Band returns to metal roots

West of Hell formed in New Zealand with the objective to create a sound that would preserve their legendary influences

West of Hell formed in New Zealand with the objective to create a sound that would preserve their legendary influences, while having modern elements.

This blend would evolve the music boldly into the future of metal.

Founded in 2002 by Ivan Vrdoljak and Andrew Hulme, the duo spent the early months writing, learning and practising. They then reached the point where a second guitar was needed.

After a long, arduous search, friends finally directed them to Sean Parkinson. Parkinson found an instant chemistry with Vrdoljak and Hulme. The driven trio immediately got to work, writing songs and forging their trademark sound.

Finding the right bassist was also difficult, but two years of monitoring the grapevine led to the discovery of Jordan Kemp.

Jordan quickly bonded with his West of Hell bandmates, creating the thunderously tight rhythm section they possess today. With the music locked down all they needed was a frontman.

Having searched without success for perfect vocalist locally, the band decided to continue the hunt in Vancouver. In 2009, the four members uprooted their lives and moved to the other side of the world.

In order to share their vision and establish West Of Hell in a larger scene, they needed a singer that was more than just a screamer, which drastically narrowed the possibilities. The band played a series of shows as a four-piece instrumental  and attracting the attention of the local metal community. The exposure led them to Zimmer Hole frontman Chris “The Heathen” Valagao.

It was apparent to the founding members that Valagao’s diverse skills were exactly what West of Hell needed to realize the band’s ultimate vision.

West of Hell is here to reclaim the great genre of metal that has been diluted by straight edge, clean cut posers who look like rejects from American Idol.

Find out if the band succeeded when it plays the Cambie on July 20.