Culture | Growling against capitalism

Derelict’s new LP, Perpetuation

To the uninitiated, heavy metal can often sound like  guttural screaming and squealing distortion, but the music is far more to the people that love it. Eric Burnet of Montreal-based technical death metal band Derelict recently sat down to talk about Perpetutation, his band’s new album, as well as the genre in general, helping a metal neophyte gain some appreciation for the genre.

Perpetuation is the band’s second album after 2009’s Unspoken Words. Burnet is the lead singer of Derelict and also behind most of the band’s lyrics. Currently the band consists of five members: Eric Burnet, Simon Cléroux, Jordan Perry, Max Lussier, and Xavier Sperdouklis. All five members have other occupations or are still in school. Burnet works in a high school as a community worker for a program called Youth Fusion, which aims to counter Quebec’s high secondary school drop out rates.

After getting to know Burnet and a bit about the band, we began talking about their new album. Burnet explained the double meaning of the album’s name, which reflects the circumstance and survival of the band. After Unspoken Words and a national tour, several members of the band quit the group. This left the remaining members with a decision about whether or not to perpetuate their group, hence Perpetuation. The name also refers to the album’s socio-political tinged first single:

“Struggling for accumulation

Cyclical over-consumption

Finite space filled up with waste

Perpetuation of scarcity”

According to Burnet, Perpetuation is about capitalism. Essentially, the capitalist system that we exist in today continues because there is a conscious decision not to reverse capitalist inequality. The over-consumptive lifestyle of America has lead to an obesity problem, while malnourishment continues to haunt the world’s poor. According to Burnet, in theory, there should be enough food for everyone. However, greed persists and the capitalist system continues to perpetuate personal accumulation.

No less politically charged is Perpetuation’s appropriately brutal cover, illustrated by Cate Francis. It portrays a wealthy man in a burning mansion, ingesting money. Burnet says it was inspired by the popular saying, “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”

Burnet explains to me that metal music is a style that does not appeal to everyone, but, like all genres of music, it should be appreciated and acknowledged nonetheless.

Derelict is nominated in the category of metal group of the year for the upcoming 13th Annual Independent Music Awards in Toronto this March, the only east coat band in the running. In addition,  Derelict is currently in the running to be featured in the Heavy MTL festival this August.