September 19, 2022

Szabotage was born when long-time Canadian friends – located in Hawaii, Vancouver and Ottawa – came together online to have a crack at “recording a couple of songs” as a way to battle the lockdown demons created during the COVID pandemic. While the creative process has always been therapeutic for all members of Szbotage, this experience introduced them to therapy at a new level. The chances taken in song structures, performances and production perhaps felt like they could be some of the last. This resulted in a sweet combination of desperation and the thrill of riding the edge that was somehow captured in the tracks. It blended perfectly and bred life into what is now the final product.

Their titular inspiration being one Victor Szapo Esq, (I kid you not!), and their musical inspiration being the multiple strands of Black Sabbath, Faith No More, the Blizzard of Ozz, Anthrax, Tool, and Opeth (naming only a few), Szabotage draws its roots from the masters and the giants of heavy. In a non-traditional manner, they add a healthy shot of creativity and their own flavour of musical mastery to bring forward a unique, brutal, tender, funny, and heartfelt debut offering, full of tasty ear candy and non-stop imagery. Reminds me in particular of 21 Taras, an equally zany bunch of folk!

Line-up:
James Phillips – Vocals, Keys
Victor Szabo – Guitars, Keys
Mike Dykeman – Bass, Back-Up Vocals, Keys
Grant Moynes – Drums

This being their debut offering, the band settled on an EP format. We have six offerings here, kicking off with Mistakes Were Made, a pacey track with more than a hint of the mighty Judas Priest. Channeling comes next, another edgy, energetic number that the lead singer really gets his teeth into! Due to covid restrictions, all elements of this EP were accomplished remotely, and given that James and Victor share the vocals its hard to say who sings what, but it’s all good so far!

Are We Machines? is HUGELY different!, dreamily gentle chords introducing it to a background of children in a playground? I suspect the more “out-there” vocals are Victor, but even he’s gone pastoral on this one, highly effective. Joyride brings us back to the realm of the throbbing but melodic riff. This is a quality track, classic old-school good-time rock ‘n’ roll!

Sinn Féin is next, and it does indeed have an eerily Irish vibe to the guitar work. Another relentlessly pacey number, without the benefit of lyrics I have no idea of the song’s meaning , it all gets buried under the tsunami of a riff ‘n’ rhythm section. Fremont closes the EP, this is probably my favourite track in that it stands out for having a different vibe, a nicely echoing tone to the guitar line, slightly gentler, good stuff!

All in all, a promising debut for the collective – they’ve previously been in various bands but they’re a nicely taut unit!