Atlas Shrug
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Atlas Shrug

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Rock Metal


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Calgary Band "Atlas Shrug" Relocates To The Danforth"

‘Progressive’ is one of the most loaded words in music. On one hand, it implies something new and exciting. One the other, it conjures up images of 14-minute keyboard solos and bands like Kansas, Coheed and Cambria, and other artists who didn’t know how to quit when they were ahead, namely before the keyboard solo.

Progressive music has found some respectability in heavier genres of music, with Tool being notable for their rehabilitation of progressive metal into something people actually want to listen to. Enter Atlas Shrug, a Calgary foursome who have relocated to the Danforth with one thing on their collective mind: to make progressive music that not only sounds great, but has a profound impact on the listener and how they think about the world around them.

The Danforth music scene into which Atlas Shrug has thrown themselves is primarily divided into two camps, the indie-pop crowd (Danforth-area indie-poppers Paint were recently voted a favourite by listeners on 102.1 the Edge), and the bluesy singer-songwriters. Coming into an environment that tends toward lighter tunes is a challenge, but it’s one that Atlas Shrug is prepared for, having spent three years honing their skills in the comparatively desolate Alberta heavy music scene. “In Toronto each music scene is more developed”, says lead guitarist Steve Frise, “In Alberta you can do a few shows in a few cities and if you want to leave you have to drive to Vancouver. If you’re not playing country or classic rock, it’s hard out west.”

It’s the challenge of playing difficult music under difficult circumstances that ensures Atlas Shrug’s efforts will be rewarded. In 2009 the band released their self-titled full-length debut. Shortly afterward, the band packed up for Toronto’s east side, where they have begun work on their second album. In the meantime, they’ve been performing a jazz version of the album around the city, and making contacts in the Toronto music industry. “You know a song has substance when you can play it in different ways,” says Steve, “The jazz thing could work negatively for us, but it’s just as likely to work out well, and we’ve all got jazz backgrounds, so it’s fun for us to try.” Where does the jazz influence come from? “We try to listen to everything, even stuff we don’t like,” replies vocalist Glenn Gosney, “There are good ideas in every style of music.”

This broad range of influences, from jazz to metal and even pop (the band’s jazz set includes a cover of Maroon 5’s ‘This Love’), shows that the band is willing to be inspired by anything that tickles their fancy. Atlas Shrug straddles genres to the point that the band wonders if they can be pigeonholed as a ‘metal’ band, “I don’t think we’re a metal band”, offers Khi Mattu, Atlas Shrug’s bassist, “we just like playing it heavy and hard”. Steve offers some more insight into what Atlas Shrug is by pointing at their fanbase, “Metalheads hate us. We’re not chugging away in 4/4 time and I think that alienates some of the die-hards”.

Atlas Shrug’s music is complex and, yes, progressive. What you get from Atlas Shrug is complex time-changes, philosophical and thoughtful lyrics, and hidden messages. ‘The Reminder’, the standout track from the album, features a bridge that incorporates Morse code, allusions to the 2012 doomsday prophecy and a meditative call for justice and social and mental awareness. This is a band that the Danforth has not seen before, and they’re the kind of band that will strike a chord with Toronto listeners.

With a second album on the way, and touring beginning in their new home, Atlas Shrug is a promising new addition to the Danforth and to Toronto. They offer Danforth listeners a great experience in an under-appreciated genre. Atlas Shrug may be progressive, but they’ve got their feet firmly planted in new and exciting territory, and they have no plans to recruit a keyboardist anytime soon. - On The Danforth Magazine

"The Whole World In Their Hands - Edmonton's Atlas Shrug Strive For Originality (January 2008)"

