Audio: Van Halst Stream– Questions, Debut Album Next Month

Photo Credit: Renee Robyn

Van Halst, Photo Credit: Renee Robyn


Edmonton, Alberta’s socially conscious metal band Van Halst releases debut album entitled World of Make Believe on March 4. Their third single from the album is ‘Questions’ which you can stream at this link or below:



Lead singer Kami Van Halst talks about ‘Questions’:

“I wrote Questions with my sister Brittney Grabill. This song deals with victim blaming and how the victims of sexual assault are often criticized and blamed for putting themselves in the vulnerable position, which allowed them to be abused or exploited. This is wrong, we should not be blaming or scrutinizing the victims of abuse. We need to remove the stigma and put the blame where it rightly belongs- on the abuser.”


Van Halst - World Of Make Believe album cover 2016 ghostculltmag

World of Make Believe track listing:
01. The End (4:31)
02. Save Me (4:12)
03. Ryan’s Song (4:11)
04. World of Make Believe (3:46)
05. Questions (3:23)
06. Denying Eyes (4:08)
07. Monster (3:29)
08. Plastic Smile (5:11)
09. Put Him Down (4:33)
10. Perfect Storm (4:44)

Album Length: 42:14



Striker – Stand In The Fire

Striker Stand in the Fire album cover 2016 ghostcultmag

I’ve always enjoyed the era from eighties to the early nineties when it comes to metal. It was truly a period that defined itself as a sound between the guitar squeals and vocal screams. As time went on there’s been a lot of material that has come out that has been amazing, but seemed to have abandoned the old sound and feel. Now enter Stand In The Fire (Record Breaking Records), the latest release by Striker from Edmonton. From the opening drums of ‘Phoenix Lights’, there is no mistake that their intention is to make you fall in love with metal all over again.

The title track ‘Stand In The Fire’ leaps from the speakers like frontman Dan Cleary himself leaps and bounds energetically across the stage. ‘The Iron Never’ Lies kicks off with precision juggling between drummer Adam Brown and guitarist Tim Brown. In the all instrumental track ‘Escape From Shred City’, Tim even gives both Steve Vai and John 5 a run for their money on the fretboard. ‘United’ fires off as a war cry piercing the soul with the message that nothing has or will tear them apart. This track is the crown jewel of the album.

Finishing as strongly as they started ‘One Life’ dizzies the senses vocally and instrumentally until the last note fades away. While the older metal sound may seem less relevant to some of the newer metal heads, most will appreciate having the classic sound still around and being done right. I know I certainly do.



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Fuck The Facts – Desire Will Rot


There’s something in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada’s water (or maybe it’s the Molson) that just lends itself to riff writing. Need proof? Fuck the Facts have just released their tenth studio album, Desire Will Rot (Noise Salvation). And that’s without counting all their previous EPs, compilations and like 4 billion splits. Eighteen years later and bastardized grindcore still lives.

And not only live, but slay as well. Age has not dulled the musical blade of Fuck the Facts as they spend the better part of 30 minutes hitting you with an endless volley of liver punches. Rippers like ‘Prey,’ ‘Everywhere Yet Nowhere’ and skull splitting ‘Solitude’ will beat you to the point of handing over any monetary possessions. It’s like a sonic cocktail containing an ounce of Trap Them, one part Napalm Death, and a dash of Ion Dissonance. Garnish said highball with some of the most ferocious vocals in the business courtesy of Mel Mongeon.

And while they can jackhammer beats with best of them, this Canadian brand of grindcore also allows for moments of breadth not unlike the mighty Pig Destroyer. ‘La Mort I’ and its immediate follow-up ‘La Mort II’ contain some rather neat lead guitar work that at times almost flirts with sounding progressive.

And much to my pleasant surprise the album ends with a series of slower jams starting with ‘False Hope’ which is all fury and flames in its initial two minutes only to give way to Eyehategod like waves of sludge. ‘Circle’ and ‘Nothing Changes’ continue to lengthen the running times and widen the sonic soundscape. Album closer ‘Nothing Changes’ is a particular highlight as it’s more in line with Serpentine Path or Converge at their slowest moments.

By the sounds of it, bastardized grindcore has a long life ahead of it. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to try some of that Molson.