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Aggression Frontman Brian Langley Discusses New Album, "Feels Like Punk, Sounds Like Thrash" And Expresses Desire For Canadian Thrash Metal Tour

Much like its main influence, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, thrash metal is a treasure chest that seemingly has no bottom. While everyone talks about the Big Four and German stalwarts like Kreator, Sodom and Destruction, one country that's always put out quality work is Canada. From the roots being grown by Anvil to such bands as Exciter, Razor and Sacrifice, thrash fans can find so many treats in the Great White North.

One Canadian group which will delight thrash treasure hunters is Aggression. Formed in Montreal, Quebec, the band released one superb album, "The Full Treatment" in 1987 before going their separate ways, later being relaunched in Vancouver, British Columbia by guitarist Denis "Sasquatch" Barthe. Aggression are now more active than ever, releasing "Fragmented Spirit Devils" in 2016, before following this in 2018 with "Feels Like Punk, Sounds Like Thrash" and with another record already on the way. Doors seem to be opening left and right for Aggression and rightly so, as their abrasive brand of thrash metal packs one of hell of a punch.

At their first ever show in the United Kingdom this week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with vocalist Brian Langley to discuss the new record, the band's resurrection, the secret as to why every album title begins with the letter F and the overall impact of Canadian thrash. You can watch it in full below, while an excerpt reads as follows:

Diamond Oz: It's great to finally have you over here. I believe this is the first European tour that Aggression has done.

Brian Langley: No, this is actually our second European tour but it's our first time in the UK. We're really excited to be here, especially with our label Dissonance Records being from here so we're on home soil, so to speak.

Oz: Obviously it's a really cool lineup; Brujeria, Venemous Concept, Sangre, how did you end up on the bill?

Brian: Well, we got hooked up with Mad Booking, who used to handle Brujeria and they're associated with Doomstar, who are putting on the tour. It was really great how it happened, we signed with Mad Booking and a week later we had this tour offer. I mean the band's been around, well it was formed in 1984, broke up in '89, reunited for a few shows in 2004 but the band never played outside of Quebec. So right now, especially with the album out, we're really trying to make up for lost time. There's a lot of fans who love the "Full Treatment" album and they never got to see the band play live so it's so cool when we play shows and fans come up to us, some of them almost in tears saying, "You have no idea. I've been waiting thirty two years to see this band play live. Never in my life did I think I would hear 'Frozen Aggressor' played live by Aggression" and it really means something to us because obviously without the fans there's no point in doing it.

In 2014 when Sasquatch was talking to me while we were in another band called Cradle To Grave, he said, "We're working on these songs and nobody's really picking us up, no label interess, but I keep getting emails about Aggression from festivals in Europe but I don't have a band." By this point, Sasquatch was living in the West coast of Canada and the rest of the old band lived on the East coast, so there was no way to make it work and not only that but there was limitation issues too, some of the past members weren't able to play the music due to medical issues for example or they weren't able to move out to the West coast because they've built lives in the East and so they're not willing to uproot and move to the West for a band, which is totally understandable.

The coolest thing is, aside from Gate, who sadly of course passed away, I've met every single living member of Aggression, except for "Butcher" and every single member that we've met, they've all been very supportive, they're really happy about the work that we're putting in, especially right now. Even Bernie, the original guitar player and the original bass player, they're messaging us saying, "Hey, you're living the dream that we had back in 1985 and we're so happy that it finally happened." So to have their blessing to perform with the band and do what we're doing, that to me is just so awesome. It feels really good to know they're fully behind what we're doing.

Oz: Aggression is one of those bands that, like Death Angel for example, that have been releasing more material in recent years than in the heyday, so to speak. Obviously there was only the one album in the eighties, then one in the mid 2000s before coming back again and releasing two more albums in the past three years so Aggression's really hitting it hard now.

Brian: Oh absolutely. We first started talking about reforming the band in 2014 and we had a lineup by the end of the year but one guitarist Dave Watson got a hernia so he went down for a few months and so we weren't really able to practice for a period of time. So in early 2015 when Dave was all healed up, practices resumed and everything and so our very first show back was the Defenders Of The Old 3 festival in Brooklyn, New York on March 13th.

But the thing with Sasquatch is, back in the eighties he made a whole bunch of cassette tapes with riffs and I kid you not, there's an Aggression vault and there's close to a hundred songs that we haven't touched that Sasquatch wrote back when Aggression was having its first run. Some of those riffs we've used, some of them we've written brand new songs that didn't rely on any of those tapes. There's a wealth of material, it's just a matter of getting to it.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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1 Comment on "Aggression Reaches Out For Canadian Thrash Tour"

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1. Ann Thrope writes:

Aggression, Anvil, Razor, Sacrifice tour...that sounds like a bloody dream!

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