based in nearby Edmonton. In general it seems Canada's scene has exploded over the last couple of years, I'm finding new bands from all over the country through social media every day. The major hotspots still appear to be the Toronto and Montreal areas, but all the cities throughout Canada are starting to shine through".

We'll be heading to Toronto and Montreal later in this series to find out more, Talking of geography, Canada and Australia are similar in several respects metal-wise - not least the sheer size of our respective nations. Does the vast size of Canada present problems for you in terms of touring and otherwise promoting your band? "It certainly does, all of our major cities are fairly spread out! In Western Canada, where each province has only a few sizable cities, you’re looking at at least a few hours driving between tour stops".

Too true. Earlier on in our chat you mentioned expanding the melodic death metal genre - but can death metal evolve any more? Where do you see the genre in five years time? "I can definitely see more bands incorporating electronic elements; Fallujah's The Flesh Prevails was one of my favourite albums from 2014, I loved the ambient soundscapes and fluidity of that record. The space theme seems to be huge in modern metal today, I can definitely see some sort of spacey, dramatic, electronica influenced death metal band existing within the next few years. Here's to hoping anyway as this sounds amazing in my head! There are lots of bounds that really push the boundaries in terms of composition and blending of influences – San Francisco’s Cormorant and Adelaide’s StarGazer both really nail that eclectic, yet consistent sound".

Death metal's going to infinity and beyond, then! But that's for the future, and we'll stay more grounded for the time being with the next question: Who would you say, was the greatest Canadian metal band of all time? "This a very hard choice, there are so many! But I would probably have to say Cryptopsy, superb musicianship and some of the most savage death metal ever recorded".

Good choice!  And what about a lost metallic gem from Canada that the wider world might have missed out on? "Ubuntu by Kalter, one of my top albums of all time, they play a similar style of metal to Wintersun but with more progressive elements. I don't believe they are active any more but this and their debut full length Spiritual Angel are fantastic pieces of work".

We'll seek these diamonds out! On a more current tip, and apart from yourselves obviously; are there any other up and coming Canadian bands you think deserve a wider audience? "Quite a few! From our own province, Death Toll Rising (death metal), Ides of Winter (black metal), Mongol (folk/melodic death metal), Viathyn (progressive/power metal) and PlagueBringer (deathcore/melodic death metal) are some of our favourites. As for the rest of the country, Untimely Demise (progressive/thrash), Instanzia (power metal), and The AfterImage (technical metalcore) are all really sick too!"

Ah yes, Viathyn - last year our own Ferrum Templor described their drummer in these very pages as having 'legs like pistons'! Now back to you - here's you one and only chance to plug yourself! "We have our debut EP Collatus up for free on our bandcamp page (valyriansteelcanada.bandcamp.com)! We will have some more merchandise made up in the next few months that we will add to the page as well. Our facebook page is our main hub of operations which you can follow for updates and some new music down the road, at Facebook.com/ValyrianSteelCanada. We will be performing at Farmageddon Open Air which is taking place June 11-14th, and features performances by Grim Reaper, Archspire, Incantation, Into Eternity and Pallbearer. We’re super stoked!"

And quite rightly so! Sounds like a great lineup. And there's a pattern forming here too - only last week another of our writers, Metalharmony, described the drummer in Archspire - somewhat ironically, one feels - as 'competent'.. Now final question - anyhing else you think the readers of Metal as Fuck need to know? "We are planning on releasing a new single sometime this summer, so stay tuned!"

We certainly will - thanks for being part of this series!