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Montreal may soon be declared a 'city of excellence in metal music'

Robert Rowat

If Craig Sauvé gets his way, Montreal will be declared a "city of excellence in metal music" on April 15.

Sauvé, a city councillor for Montreal's Sud-Ouest borough and a metal fan, has tabled a motion for City Hall to officially recognize Montreal's metal scene. The motion, which he posted on his Facebook page on April 11, was seconded by two other councillors.

Update: Sauvé's motion was passed unanimously by Montreal's city council on April 15.

"It’s really just a recognition that we want to do, to celebrate the music scene locally," Sauvé told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

"There are tens of thousands of fans in the Montreal region who are devoted, who spend so much time, who practise, promote, who attend concerts," he explained. "The heavy metal music that we make is really well-regarded by many people all over the world because there’s a certain technical edge that we have here."

He pointed to Voivod as the most famous metal band from Quebec, but was quick to list others. "In Montreal, we have Cryptopsy and Kataklysm and Despised Icon and all sorts of bands that have really shone internationally."

Listen to CBC Music's metal stream

In addition to the city's abundance of heavy metal, Sauvé believes Montreal metal is unique.

"The heavy metal that comes from Montreal is a more technical brand, a more complicated brand to play," he explained. "It’s not simply punky or straightforward. It’s a little more complex and thought-out and composed. I think that the academic approach that we have in Montreal — the CEGEPs, the universities that all have music programs, the jazz scene — contributes to the type of heavy metal that comes from Montreal.”

Sauvé offers Cryptopsy's "Phobophile" as a shining example.

“It’s a really melodic riff ... you can really hum the tune," he says of the song. "The vocalist is giving his growl. That’s an older vocalist with Cryptopsy called Lord Worm [laughs]. He had a whole show that went with his style. And the drummer is actually one of the most recognized death-metal drummers in the world, because he was known to be one of the fastest. Still is. His name is Flo Mounier. That’s a band that would tour worldwide, and when it comes to Montreal, it packs audiences.”

Sauvé got into metal as a teenager. "It was something I did after school — probably helped keep me out of trouble, you know. Instead of going and perhaps drinking with friends, I would go and rehearse heavy metal with my friends, in basements, and it was something that was really key in my personal development.”

One of the resolutions in Sauvé's motion is to express gratitude to the people responsible for nurturing Montreal's metal scene, "be they radio DJs, journalists, bloggers, promoters, volunteers," he says, adding, "Montreal’s scene is as effervescent as ever."


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