Anyone who thinks that Canadians don’t know how to rock hard anymore needs to make a point of listening to “Bad Enemy,” the new song by Calgary’s In/Vertigo, if for no other reason than to be educated as to how ignorant the notion is. In/Vertigo are about to release the biggest EP in Canadian rock history post-2000, and “Bad Enemy” is an exclusive sneak preview into what it’s going to sound and look like. This is a watershed moment for the country, the people and the band that has made sure of rock’s survival when everyone else abandoned it. In/Vertigo is the fruits of their labor.
Let’s start from the top and get into the band’s core aesthetic. I love that In/Vertigo has all the heaviness of Black Sabbath era heavy metal bands minus all of the cheap frills and campiness that ultimately brought the genre to its knees by the end of the 1980s. There is no external commercial presence to be found in “Bad Enemy,” just singer Reed Alton, axe man Shaddy Elsaghir, bass player Duncan McCartney and drummer Keaton Byfield playing their heart and soul out for the whole planet to hear. They live to make music, and you can tell as soon as they flick on their amplifiers.
“Bad Enemy” is an arena rock power anthem for a millennial generation that has been craving a bigger sound for a while now. Minimalism was the rage from 2011 to 2016, but in the last two years or so we’ve seen such a broad expansion of postmodernism in pop music that indulgence is once again being favored as a useful creative outlet. This generation of music consumers has more emotions than they’re ready to deal with, and in the spirit of true catharsis In/Vertigo are setting a good example by not holding anything back in their debut release.
I’m dying to know what “Bad Enemy” is accompanied by in the band’s forthcoming EP, mostly because I have a feeling that no two songs will sound the same. Just within this track alone, there’s a lot of different colors and textured elements being fused together in a stop-start fashion, which tells me that In/Vertigo don’t plan on being labeled as just another alternative rock band. They’ve got experimentalism coursing through their blood, and I’m betting that in this new extended play we’re going to see just how deep they can go.
The future is literally wide open and inviting In/Vertigo to grab it by the horns, and “Bad Enemy” is definitely a good first attempt at rock n’ roll stardom. There’s plenty of room for growth in this band’s sound and I would like to see them smooth out a couple of their rough edges, but overwhelmingly I think listeners and critics are going to get the point of what they’re trying to do with this single. It can take some time for any band to grow into their sound completely, but for the little time that this group has been together they show more promise than rivals who have been recording for twice as long.