Artist Spotlight: Oberon

1996 – 1997

Hailing from Newfoundland Canada, Oberon came together in 1996. The first productive line-up consisted of Colin Smart on rhythm guitars, Geoff Waye on lead guitars, Noel Smart on drums, Pat Dwyer (AKA “Count Dwyer”) on vocals, and Rick White on bass. In this form the band played a more extreme form of metal in the vein of death / thrash metal. They played live with bands like AfterForever, sHEAVY, and Draize Eye Test. Just before the recording of their first demo, the band was joined for a short time by Mark Cumby on third guitar. With Mark added to the picture Oberon released a self-financed CD/tape entitled Endless Life in 1996. The band recorded most of the tracks at a local studio and recorded a couple of covers (without Mark in the band) by Slayer and Venom.

1998 – 2000

In 1998-2000 Oberon had an unproductive period. First off, the bassist (Rick) left the band and Pat had taken over the bass duties (he had been a bassist in local metal bands Sacrament A.D. and Devastator prior to handling the vocals). Pat eventually moved out of the province to find work in Ontario so the band was back to its three founding members: Colin, Geoff, and Noel. In this time-frame the band did jam occasionally, but it wasn’t serious.

2001

In 2001 Oberon recruited a bass player who had been a friend of Colin’s for a number of years, Steve Smith. Geoff asked local metal icon Pete Healey (host of the great radio show Disturbing the Peace and ex-vocalist of Marshall Law) if he’d be interested in jamming to try it out. He was a little hesitant at first since he knew the band for playing death/thrash metal, but they welcomed a change to a more melodic, yet still heavy approach. Oberon began jamming some covers by bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and things fell into place. One of their first gigs with the reformed line-up was at The Edge where they opened for some rock bands.

2002 – 2003

After playing numerous other gigs and writing new original material the band recorded their second demo in late 2001 / early 2002. Work on the demo completed in March of 2002 and they played a CD release party on March 30th, 2002. In late 2002, bassist Steve left the band to be replaced by a friend of Noel’s, Joe Dolemont (who later joined Devastator). After March 2002 the band played a few gigs, including what was perhaps the best show to date, at the all ages Breezeway Bar at MUN in July 2003. Following this show the band got a new bass player, Scott Holden. They played their first show with Scott on bass at The Basement bar on Friday, October 3rd, 2003. In the earlier part of the summer 2003 work periodically took place on new material for the next EP. Drums were recorded as were much of the guitars. Sadly, the bass and vocals for this release were never started as some members’ interests lay elsewhere, and the band went on hiatus sometime in 2004.

2008-2009

In the summer of 2008, the band’s 3 founding members reunited and recruited two new members, Dale Drew (from the band KENOBI at the time, later joining the Sea Dogs) on vocals and Mike Gear on bass. So began the band’s third era. Oberon spent 2008-2009 playing a few shows and working on new material. Some recordings started once again, but things fell apart sometime in early 2009.

2009 Onward

Some former members continued on with original bands after 2009. Geoff started the band Category VI and other members stayed active playing but not in a recording band with the exception of Dale who is now the vocalist in the Sea Dogs.

2020: The End

In late December 2020 the band lost one of their founding members. Colin Smart passed away far too young after years of declining health. The other two founding members decided to make a Bandcamp page as a memorial to Colin and as a way to make the band’s recorded music available for free.

~ Geoff Waye

Chain of Lynx Donate Album Proceeds to Easter Seals NL

You may remember last year when hard rock / alternative rock duo Chain of Lynx pledged to donate all proceeds from their debut full length album MMXIX, an album that was recorded as part of the 2019 RPM Challenge, to Easter Seals NL, an organization that provides meaningful programs and services to disabled people in the St. John’s area.

Now the band has made good on that promise by donating $500 towards the organization. All proceeds came from the sales of MMXIX, which was stocked at most local music vendors such as Fred’s Records, No Equal Records, Sunrise Records, O’Brien’s Music Inc. and The Battery Cafe, as well as through the band themselves.

If you’d like to check out the album that helped out such a good cause, you can check out MMXIX through our Bandcamp embed below.

~ Akhenaten

R.I.P. Dean Locke

We regret to announce that Dean Locke, bass player and founding member of the seminal Newfoundland punk band Tough Justice, has passed away. Dean was heavily involved with the local punk scene in St. John’s until moving away to Ontario in 1988 where he continued his involvement with music in a band called The Colour of Each. He continued to play bass throughout his life.

Dean is survived by his wife and four children and will be greatly missed by his friends, family, loved ones and bandmates.

Dean is the latest in a string of passings within the older ranks of the Newfoundland underground music world, including his Tough Justice bandmate Johnny Fisher. He will be remembered.

~ Akhenaten

Oberon Release Full Discography for Free on Bandcamp

The long defunct thrash and power metal outfit Oberon recently lost one of their founding members, guitarist Colin Smart, who passed away in December of 2020. In honour of his passing and in tribute to his life, fellow guitarist and bandmate Geoff Waye has uploaded the band’s full discography to Bandcamp where it’s all available for the low, low price of free.

You can check out the discography of Oberon at their Bandcamp page at this link, or through our Bandcamp embed below.

~ Akhenaten

An Interview with Victor Lewis of Puce

Puce are a three piece stoner / doom / sludge band from St. John’s, Newfoundland featuring Victor Lewis on vocals and guitars, Ashton Whitt on bass, and Matthew Cull on drums. They released their debut self-titled album in October 2016 and released their second full length record, The Trough, in August 2020.

Firstly, tell the people who we’re talking to!

