Lacombe metal band HAAZE releases first official album

Heavy metal, stoner rock band HAAZE, consisting of bassist and vocalist Mitchell Soloway, drummer Alex Adamson, and guitarist Jack Sutherland, released their first album “Swamp Mama” on Jan. 7. Photo supplied

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Heavy metal, doom, sludge and stoner rock might not be what jumps to mind when one thinks of the Lacombe music scene, but it’s an area where one local band has found their niche.

HAAZE, a metal trio featuring Lacombians Mitchell Soloway and Alex Adamson, as well as Jack Sutherland, came together about a year and a half ago, and have just recently released their first album, “Swamp Mama” into the world.

Featuring six individual tracks, those who’ve already got their hands on the album say it has a bit of everything those with a taste for heavier music could ask for.

“It’s been insane,” said Soloway, who does both the vocals and bass. “Around here, there’s not a big metal scene, but that’s the beauty of the internet. There’s a huge online community for this type of thing and they’ve been eating it up which has been really good for us.”

While the official release date was Jan. 7, their label, Transistor 66 Records out of Manitoba, wanted to make sure everything was set ahead of time, and the tracks reached their audience a little earlier than expected. It hasn’t been a bad thing, with response and feedback positive early on. The proof is also in their vinyl pre-orders, selling about 40 $50 records – a third of what they ordered, in addition to about a third of their album merchandise.

Stoner rock, a heavy metal, psychedelic rock fusion that bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin helped create really emerged in the early 1990’s. It’s a fairly broad genre, characterized by its groove-laden and bass-heavy riffs, but Soloway says it wasn’t always what he and his bandmates have played.

Soloway’s music-making began 15 years ago when he started playing a borrowed bass at a friend’s house, until his parents finally got him guitar. He grew up playing a lot of rock, and even prior to forming HAAZE, he and Adamson were in a rock band together.

The band ultimately ended up falling apart, but Soloway wasn’t ready to give up on the dream, and together the two formed HAAZE, with Sutherland joining later on.

Combining stoner rock with doom metal, they found a unique sound that resonated from the very first show they played, with a sound engineer offering to record them – an offer they couldn’t refuse. Soon they were in a Calgary studio, recording live off the floor, creating an authenticity to their sound which Soloway says is what sets them apart.

“A lot of (musicians) will record each instrument individually – click tracks. What we’ve done is we’re just playing together. It’s not real fabricated,” he said. “If you’re a big music nerd, you can really hear the inconsistencies. I’ll play the same section in a song, but there are inconsistencies and that’s the stuff I like.”

In the fall, they signed with Manitoba-based label Transistor 66, which has 40 bands, and really started to market “Swamp Mama.”

The album features the single, “AL,” which the band and local filmmaker Cassandra Paige Johnston recently won a Telus Storyhive grant to create a music video for. The music video was shot last week, and is now in the post-production phase.

Other songs include “Sterotypically Doomed,” as well as “Beast of the Bog,” “35 Indians,” “The Mechanic,” and title track “Swamp Mama.”

Metal blog Metal Horizons reviewed the album as being one “worthy of your time” from the “opening deafening noise of ‘Beast of the Bog’ to the thick, rip-roaring down strokes of ‘AL” HAAZE bang out jam after crusty jam with power and fury.”

It has a 27:15-minute play time, but while they had other songs they could’ve put on the record, Soloway says they really wanted to make sure every track had its own unique feel, and was record-worthy quality.

“A lot of artists tend to overdo it and have a lot of filler songs, but we like to get straight to the point,” he said, noting it’s also how each individual song is designed, too.

“We try not to do too much. The screaming….it’s not pleasant to listen to for six minutes, so we’re definitely more of a musical band.”

Now that the album is out, they’re looking to their Jan. 18 album release show in Red Deer at The Vat. They’ll be joined by Highbernation, Iron Tusk and Geoff, with the show set to begin at 9 p.m.

Tickets at the door will be $20. Advanced tickets, which can be purchased by contacting the band, will be $10. HAAZE can be found on Facebook (@HAAZEBAND), Instagram (@haaze_band), and online at https://haazeband.bandcamp.com. They can also be streamed on Spotify at https://open.spotify.com/artist/6DIMDNzjxuop6oqEPw2w2U.

The show will be the first of a mini tour, followed by a stop at Bohemia in Edmonton Jan. 17, and two shows at Calgary’s Upper Deck Public House Jan. 19 -20.

The hope is to then take their talents out east in about a month, and then do a stint out west as well, before then going south of the border to the U.S., while working around work schedules.

“I’m getting to the point now where I either go for a full-time pension, or touring,” said Soloway. “We want to be on the road. We want to be a full time band.”

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