Infrared: Old School Canadian Thrash Metal Returns
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Thrash metal was a heavy metal staple in the 1980’s and it remains a dominant force in the scene today. A lot of great bands have come and gone, but one band has since reemerged – Enter Infrared.
Forming back 1985, the Ottawa natives originated when thrash metal was still a hot commodity in North America. Infrared would rock the Ottawa area for three years with their original lineup consisting of Armin Kamal (Vocals and guitar), Kirk Gidley (Guitar), Al Groulx (Drums) and Shawn Thompson (Bass) before splitting with Gidley.
Armed with a new guitarist, the band would release their demo R.I.P. (Recognition in Power) in 1988, but the band would survive the 1980’s only to call it a day in 1990 without releasing an official album or extended play due to life getting in the way according Gidley on Kamal’s behalf.
After 24 years apart, Infrared reunited in 2014 with all but Thompson returning for the second incarnation of the band. In Thompson’s place on bass came Mike Forbes, but this made little difference in the overall sound of the band. Infrared was sticking to their 1980’s thrash metal style and they were going to make it work in the 21st century.
Despite the length of time between the first and second incarnations the same obligations and frustrations existed as before. The difference this time around, however, was that the band was older, wiser and much more capable of balancing their time between metal, work and their families. This allowed for the band to resurrect many of their old tracks to the band’s debut album, No Peace, at long last.
“We never thought this would happen,” Gidley admits. “Getting positive feedback from people all over the world is a huge accomplishment.”
Despite many of the tracks being written in the 80’s the album was well-received, for a thrash metal band really can’t go wrong with eternally metal topics like war, death and destruction coupled with their aggressive style. This led the band to release two music videos for their growing army of fans – one for ‘No Peace’ and another for ‘Some Kind of Disease.’
“We are very happy with both our videos. Our good friend James Ramsay of Skytography filmed and directed both videos,” says Gidley.
As for the production of the album and marketing, it was almost completely DIY with the band handling recording, but sending it out to be mixed. As far as marketing, however, the band handled that completely themselves.
“We have been sending our music out to people by ourselves through the internet,” says Gidley. “The toughest part for sure is spreading our album, No Peace. It has been by word of mouth and sharing on social media.”
Though No Peace released in 2016 the band is already working hard on their next release. Gidley promises the next release will be an extended play that will resurrect some old tracks that didn’t make it on the album, but don’t fret yet.
“We are also writing a new album with new songs to be released in 2017…..hopefully,” Gidley says.
With their old tracks finally getting recorded, the next full length by Infrared is sure to be purely fresh tracks written by Kamal. What these tracks will touch on is anyone’s guess, but considering the band’s unwavering dedication to thrash metal, it’s likely we’ll get another hard hitting album touching on war, battle, social collapse and aggression.
As of this writing the new album is something of a closely guarded secret, but fans able to check out the band in the Ottawa area may have already heard some new material. If not, they at least got one hell of a show as Gidley describes an Infrared show as ‘tight, heavy, fast music’ just like they would want to see in a metal show. Unfortunately, the band has no plans to tour, but should demand get loud enough there’s always the possibility. For the time being, the band is sticking to their home turf and working on the new material, but who knows what 2017 might bring. Perhaps a couple new videos for the new album, but we’ll just have to wait and see.