Early Canadian metal has always been the forgotten little brother of an already underdog musical genre. While many American and European metal bands garnered at least some success, Great White North-based acts such as Anvil, Razor, Sacrifice and Piledriver never attained the same recognition as their contemporaries.
But with time, tape-trading and the internet, most of these bands are starting to see their international profile blossom exponentially. Such is the case behind the resurrection of Toronto thrash/heavy metal stalwarts Piledriver — now dubbed The Exalted Piledriver. The band wilted into obscurity some 22 years ago. They hung up their guitars and studded leather after minimal success with their sophomore opus, Stay Ugly. Leader Gord "Pile Driver" Kirchin unsuspectingly stumbled on to their legacy.
"It was a real gob-smacker when I got a website going," Kirchin admits. "I gave up on music a long time ago.
"The music industry didn't give a shit about me, so I quietly went away. A while ago, though, I put up a site about [post-Piledriver band] Dogs With Jobs, and everyone was asking about Piledriver. I thought that had failed miserably, but there were people from, like, the Philippines asking about us. The record weasels said we were a failure. You mean record weasels lie?"
Kurchin took the pleas for a return to heart and sought out a functioning unit. He found the likes of guitarist Mark Kopernicky (stage name Kinky Pork Cream), drummer Gerry Keough (Glace Frothfritter) and bassist Robert Tollefson (Lobo Elf Snort).
Inspired by their abilities and commitment, coupled with a stellar European tour, Kurchin started writing new material. Piledriver's resulting third full-length — a blast of thrash, metal and punk titled Metal Manifesto — is ultimately complete.
"The universe has finally aligned to allow Piledriver to do this," Kirchin says. "I was quite the doubter — cynical about the business, having tried so many times and failed.
"But my former manager asked what I had to lose. I realized he was right, so we gave it a shot. And now we've got Metal Manifesto."
With Piledriver finally solidified and raring to go, Kirchin teems with excitement. He's optimistic about the band's future for a change, and asserts that Metal Manifesto is only the beginning of a long-anticipated return to form.
"There never was another Piledriver. This is it because these boys make the sounds that come out my head. I had really given up on the industry, so I wouldn't be here as Piledriver if it weren't for them.
"The past band just wanted to make noise and get drunk. I'd had enough of getting up on stage and the songs being ruined. We were imitating Piledriver instead of being Piledriver.
"Once I gave up, that's when the gods gave me these guys, and now Metal Manifesto. The poor planet is going to be subjected to my face way more than it should be over the next few years. I had given up before, but now I'm determined to do this until I drop."