This is Vic, guitar player/singer with Puce.

Can you tell us a bit about how the band was formed?

We started jamming and recording detuned riffs in the fall of 2016, just something different for us. The first album came together within a month or so. We decided to call the project ‘Puce’. 

The name ‘Puce’ certainly stands out. The dictionary definition is ‘a dark red or purple-brown colour’. Why did you decide upon this name? Do you think it reflects your sound and image?

We feel that basic colour palette relates to the sound. Also, puce means ‘flea’ in French and fleas swatted against white bedsheets cause stains of the same colour- that’s one theory as to how it became used as an English word, which is sort of interesting. If you look at the cover of the first album carefully you can see a giant flea inside the guy’s head.

What’s your songwriting process like? Is there one person who takes on the lead role with songwriting or is it more of a collaborative effort?

The first album was mainly based around my riff ideas but the second is more of a band effort.

When it comes to lyrical themes what sort of things do you guys like to tackle? Is one person the primary lyricist or do you share that responsibility?

Most of the lyrics deal with negative emotions and ideas. Some are personal and some are outward. Some are just taking the piss. The music, being fairly dirge-y and ominous is a good vehicle for that kind of subject matter. I write most of the lyrics, although sometimes the guys will chime in with a catchy line- Matt started singing ‘playing with bodies’ for example.

You released your debut self-titled record in 2016 and then followed it up four years later with The Trough in 2020. What happened in those four years and why did it take that amount of time to get a second record under your belt?

We’re all involved in a bunch of different bands and projects (several with each other) and Puce is just one thing we like to do. So we have a fairly casual approach to working up new stuff- It happens when it happens.

Can you tell us a bit about how the response to your new record has been?

It’s gotten a lot more followers on Bandcamp than the last one- it turned up on a couple playlists and that seemed to get us a lot of downloads for a few weeks there.

How do you feel The Trough compares to your debut record?

The new album is less song-oriented and more drone-y and jammed out. The drums and bass are more out front and the guitars are less layered and more stripped down. The first album was built with lots of overdubs and textures while this one is more about capturing the performance. 

You recorded your new album at Frequency Sound Studio. What was it like working in that space?

We recorded bed tracks at Frequency because Chuck Bucket had a vintage Tascam 388 machine set up in his room there. It’s basically an 8 track portastudio that records onto 1/4 inch tape. A few of our favourite artists like Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees and Fuzz have used this model and we love the way their records sound. Chuck is super easy-going and it was an enjoyable experience.

On the credits of your debut you each have aliases, ‘Hitch’, ‘Tayne’ and ‘Zoul’, respectively. Where did these nicknames come from? Is there a reason you don’t use them anymore?

The nicknames were funny- We just wanted to do that at the time. No particular reason.

Given the ongoing pandemic live shows have been few and far between over the last year. Are you guys excited to bring the new songs from The Trough to the stage?

We did a 20 minute live outdoor performance video to promote the album in lieu of a traditional album release show. We put it up on YouTube and linked it on social media. Not as much fun as a live show with an audience but hopefully entertaining in a different way. We actually workshopped a lot of this material through live performances from 2017-2018, so by the time it was finally recorded there was a feeling of finality to it. They’re still fun to play though.

What’s next on the horizon for Puce?

We’re starting to jam some new material- probably have something new ready in a little while.

Thanks for taking the time to speak to us here at Heavy NFLD!

~ Akhenaten

Rick Massie Releases Instrumental Cover of “Auld Lang Syne”

Whitehorse-based progressive rock and metal artist Rick Massie has had a busy 2020. Aside from releasing his debut full length album Eclipse this past spring, he also released a smattering of singles throughout the year, including some completely original material as well as holiday themed covers and reinterpretations of Christmas and Halloween classics.

But just when you thought 2020 was over Massie struck again with his last song for the year, an instrumental cover of “Auld Lang Syne” for New Year’s Eve. You can listen to “Auld Lang Syne” through our Bandcamp embed below.

~ Akhenaten

R.I.P. Rodney Wills

Rodney Wills, drummer of heavy metal and thrash metal band Sacrament A.D., has passed away at the age of 56. Rodney is survived by his mother, Ruby, brother, Ralph, sister, Diane, and many other relatives and friends. Rodney passed away on December 21st, 2020 though the cause of death has not yet been announced.

Rodney was also a member of Schizoid, Fish N’ Rod and The Privateers.

His official obituary can be read at Carnell’s Funeral Home.

~ Akhenaten

Icefog Releases New Single “You Can See Your Breath”

Glovertown dark ambient project Icefog has been completely inactive since the release of their last EP, Within They Grasp, Then Lost Again in 2015. Five years later the project has shown signs of activity once again by dropping a brand new, fresh single. The song, entitled “You Can See Your Breath”, was released on December 24th, 2020 through the project’s Bandcamp as well as the Viridian Records Bandcamp page.

You can listen to “You Can See Your Breath” through our Bandcamp embed below.

~ Akhenaten

R.I.P. Colin Smart

Colin Robert Smart, rhythm guitarist of death metal and power metal band Oberon, has passed away at the age of 45. He is survived by his wife, Krista, daughter, Emma, son, Jacob, parents Robert and Bernadette, brother, Noel, and in-laws Richard and Irene Green. Colin passed away on December 28th, 2020 peacefully at his home though the cause of death has not been made public.

Colin was also a member of Asphyxiation, Devastator and Odysey as well as the Larry Fowler Project, the Randy Doyle Band, Rock Garden and Tangled Web.

You can find his official obituary at Carnell’s Funeral Home.

~ Akhenaten