In our latest feature about metal labels that are worthy of being covered, here’s a Canadian one which, upon further exploration, we’ve found to be rather remarkable and even underrated. Some of the releases on PRC Music are absolutely right up there with the best and in addition to covering most of them, we’ve also conducted a short interview with the label owner Remi Cote.
Transcending Obscurity (Kunal Choksi): When did you decide to form PRC Music and what was your motive behind it?
PRC Music (Remi Cote): Well, I was selling my record store and decided I should start another label to “Keep me busy” when I get back to Canada after spending Fall 2011 / Winter 2012 in the south of Florida with my wife Lucie. at that same time, we’ve sold one of our houses and decided that we would move east and live full time in our summer house / vacation house. It was supposed to be a low profile thing but we’ve started with a bang (we did the first Beyond Creation album) and we, my wife and I, went with the flow. I have been in this racket for like ever, i’m 46 now and I had my first label when I was 19, in 1989. So its in my blood I guess.
TO: How has the journey been so far? Can you tell us about your most successful release thus far?
PRC Music: Ups and downs as with every starting business… had distribution problems and so forth but now its all settled up and we are available from hundreds of accounts worldwide. It is still tricky but we make it work. Best sellers would be Gorelust, Deviant Process, Black Crown Initiate, Valknacht… its mostly good for most of them. We are having a problem with selling stuff like black and viking metal otherwise its all good. Doom has been good for us.
TO: What is your take on piracy and how do you think it’s affecting the growth of your label?
PRC Music: Bah… if you’re too much of a low life to support bands you like and buy the music you listen to, not much I can do and to be honest I really don’t care. We’ve been growing relatively fast and this mean people are buying our stuff so its not all doom and gloom ya know…
TO: Which new releases can be expect from your label?
PRC Music: My schedule for 2017 is already booked, so we will have a lot until the end of next year but here are a few name for the fun of it: new Mesrine, new Doom’s Day, debut Wrath of Echoes, debut Seputus (CD & LP), New Daedalean Complex and their 3rd album re-issued, Saccage re-issue of teir first album, their new album on CD and LP and a split album with Whipstriker, we also do the new Whipstriker, debut Eyexist (with Gorelust and Kataklysm members), new Claustrofobia, the second album from Montgolfiere on CD & LP, new Hybreed Chaos and a lot more… 8 or 9 to go this year and about 17 next year. Busy! 😉
TO: You also started a magazine by the name of Unleashed. Can you share your thoughts about the same?
PRC Music: I am fed up with so called mags not giving a shit when asking for promos etc… some fucking idiots are saying that if we send them promos and take advertisement they will give us good reviews. At the end of the day, we sell as much not doing the promo but we want the people to discover our bands so it’s a necessary evil, so we’ve decided to do our own thing and give some more exposure to our bands. We have hired an editor and she’s from Sweden. She did a bang up job on the second issue, she have “carte blanche” with the whole thing. So far it been cool, people are sharing it etc. We give free advertising to some of our friends.
TO: What is the difference between PRC Music and 4ONE8 Records? In the past, you ran Great White North Records and a slew of sub-labels under it. What’s the difference between them all – is it style based? Has it proved to be effective for you?
PRC Music: Yeah, it is mostly style based but with say 4ONE8, we signed the bands together – my wife and I. PRC Music is all my decisions. This sub-label is doing well actually. We are pleasantly surprised. And hey, the bands are awesome so its easier to start this way!
TO: Thank you very much for your replies. We can only hope your label will grow in all ways and explore more formats. Speaking of which, have you explored more physical formats such as cassettes and vinyls? If yes, how was your experience with them?
PRC Music: I did tapes in the past and we might do more in the near future. We are expecting our first LP release soon, the debut Seputus album – this is crushing beyond belief! Thanks for the little intie Kunal!
