SPEAKERVOICE
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SPEAKERVOICE

Band Alternative Metal

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By Stephanie Crosby

For all the varied music in the world, I must admit, sometimes it is lovely to be enveloped in a dirge. That is what makes me a metal fan. From the perfected sink of Opeth’s “Dirge for November” to Nirvana’s medicated grunge, any band that can achieve a depressive groove will enchant me for at least a few minutes. And so, I keep pushing play on Speakervoice’s “My Last Goodbye”. Almost guiltily. It’s a magnetic song, from a magnetic release: “The End is Coming”

Now, don’t let this let you get the wrong impression about Montreal’s Speakervoice. The band prides itself, and excels, on high-energy moshpit numbers. They remind me strongly of early (EARLY) Incubus and Hoobustank; bands that also cited influences like Pantera and Metallica, and turned out an intelligent and lighthearted jazz and funk infused metal. This beaten path of evolution hints that Speakervoice, too, may be on the road to stardom. However, Speakervoice definitely promises to bring their own flavor to the music scene.

Speakervoice is a firecracker fourpiece: Rani Kayaleh, George Xipoleas, Mihran Boudakian, and Hugo Larouche. Rather than settling into a vocal- or guitar-based sound, each member has equal opportunity to shine. Kayaleh’s vocals show a wide range of ability, from falsetto to growl. Xipoleas’ lone guitar doesn’t just sit there… He arpeggiates, harmonizes, and lays down a melodic base for each song—only to fly into a soloing frenzy. Check out “The End is Coming” and non-EP song “Lose Myself”. Boudakian’s bass creeps up to steal a few moments in the limelight on tracks like “El Diablo” and “Los Vegas”. Finally, Hugo Larouche’s drumming is just right all the way through. These musicians each impress, and thankfully the songs on “The End is Coming” give them room to show off.

As with many modern rock bands, the lyrics on “The End is Coming” are not stand-alone poetry. They are unpolished, but they fit the music. Speakervoice is a musically strong band. Not afraid to dive into uncertain territory, Speakervoice readily switch from funk mode to trip-hop mode, between time signatures, and from themes of love lost to inner rage to social commentary. This band seems ripe for further evolution.

Speakervoice hails from Canada, where they frequent spots like Café Chaos and Lion D’Or in Montreal and Toronto. Their next appearance is to be at Club Sapphir in Montreal on March 17. “The End is Coming”, their recent 7-song EP, will be available for listening on their official website, http://www.speakervoice.com/ or the band’s MySpace page at: http://www.myspace.com/speakervoice. All fans of metal, eclectic or otherwise, would do well to keep an eye on Speakervoice!


- Northeast In-Tune


Discography

2004 - 3 song demo *Pneumatic Boring*

2006 - 7 song EP *Lost in Translation* (formerly, The End is Coming)

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Bio

Do the boys of Speakervoice have muscles? Yes. Do they wear sleeveless shirts to show off said muscles? Hell yes. Some even wear camouflage shorts and have thick goatees. Does this mean Speakervoice is hardcore? In their appearance, both collectively and individually, probably. Their music however is something far more meaningful and memorable than mere hardcore, as this Montreal-based four-piece has exposed to live audiences with increasing regularity since the solidification of their lineup in late 2005. Working closely with guitarist and main songwriter Kevin Jardine of now-disbanded Montreal/L.A.-based cult rockers Slaves On Dope at Jardine’s Uplift Productions studio, Speakervoice has begun the process of transforming into a cutting-edge frontrunner in the increasingly-competitive Montreal rock scene.

The well-traveled, professionally-trained for the most part, and swarthy members of Speakervoice together create a catchy yet cunning brand of hard rock that stylistically draws from nineties legends Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains, and late-era Metallica (the Bob Rock incarnation), with a flair reminiscent of Mötley Crüe and Megadeth’s guitar-driven glory days, and distinguishing ethnic flavorings. Rather than interrupt the trademark, hook-driven consistency in their music like one very well-known Armenian band considers its formula for success among its unique fanbase, Speakervoice do like a beltsander would, smoothing the edges of their ethnic influences and truly synthesizing them with their already effective hard rock framework.

Not only are the backgrounds of Speakervoice’s members fascinating in their own right, but each also has a unique history with his instrument of choice. A child choir and opera singer who recorded as young as the age of five, singer Rani has performed twice on television on the strength of his own compositions. Splitting his time between Canada and the UK, he performed in bands, which aired on college radio, as well as co-writing and producing artists from every genre of music imaginable, in addition to being active as an EMCEE in the UK Garage/Drum N’ Bass scene. A student of legends John Pettrucci and Nuno Bettencourt, guitarist George’s training spans far wider than that of most young, local guitarists. Speakervoice’s rhythm section is comprised of bassist Mihran, the black sheep of the band who began his love affair with the bass guitar upon hearing “Looks That Kill” by Mötley Crüe, plays with a passion that cannot be taught nor bought, while drummer Hugo is a well-established professional in the Montreal scene, having earned his Bachelor in Fine Arts with a major in music, and playing in popular local top-40 cover bands.

In that the members of Speakervoice each bring with them Lebanese, Armenian, Greek, and French Canadian roots, not only could they cook up a world-class feast, but more importantly they jointly represent the near-perfect harmony that Montreal’s many cultures and ethnicities have achieved, no matter the neighborhood. With an open-minded willingness and eagerness to perform live with any style of artist, provided they are as heartfelt, Speakervoice seeks to bring their unifying vibe to music fans of all ages looking for a band they can truly believe in from top to bottom.

Speakervoice has been making such an impact that their music is currently being played on the Senshido Martial Arts DVD sold internationally. They were personally asked by Dead Brain Cells (DBC) to open for them and Anonymous at Lion D’Or for a show sponsored by Le Sang Frais, where one of their songs was later played on the internet radio site for Le Sang Frais. Furthermore, their set was so successful and popular they were featured on the DBC DVD sold internationally. To get more on the band read the review recently published in North East in Tune.

The band performs on to leave a mark in the Montreal/Toronto areas with a loyal fan base, where they have been recently asked to be interviewed on the radio for their upcoming EP, produced by ex Slaves on Dope member Kevin Jardine, titled: ‘Lost In Translation.’ They are rapidly becoming the “IT” band in their area with endless shows/invites and local promotions pushing their music to the next level.

“It’s refreshing to hear a band that is both introspective and socially and politically aware; What more can I say, this is it, this is the band.” Kevin Jardine (Slaves on Dope, Uplift Productions)