Are Bringing Radical Compassion to Heavy Music
VILE CREATURE WEAR THEIR HEARTS ON THEIR SLEEVES. The Hamilton, ONbased doom metal duo composed of life partners Vic and KW have released vinyl pressings of their latest album, Glory, Glory! Apathy Took Helm!, with colourways inspired by the transgender flag; they sold vegan gummy worms to raise money for bail funds; and they contributed a track to compilation album Shut It Down, which raised over $33,000 for the Movement for Black Lives in only a few weeks.
“Our band was founded as a means for us to talk about our experiences and the things that we’ve gone through, so utilizing that as a means of spreading money around to people who need it seems like a logical next step,” says KW. “It’s metal to care, and I think being a kind and giving person is a good trait, and that’s kind of what we hope to be as people.”
“It’s very easy to just be oblivious,” adds Vic. “Everyone falls into it, apathy and such. We’re trying to fight back against it and trying to be more aware of other people’s plights and stuff, you know?”
Progressive values are woven into everything KW and Vic do, including their vegan grocery store, Coven Plant Based Marketplace, and the tattoo shop KW co-owns, Sleepy Bones, both based in Hamilton. He explains, “We try to operate them as ethical and proworker, while operating within a capitalist system we don’t agree with.”
That very system failed many during the
COVID-19 pandemic, which found countless people at economic risk in addition to the obvious health threat. Sleepy Bones had to close less than a month after opening — they’ve since reopened after fronting five months rent for a closed storefront — while Coven moved to curbside pick-up and deliveries.
Despite their hectic schedules, the duo were still able to rework their new album for a recent livestream, largely due to their belief in each other and their partnership. Says Vic to KW, “I appreciate you when you’re just like, ‘Okay, I have this vision,’ and you’ll see it through and a lot of things that have happened in our life is because you’re like, ‘I’m going to get to this point, no matter what.’”
Though recorded long before the pandemic, Glory, Glory! nevertheless reflects the present period in which seeing things as meaningless seems less like a point of view and more like a logical way of life.
“The more we kind of listened to it, we felt like maybe it was apropos to the times for it to speak to something that everybody was kind of dealing with: apathetic feelings and fighting off sadness,” says KW.
“It’s a record specifically about that; it’s about the times written before the times. It just kind of felt like maybe it would be relatable and a good idea to come out now, if it helps somebody dealing with all that stuff, because we always have a positive spin on the weird, sad stuff we’re talking about.”