It’s hard to believe it’s been 4 years since Vancouver noise punks Aanthems appeared on our radar with their second EP ‘Die Every Night‘. The bass and drum duo made up of brothers Ryan and Geof Dolejsi have been slowly building up to the release of their debut album over the years, while we’ve been patiently waiting for it, somewhat content with the intermittent release of singles.
‘Blood Fortune‘ was at one time due at the end of 2017, but shit happens and we’re just glad it’s finally here. Not surprisingly it’s exactly everything one could have hoped for from Aanthems.
The record is a combustible mixture of throat-shredding vocals and hook-filled anthems over a colossal wall of bass and drums. All eleven tracks are played with unabashed punk fervor and swagger, ferociously heavy and dangerously catchy. Comparisons to fellow Canadians Death From Above are apt, but hints of GØGGS, At The Drive-In, Big Black, and early Hot Snakes are not too far off base to these ears. There are also big nods to good old ass-kicking, fist-pumping arena rock with the shout-along choruses of songs like ‘Pure Fire‘ and ‘Unsinkable Ships‘.
Aanthems make a crap-tonne of noise with their brand of rough-hewn lumberjack rock, and ‘Blood Fortune‘ is a thunderous first salvo.
We hooked up with Ryan for a quick Q&A.
Where did you draw lyrical inspiration from?
The whole record was written over 3 years and without much thought to an overarching theme. It was only near the end when we realized we had actually written a fairly political album. We’ve always written from a “hope for humanity” perspective and that’s still in there, but as more light that gets thrown into the dirty corners of society, it gets harder to stay optimistic. We all live within a system that is designed to crush us and rage is and should be, a natural response. We aren’t overly political people, this is just our way of railing against the lack of human decency and compassion in the world.
Tell us about the recording process.
Everything was done by us except mastering. I’m a bit of a control freak and I love the whole process so I basically fucked around until I figured out how to make things sound how I want. I really don’t care about Persian rugs or outboard gear or doing things “properly” as long as I can end up where I need to be. Drums are recorded at our practice space and on at least one song if you crank the ending you can hear another drummer from one of the adjacent rooms. It’s not ideal, but I don’t really have the patience, budget or skill to do things “right” anyway. I also think this makes for the purest form of our vision, which is important to us particularly because we approach making music in a pretty unconventional way, to begin with.
What’s up for 2020?
Playing lots of shows and trying to sell these records we pressed. We’re launching Early Onset Records with our great friends Alice Hong and Matt Earle from the mighty Dead End Drive-in. We’ll be doing some really cool and unconventional releases and collaborations that will hopefully start to pop up closer to the end of the year. We are very excited about EOR!!
If we can dig ourselves out enough we’ll try to hit the road a bit too. We’re very humbled to have received so much support for our little band and we’ll do what we can to come see everyone in person.