Montreal group releases second album as they continue to grow in an English-dominated music scene
The choice between singing in French and singing in English may be a deliberate choice for metal artists in Quebec, but for Nova Spei it was a matter of convenience.
Nova Spei, a Montreal band with a mix of groovy, djent and progressive metal, released their second entirely French album, Sequentis, November 12.
Dany Soucy, founding member and lead guitarist of Nova Spei, said that since releasing their debut album in 2017, they have been working on singles and collaborating with other local artists.
âAfter the album came out, we started doing a few shows, then we got on the Bam & Co – Heavy label, which represents Anonymus and BARF,â Soucy said. âThe two groups then released an album each and offered [for] us to play with them on tour.
Between 2017 and 2019, Nova Spei toured throughout Quebec and began to compose Sequentis by the end of 2019. However, due to the pandemic, the album was delayed for a year.
Earlier this year, Nova Spei frontman Dany Duplessis also appeared on the album. Our Lady of Hell by the French-speaking group Thrash La Reine.
Thrash La Reine guitarist and singer Renaud Baril said they enjoy collaborating with other metal bands who also sing in French.
âWe have booked a few shows with Nova Spei and [there is] good chemistry between the two groups, âsaid Baril.
According to CJLO Metal Director Andrew Wieler, since the biggest consumers of metal are English speakers, many bands choose to sing in English to reach a larger audience.
Many French-speaking musicians Wieler spoke to decided to sing in English because, as he described it, “the choice comes down to being a potentially bigger fish in a smaller pond, or a small fish in a huge pond. “. Since the most successful Quebec metal bands belong to the latter, newer bands that aim to replicate their success sacrifice what might distinguish them in order to please the larger English-speaking community rather than the smaller French-speaking community.
We do this for love [and] for the passion of music.
– Dany Soucy
“In Quebec, I think [the band] Voivod is the basis of what most bands thought success could [look like], so they modeled themselves on them, singing in English and everything, âWieler said.
Voivod, having opened for the famous Canadian rock band Rush in 1990, is considered not only a success for Quebec metal, but also a success for progressive metal in general. The English-speaking group began their career in 1982 and quickly became one of the first Canadian thrash groups to gain international recognition.
So although English seems to be the obvious choice for some metal bands, Wieler noted that French metal has been more prevalent in Montreal over the past 10 years.
Soucy said that when he started the band in 2012, he didn’t have a language preference. But bands like Anonymus and BARF, which have been around for over 20 years, pioneered the French metal scene in Montreal and inspired it to be open to having a singer who sings in French. When he meets the singer of the group, Dany Duplessis, who speaks very little English, French singing is more and more essential.
âWe didn’t want to get into the easy metal clichÃ© either,â Soucy added. âIn fact, I won’t quote any percentage, but a large majority of bands entering the metal scene will take the English route.
Since the Nova Spei band members are older and don’t have the ambition to tour the United States, sticking to the lyrics in French will allow them to tour Quebec and hopefully. le, in some French-speaking European countries.
Although he sings in French in a genre where most listeners are English-speaking, Nova Spei has booked shows until at least 2023 across the province with bands such as Anonymus, Thrash La Reine and several local bands. Once their tour is over, they will start thinking about releasing a third album, as Soucy is certain that Nova Spei will continue to grow within the metal scene despite its large English speaking majority.
Regardless of what the future may hold for the band, the guitarist emphasized that Nova Spei creates music primarily for the love they have for it, not for the fame. They are also open to collaborate with anyone, known or unknown.
âEven if someone who had just created a group wrote to us, wanting to collaborate, [weâd be open to it]. We do this for love [and] for the passion for music, âsaid Soucy.