THE METAL FAMILY TREE is a tangled mess of genres, sub-genres, crossover bands, and revivals of past movements. If all the labels weren't enough, there are codes of conduct to follow for each branch in order to maintain credibility. Ian Chains (guitar) and Jason Decay (bass/vocals) of Toronto's Cauldron don't subscribe to all the categorizing, name-calling, or politics of metal. They swear by creating their music naturally, without trying to wave any specific flags.
"Every catchphrase to define some style of music is made by a journalist anyway. Not by musicians," says Chains.
"To us, it's always just been heavy metal," Decay adds.
According to most publications and metal-defining websites, Cauldron plays traditional metal. Thus, they have been lumped into the recently dubbed "new wave of traditional heavy metal." While being tagged and filed as such may help fans of the burgeoning resurgence seek Cauldron out, Chains doesn't consider it a blessing.
"I don't buy into it, but apparently we are a part of it, whether we like it or not. When you're part of a revival of something it comes across as nothing new, like you're just playing rehashed music," he says.
To combat being pigeonholed, Cauldron strives to inject substance into their music. Chains says, "I like to think that songwriting is our primary focus, above riffs. You can have riffs but if you don't have a song to go with them, they're nothing."
Chains claims that Cauldron pulls influences from everywhere, not all of them heavy. Synth-pop bands like Platinum Blonde and even Survivor play a part. Keeping an open mind allows Cauldron to write metal that has a razor-sharp edge, while remaining accessible. The band's newest album Burning Fortune is proof that they write memorable hooks that stick between your ears, a sound similar to what bands like Dokken and Ratt tried to do in the mid-'80s—only Cauldron is more convincing because they do it without Aqua Net or making kissy faces on their album covers.
When all is said and done, Decay assures that dedication and passion is what will keep Cauldron rolling. "We were around before this 'wave' came along and I'm sure we'll be around long after it's gone. What will they call it then?"