Derek Abel and Trent Cain meet outside the hallways of their Grade 10 History
classes. The foundation of a strong friendship is established based on their common life interests, their undying love of Iron Maiden and their reputed hate
With the addition of their long-time mutual friend Simm Stake, the trio
prepare to follow in the footsteps of their idols and decide to form a thrash
Havok is formed, featuring Derek on bass and vocals, Trent on guitar and
Stake on drums. The trio begin intense practice sessions.
The group has garnered a sizable underground following based on the strength
of their live shows, due to some perfected classic covers from such influential
bands as Iron Maiden, Metallica and Megadeth. Meanwhile, their two independent
EPs, Dry and Doomsday Clock, are selling reasonably well. The song
"Flatliner", with its catchy "fuck the ville" chorus, is
instantly deemed a classic among large underground affiliates. The song's lyrics
tell of the accidental death of Stake's father, crushed under an asphalt
steamroller owned by the Ville de Montréal (the City of Montreal).
On the brink of local stardom, the band is dealt a harrowing blow when
drummer Simm Stake decides to leave the band and move to Florida. Once there he
quickly co-founds one of Florida's premier death metal outfits, Paraplegik.
Derek and Trent are left on their own, and decide to explore the route of
further academic education, distancing themselves from music for the time being.
Derek and Trent begin their college years.
Derek falls in love for the first time with his first girlfriend. Months
later would herald the event that brings about their new musical direction.
Derek's heart is crushed, shattered and broken beyond all conceivable repair
at the loss of his first true love. Thus begins his emotional and physical
self-transformation. "In high school, we all had
little crushes and
phases," he remarks, "but in college the real emotions started showing
through - real love, real loss, real heartbreak. I think this is what fostered
my energy back into music again...this overwhelming tide of new emotions."
Spring/Summer of 1993
Trent also begins a new type of relationship with his first girlfriend. A
whole new wave of different emotions begins to present itself to his inner
psyche. "I felt something you know," Trent explains, "a different
way of feeding my aggressions...a new outlet for writing songs man."
Derek and Trent form their new band: CATALYSIS.
Scrapping their original idea of finding a new drummer, Catalysis decide to
remain a duo, and instead incorporate the fresh avant-garde industrial sounds of
the increasingly changing music scene, utilizing a drum machine and
experimenting with different samples.
Looking at contract offers from several local indie labels in this same
month, they finally go with the reputable Green Spit Records. With this new
approach intact, they complete the recording of their first EP, Black Canvas.
The album is generally accepted with rave reviews, but a different type of
exposure has garnered the band some worldwide attention with its release, a
controversy that has inadvertently catapulted the EP to the top of the
alternative charts. This clipping from a widely recognized Italian newspaper
called Il Messaggero back in '93 briefly summarizes the propaganda (translated
In Canada, the Montreal-spawned band known as Catalysis have released
their first full-length EP worldwide. The album titled Black Canvas
has caused major waves of controversy in Italy, Iraq, Lebanon, Spain,
France and many other countries that have strong attachments to Leonardian
The portrait displayed on the album cover depicts one of Leonardo Da
Vinci's greatest works of art known as Homo Solis. The statue was created
to symbolize peace and unity within oneself, whereas the album's lyrical
content preaches of separation, emotional despair and personal hatred.
"This is an outrage to forefathers of great art," the Pope
explains, lashing out at Catalysis's outright defiance of historical
culture. "Through art we can communicate worldwide without
differentiating between race, religion or mother tongue. It gives everyone
who views it a chance to expand their imagination and be one with
themselves. Now this great statue is desecrated upon and it falsifies the
interpretation of the younger generation when they view the meaning of the
statue through the album's blasphemous lyrics. I will try very hard to
have this album banned from Rome if the album cover is not changed."
The band meanwhile claims the album cover will not be altered, because
in doing so they feel they would be deprived of their artistic expression.
The album has already been banned in Spain and Lebanon, and concert
dates have been cancelled in Iraq.
The band remains consciously oblivious to the worldwide media frenzy
surrounding their EP and continue touring extensively. Cities and countries that
do accept their presence within their boundaries are treated with exceptional,
powerful performances and much gratitude. The Pope's efforts to ban their work
has proven futile, as the Court of Dominican Law has rightfully decreed their
stand of artistic expression valid.
The start of this landmark year sees the release of their second EP, Legion.
Critical acclaim ensues shortly thereafter, and the album soon becomes home to
their first successful single, the title track itself, "Legion",
unusual in itself considering the song's completely anti-mainstream time length
(clocking in at over 9 minutes) and lyrical content. Despite accusations that
the song demoralizes and subjugates the meaning and purpose of God in our lives
and questions his existence, Derek insists that the song is "based on the
movie The Exorcist III, and bears no significance to God in specific."
Extensive touring continues. Despite the darker direction of their music,
countries previously doubtful of their ethics due to their first controversial
release are now welcoming them with open arms, particularly in most European and
Mid-Eastern countries. The duo have built an impressive reputation and are
frequently acknowledged as excellent showmen. Their tour lasts well through most
of this year.
Derek begins a relationship with his second girlfriend, who would later come
to prove as a prominent source of inspiration and material for future songs -
not romantic ballads fortunately.
Derek is introduced to prolific drummer Steven Seth at a Cathouse Bar gig
featuring Steven's sleaze-rock band, Crash Alley. Steven is approached by Derek
to join Catalysis, but refuses due to his commitments to Crash Alley and his
current wife, supermodel starlet Carmina Loretti. Despite his flat-out refusal,
Derek determines to keep in close contact with Steven.
Soon after, the band begins work on their follow-up EP to the enormously
successful Legion. Trent promises a more "direct straight-forward