Here are some of the releases that we’ve found noteworthy on the labels PRC Music as well as their sub-label 4ONE8 Records –
Pyrrhon (US) – Running Out of Skin (Technical Death Metal)
The masters of twisted death metal music are back with a new EP and it’s everything you expect and more. It’s a cacophonous mishmash of sorts of the vilest kind of death metal you can imagine – Portal, Ulcerate, Deathspell Omega, it’s all there but rather than letting the atmosphere play its tricks on you, these guys are using their offbeat compositions to do the work instead. It’s fearsome, intimidating and challenging all the same time and admittedly, it takes a few listens to wrap your head fully around this – thankfully it’s only an EP but it sure doesn’t feel so. Deciphering this convoluted masterpiece is a joy in itself, especially in a time when you’re fed with oversimplified music created with the intention of increasing the band’s fan base rather than marching ahead sticking to sound that you can call it your own and letting sheer art take precedence over everything. The Death cover of the song Crystal Mountain is refreshing as well. – Kunal Choksi (Editor)
Replicant (US) – Worthless Desires (Hypnotic Death Metal)
This has got to be one of my highlights of the year. Imagine hypnotic, dissonant death metal but one that’s coherent and catchy not unlike Adramelech or Demilich, although it has more in common with Gorguts than either of them. This little EP is absolutely mesmerizing and ends up as being effective and engaging than something that’s overly flashy or abstract (which is something that I find annoying). The riffs have that delectable drunken quality which I find myself addicted to strangely. All in all, a true revelation and definitely a terrific find for PRC Music. – Kunal Choksi (Editor)
Spirit of Rebellion (Canada) – The Enslavement Process (Death Metal)
So Canadian death metal bands aren’t all about technicality and can also play some balls-out crushing death metal as well. I love the ferocity of this band – the heaving force is partly reminiscent of Deamon, but this one fits alongside the heavy weights like Hour of Penance and (early) Fleshgod Apocalypse too. The sound is fantastic and makes you feel as if you’re wading in a tank through an active battlefield – the approach is what makes the difference here. The forceful might and tremendous execution make Spirit of Rebellion a band to watch out for. This one has all the potential to make waves in the international circuit. Highly recommended. – Kunal Choksi (Editor)
Montgolfière – s/t (Stoner Metal)
If you’re planning on going on a road trip through desert highways this summer and need the perfect soundtrack, look no further! Playful, yet surprisingly heavy, psychedelic stoner jams with a touch of jazzy prog is what the swedes in Montgolfière brings. With a respectful nod to those who paved the way, they make their own expression without falling into cliches and used-up recipes of old. Listening to this album makes you want to kick back in the sun, catch a buzz and let all worries be as the mind separates from the body. – Eirik Vandal
Purgatoire (Canada) – Passé Décomposé (Death/Thrash Metal)
Reminiscent of Vader‘s ‘The Ultimate Incantation’, this is death/thrash metal of the highest order. I’m impressed at how they’ve kept the thrashy flavour intact despite the bludgeoning death metal heaviness. This is what keeps this music interesting and exciting. Without the thrash urgency, most death metal bands tend to sound dull after a while. This is an upgraded take on the death/thrash sound that you have in mind from the late ’80s – the riffs are humongous and elevate the entire album. The fat could be trimmed for a faster speed but this is only the Canadian band’s debut and they have a great future in store for them if they’re able to get themselves heard. – Kunal Choksi (Editor)
Napalm Raid (Canada) – 2010-2015 (Crustcore)
Napalm Raid is easily one of the best crust punk/d-beat bands out of those that are currently active, though their releases over the years have sometimes been hard to track down. Last year’s ‘2010-2015’ CD that PRC put out fixed that, giving listeners easy access to everything the Canadian band has recorded since their inception. Arranged in order from newest to oldest, there’s a whopping twenty four tracks of unrelenting material that hits you with the force of a freight train colliding with a semi. You’ll notice as you go in order that the recording quality varies, as the rawness factor only seems to amplify the further back in the group’s discography you go. With unmatched intensity and vocals that often sound like they’re demonic entities dropping nuclear bombs upon this world, Napalm Raid will leave a permanent mark on anyone who chooses to check this one out. – Chris Dahlberg
