Minus the Czar plays a live-to-air concert in the basement of the Kootenay Co-op Radio Station this Saturday

Minus the Czar is metal plus humour

On Saturday, Minus the Czar will headline their first show in 12 years and celebrate the release of their albums.

Some heavy sounds coming from the Kootenay Co-op Radio station Saturday night will be in celebration of local band Minus the Czar releasing two new albums.

The progressive metal band is Sean Hale on lead vocals and guitar along side Bo Faraguna on guitar and vocals. Travis Volgmann plays bass and Rob Radcliffe is the band’s drummer — one of three members who play drums. Having three drummers in the band has a unique influence on Minus the Czar’s sound.

“We often write songs that are rhythmically oriented,” says Hale. “When I write a riff, I am always thinking how I would drum it.”

While their roots are heavy, with elements of thrash metal, their newer sound is more “proggy” with more “singing than screaming” like typical metal. Their songs are technically structured with odd timing, stop-starts and abrupt time changes.

The band’s name is a tribute to a former member, Nicholas Faraguna who moved to Japan to pursue a modeling career (seriously). Minus Nicholas — also the name of the last Czar of Russia — the band became Minus the Czar.

The group of guys has been playing together off and on for 15 years and a couple years ago, the band returned to their old songs. Compiling these and many new, they have two albums to release on Saturday — Empty Sea and Hellpus.

Hellpus was an alter-ego band in which Minus the Czar mates switched up their instruments, wore masks and opened up for themselves — to double up on the night’s pay cheque.

The band mates play together most Friday night’s. It is an important weekly time out from their busy lives. Most of the guys are tradesmen with families.

“We all feel like little kids when we’re jamming away,” says Hale. “Even though it’s metal and most people often think we’re angry. A lot of our songs have humour. Our song “Meat Rules” is about a love of bacon. We get a lot of laughs out of it.”

Hale says completing this project feels great, as does the accomplishment of Minus the Czar doing its own recording.

“It’s been a lot of trial and error. It’s been a learning process,” he says. “But it turned out really well because we had ultimate control. Everything is right where we want it — big heavy drum sound, which all of us were thinking about.”

On Saturday, the guys will headline their first show in 12 years and celebrate the release of their albums.

“I am stoked,” says Hale. “We’ve never done a production CD with this band so it’s great that we’re getting our music out there.”

Chinese for Travelers and Wayner will join Minus the Czar. Doors open at 8 p.m. and cost is $10 at the door. Hale says “bring earplugs.”

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