It is said that college is the place where you can experiment with certain things. Whether it be with men, women, illicit substances or alcohol, college is the place to do it. For four young men who met at college, that experimentation comes in the form of music.
Meet Atlas Shrug, a progressive metal band from Edmonton. The players come from across the province but all met at Grant Macewan College, where they studied music for two years. An experience that vocalist Glen Gosney says helps him understand the music his band creates.
“We are working with these really hard time signatures, so music school has really helped me to interpret those things and be able to actually understand them and have then not be overwhelming,” said Gosney.
The music of Atlas Shrug can be classified as “edgy,” “heavy” and most of all, “original”. An aspect of music that solely drives the band, says bassist Khi Mattu.
“Playing original music is the number one priority for me as a musician and I can probably speak for these guys as well,” he said, referring to his bandmates sitting on both sides of him.
The band’s influences span across the musical spectrum from bands like Tool and Meshuggah to genres of funk and jazz. You can hear the diversity in the music as well. While one song may sound like a Tool song with grunge vocals, another can sound like heavy blues-metal with jazz progressions littered throughout.
Most bands will be together for a few months before they start playing shows at local pubs and bars, but Atlas Shrug locked themselves in their basement for 18 months and have played mere hours collectively on stage, but according to the band it has all been worth it.
“It has been a hell of a process in that last year-and-a-half, but it has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life, so far and it is something that I am really proud of,” said Mattu.
A career in music these days is quite risky with the record labels’ future uncertain and file sharing so popular, but Atlas Shrug feels that record labels are still important and will always play a role in the success of good bands.
“There is something to be said about a professional setting and laying it down with somebody who produces for their livelihood,” said Mattu.
Atlas Shrug guitarist Steve Frise added that if record labels completely sink, it would do more harm to the already fragile industry.
“If every band self-released, there would be a lot more problems,” said Frise.
“Because people would have to order solely off the internet and there are certain demographics that can’t order off the internet, like young kids and older people, so you don’t want to list the distribution aspect of it.”
One of the hardest things about forming a band, is finding the right players. After that, it gets even tougher.
Bands usually speak of “walking on egg shells” around criticisms, but not Atlas Shrug, they keep everything out in the open with a lot of room for critical thinking.
“Nothing is sacred between us. If something doesn’t sound good, it’s going to get brought out right away and that is the fastest way to solve things,” said Mattu.
Another tough thing for bands these days, is dealing with the constant pressure to stand out from the rest. The fact that there are so many bands out there trying to do just this, makes it seem nearly impossible. Atlas Shrug drummer, Ian Morris says that he sees it as more of an opportunity than a disadvantage.
“I think there is a big demographic of people that want to get refreshed with new music. I think they want to hear more bands come out with really new, original ideas in different time signatures and different sounds, so we see that as a chance to reach these people.”
Atlas Shrug is not a garage band hoping to play a few shows in their youthful years. They are serious musicians, making serious music that reflects all aspects of life-politics, philosophy and even mathematics.
“We almost have a spiritual connection with music in a sense, because we will take geometrical ideas and political ideas and incorporate them into our music, not just lyrically,” said Frise.
“We even have some Morse code stuff. We take ideas from everything we are learning and we incorporate into music and lyrics.”
For more on Atlas Shrug and their music, check out their website at
- The Reflector


Atlas Shrug - 2008 - (Self Titled EP)
Atlas Shrug - 2009 - (Self Titled Full Length)
Untitled - 2013 - (1 of 4 new EP's to be released in 2013)



Atlas Shrug traces its origin back to Edmonton, Alberta in early 2007, where all four members met after attending and graduating from the renowned Grant Macewan University music program. After deciding to pursue music as both a creative outlet and a life-long profession, the band's four members solidified their intentions with a 4 song EP released in mid 2007.

The band followed up the release of the EP with their eponymous debut album in September of 2009, recorded at Mind For Music Studios in Edmonton with Stew Kirkwood at Sound Extractor Studios completing the mixing and mastering processes. With this recording the group went against many modern recording industry standards, refusing to use digital enhancements such as pitch correction (auto-tune), electronic instruments and drum triggering to capture what they feel is the essence of true rock music and what makes their sound unique: well thought out, tightly rehearsed arrangements of new musical ideas, performed by an adept group of young musicians without the need for digital aids.

Dozens of shows and numerous Western Canadian tours later, and after enjoying a significant amount of success both nationally and internationally, the band picked up and moved to Toronto in September of 2010 to finish pre-production and record their sophomore effort.

Atlas Shrug’s music is characterized by the unique use of poly-rhythms, time signature changes, melodic vocals and introspective lyrics. The goal is to make complex musical concepts sound simple; making new things familiar, and familiar things new. The group maintains strict philosophies towards the music they create; their goal is to push the limits of rock music while not sacrificing melody or their artistic integrity. Already receiving staggering praise from music lovers and industry personnel alike, the group intends to use their music and compelling live show to continue to gain support locally and internationally in the coming years.