Chemicide (Costa Rica) – Episodes of Insanity (Thrash Metal)
The thing about thrash metal is, it’s got to be fast and lethal, and this one hits you like a bullet. It’s been a while since I heard clean and gritty thrash metal like this. If I may, it reminds me of Exalter from Bangladesh, but perhaps a sharper and faster version. Musically, it resembles a cross between Slayer and early Kreator which is never a bad thing. Throw in the Bay Area thrash for good measure. And what we’ve got ultimately is very solid and enjoyable thrash metal that isn’t trying too hard. Hailing from Costa Rica, Chemicide should definitely be better known and acknowledged for their exploits. – Kunal Choksi (Editor)
Ass (US) – Shitty Wizard VS. Super Satan (Crossover/Thrash Metal)
Crossover thrash has been back in the spotlight in recent years, with bands like Iron Reagan and Foreseen leading the charge. One group you might not have come across yet is Texas’ Ass, who released their debut full length ‘Shitty Wizard VS. Super Satan’ last fall. That may be a hell of a title, and gives you an idea of the kind of tongue in cheek humor you’ll find on display throughout the course of the album. But this isn’t just another party thrash band hiding behind mediocre riffs, as not only do they have razor sharp production values but the songs are catchy as hell! What we’ve got here is high energy riffing that’s reminiscent of some of the best Excel and DRI had to offer with sleazy vocals and lyrical content that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s fun and has a bite to it, so crank this one up! – Chris Dalhberg
Fuck the Facts/ Fistfuck – Split (Grindcore)
Right before Fuck the Facts released their best recorded material till date in August last year (that’s ‘Desire Will Rot’, in case you’re wondering), the Canadian grindcore band released an excellent split in May with Fistfuck, a rather underrated grind band from Quebec. This was jointly released on vinyl by Fuck the Facts‘ Noise Salvation alongside Fistfuck‘s d7i Records. PRC Music was quick on picking up the CD pressing duties. I’m glad they did because this one is a clear standout in their oeuvre. The music is some of the most well-written, focused contemporary grindcore music. Fuck the Facts are completely in their element playing the emotionally purging, grind-heavy music they’ve come to be known for. The sound and the production is very much their own, only perfected perhaps. There are 10 songs in all that go on for about 8 minutes without a single weak moment. It is only astounding how the band is so prolific and dangerously consistent with their music. Fistfuck on the other hand go on for about 12 minutes and in their time render enough damage; aural as well as sensory. The band plays quality grind, with some out-and-out thrashy bits. They grow from track-to-track, saving their best for last. I do not normally endorse promotional catchphrases but PRC music might have just been right in calling this “the sickest split album ever created in Canada”. – Anoop Bhat
Deviant Process (Canada) – Paroxysm (Technical Death Metal)
The Quebec region in Canada is known for its technical death metal bands. Deviant Process are the newest addition with their debut album ‘Paroxysm’ which was released earlier this year. The band starts the assault of superb technical guitar riffs and growled vocals from the first track itself. The only respite are the two instrumental tracks; the other tracks on the album exceed six minutes in length which does not make the album an easy listen. That little detail aside, this is a smashing debut from Deviant Process. I look forward to them continuing in the tradition of Augury, Gorguts, Neuraxis and others. – Peter Kotilakalapudi
Saturna (Spain) – Self titled (Doom Metal)
Saturna are a Spanish doom metal band who also throw in some 70s inspired blues rock in their tunes. Fans of Black Sabbath and Pentagram would definitely cotton on to the heavy, and slow, down tempo music of these bad boys. They draw their influences from most of the usual suspects: horror films, psychedelia, the occult, witchcraft but the derivative nature of their art doesn’t make it inferior. Saturna add their own twisted originality to the mix and the result is a solid album of 9 tracks that grind and smash through the stereo. Grimdark from Barcelona that is at once enjoyable and groovy. There are a few great tracks on this album such as Birds in Cages and Disease the riffs are thick and keep getting piled on relentlessly. The drums are thunderous and the vocals are top notch. The production is flawless too. Looking forward to more from Saturna and the PRC label. – Dinesh Raghavendra
