Years back I was dragged to a show in Toronto’s Kensington Market. It was sort of a guerrilla affair—not only was it BYOB, but it was held in a trashy little skate shop, its storefront packed full of smelly, scraggly dudes (and their equally scraggly, slightly less smelly girlfriends). In its backroom, a makeshift skate park consisting of little more than mini-pipe and a few dinky, chipped rails, there was sort of a stage (but not really). The whole thing didn’t vibe with me at the time. Firstly, I hadn’t picked up or stood on a skateboard for years by that point and secondly, my buddy thought it prudent to bring mass quantities of Shlitz, which for the uninitiated, is cheap and disgusting. So after a couple beers I left.
Turns out I was missing one of Rammer’s last shows. At the time this meant nothing to me. Now? It fucking sucks. See, Rammer are flat out incredible. They’re volatile and disgusting and their unrelenting, uncompromising blend of death and thrash metal is exactly the kind of sound the increasingly puerile metal scene needs more of. What makes it more bittersweet is that they’d been toying with new material before their split. More on that later.
Throughout their ten year career, Rammer were as active as anyone in the Toronto metal scene but the fact remains that their early work just isn’t very good. It’s not until 2006’s Cancer that the band really came into their own. Fitting, then, that they’d break up just two years later. Call it a legacy left behind, though, because Cancer packs one hell of a punch. The vocals are what you’d get if you took Randy Blythe, removed all of the irritating post-processing and added talent: intelligible but slimy mids dragged from the beer filled ditches of Southern Ontario. As for their music, imagine a grittier, less melodic Deaththrash Assault or a more dynamic, less incessant Get Fucking Slaughtered.
Following the band’s split, bassist Phil “Philthy Gnaast” Zeller and drummer Al “Biddle” Chambers joined Toxic Holocaust as full-time members. Zeller is still with the band; Chambers lasted a year before joining Cauldron. Vocalist David and guitarist Joel are currently in Slaughter Strike, a death metal band working the limited Toronto metal circuit.
Back to Cauldron for a minute: keep their name in your mind. Not because they’re particularly good but because they’re the bridge between Rammer and Goat Horn, who we’ll get into in the next ‘instalment’.
Sweet dreams you pile of shit, your downfall has arrived. Serpent of disease, feeding on itself. Terminal plea unleashed, the funeral begins within.