WINTERHEARTH – Northern Exposure

May 28, 2017, a year ago

Kelley Simms

feature black death winterhearth

From the remote, frozen confines of St. John’s, Newfoundland, doom-laden, blackened thrash trio Winterhearth takes full advantage of its geographic location.   

Located at the furthest point north east in the Atlantic Ocean, Newfoundland gets fucking cold in the winter, with winds whipping up to at least 60 km/h. The coldness and isolation of its surroundings gives Winterhearth ample ammunition for the band’s lyrical and musical content. 

On its sophomore album, Resettlement (released August 25th, 2016), Winterhearth — featuring vocalist/guitarist Andrew Marsh, bassist Robbie Butler and new drummer Brad Ivany — assault the listener with 13 expansive, bloodthirsty tracks.

“Myself and the bass player Robbie grew up in a small town called Bonavista,” Marsh said. “It’s a three and a half hour drive away from St. John’s and there’s lots of isolation and it’s basically one big marsh surrounded by woods. That plays a big role on my mood; the crazy atmosphere of the music, the feel and the structure of the songs.”

With Resettlement, Winterhearth has created some extreme metal that runs deeper than the standard blackened thrash moniker, as it contains huge swaths of doom and stoner rock influences. 

“I love all genres of metal and I love all styles of music,” Marsh enthused. “I love a lot of doom and stoner metal and I’m a huge fan of Trouble, Witchfinder General and Cathedral. I grew up on a lot of Sodom and Kreator, too. But when it comes to riffs, my No. 1 guitar hero when I was a kid was Dave Mustaine; the way he played and how he attacked it. I like guys who put a lot of effort into their riffs where they stick into your head just as easy as the melody line.”

Upon first listen to “Cultural Genocide” — just one of the standout tracks on Resettlement — you’ll immediately be hooked by the band’s hypnotic melodies, swirling, reverb-laden guitar leads and groove-infested riffs. And when it comes to Marsh’s anguished, raspy bark, he duly gives props to Mayhem vocalist Dead.

“That Live In Leizig album is amazing hearing how Dead sings ‘Freezing Moon’ and ‘Funeral Fog’,” Marsh enthused. “Another massive (influence) would be Jeff Walker from Carcass. In the early stages of developing my vocals, I couldn’t be a Chris Barnes per se, I couldn’t go that low. I remember when I was 15 I heard a demo tape of the band Morbid, which Dead was in before Mayhem. I heard December Moon and I said, ’That’s who I want to be like.’”

For a band such as Winterhearth, its location can work against them. As most Canadian’s already know, this country’s general land mass is the second largest in the world next to Russia. So traveling, especially in the winter, puts a damper on an underground band such as Winterhearth.

However, the band will be appearing at the Maritime Metal & Hard Rock Festival 5 in Windsor, Nova Scotia on July 28th-29th with headlining act SkullFist. As the only band at the festival that is represented from Newfoundland, Marsh & Co. are eager to get the Winterhearth engine rolling. 

“It’s going to be our first gig off the island, which is another stepping stone to our goals in life,” Marsh said. “It can get frustrating when you’re stuck on an island and figuring out the financial aspects of going on tour. It’s bad enough when the weather is known not to be nice here. We are very excited to play to some new fans, meet some new bands, make lots of new friends and contacts.”

Winterhearth has been plugging away on the Newfoundland music scene for a decade now, and the band is still determined to grind it out.
“Whatever you want to do in your life — if you want to start your own retail store, or any business — there’s always ups and there’s always downs,” Marsh concluded. “And the downs get pretty bad! But once you get past those bad’s and realize the difference, you keep going. You just do what you believe is right.”

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