Tentacle (US) – Ingot Eye (Doom Metal)
Tentacle was born in 2012, as a kind of side project of the legendary Ice Dragon, released a debut EP the same year and the follow up album ‘Ingot Eye’ came out 2013. This is one big chunk of repetitive, distorted, slow, heavy doom, ingeniously structured with well set subtle changes in a minimalistic way, to lift the heaviness and break the repetition, just a bit, to not let your attention slip away, but it never really looses its heavy grip and massive sound. Instead it builds an otherworldly atmosphere that sucks you in immediately. Right from the start it unfolds its pitch-black Lovecraftian imagery and carries you away into abysmal horrors. Its repetitive, hypnotic riffs grab your soul, drive you into a psychedelic, lysergic dream to get hold of your mind as well. Distorted, drawn out, twisted insanity amplified in reverb pushes and drags you to your inevitable doom. Through nauseating filth, numbing anguish you sense the unfathomable horror you, yourself are about to unleash, unable to defy. You are the one to wake the monstrous beast…… A horror movie turned into sound. – Ulla Roschat
Show of Bedlam (Canada) – Roont (Sludge Metal)
Show of Bedlam fits somewhere between the heavy occult atmospheres of bands like Windhand and Occultation and bludgeoning riffs of Godflesh and Electric Wizard. But as I delve deeper into their debut album I see how detailed their sonic imagery is. Amongst the evil riffs and sinister atmospheres you can find elements of noise-rock experimentation à la Sonic Youth, buzzing keyboards, and somewhat of an 80´s hardcore feeling. Add to this the eccentric guitar playing, pounding rhythm section, hissing keyboards and top it all with the madness of vocalist Paulina Richards. Often times with a lot of sludge bands I get bored with the vocals as they lack variety. That is not the case with Show of Bedlam. Throughout the album she varies from spoken word, crooning, angry shouting to the most volatile shrieks and growls. The shifting characteristics of her voice is just another strength and adds more dimension to the already pretty dynamic instrumentals. I somehow missed out on this when it first came out back in March, but after only a week of listening to this, its becoming clear that this is probably one of the best sludge albums of the year. – Eirik Vandal
Saccage (Canada) – Vorace (Punk/Black/Crust)
Though you may not speak french and aren’t too familiar with Quebec’s underground music scene, Saccage should appeal to both fans of noisy, rebellious punk, thrash, and even the most brutal death metallers. Musically somewhere between Discharge and Darkthrone, Saccage is a mix of unforgiving raw punk and black metal. The band themselves describe their music as Satanic Death Crust, and that is a fair description, considering how intense and gritty their sound is. You’ll feel exhausted after listening to this 9-track release, and I mean that in the best way possible. From the first track to the last, the There´s also 3 live-cuts at the end which gives you an idea of the ferocity this band showcases on stage. Sure, punk as a whole has lost its initial meaning and purpose over the years as it has branched out and been watered down. But instead of whining about how much “better” things used to be, you should look to where the real punk music belongs, the underground. And as long as we have bands like Saccage fanning the flames, the true spirit of punk will live on. – Eirik Vandal
Badass Commander (Canada) – Bad Intentions (Death Metal)
With a name like Badass Commander, how could I not check this band out?! The Quebec based death metal band released their debut EP ‘Bad Intentions’ back in November and it’s a strong first statement that will appeal to anyone that likes their death metal on the old-school side with a healthy dose of thrash influences. There’s plenty of that lumbering, heavy riffing on display here but Badass Commander likes to up the speed quite a bit and delivers plenty of blistering riffs that recall those earlier days when death metal was splintering off from the more extreme variants of thrash. With killer riffs and a wide range of vocals that spans everything from raspier screams to guttural growls, these guys know what the spirit of death metal is all about. – Chris Dahlberg