Vancouver’s mid-’80s metal scene thrives with bands like Kradle, Nitevigil, and Harlots Webb


By Steve Newton

Vancouver hard-rock fans who’ve been thirsting for a taste of homegrown metal should consider visiting the New York Theatre this Saturday (August 16).

That’s when Burnaby’s Kradle will be doing their best to prove that raunchy and original sounds are still alive and well in Expo City.

“The average person probably thinks that the local metal scene is really slow,” says Kradle guitarist Harry Degen. “But with bands like us, Harlots Webb, Nite Vigil, Assault, and Black Knight–which are totally underground and totally independent–I think the scene is almost ready to explode.”

Kradle first gained notoriety when they filled a last-minute spot opening for Blue Öyster Cult at the Coliseum two years ago. Since then they’ve warmed up for the likes of Kick Axe and Coney Hatch, and currently have a four-song tape out. After Saturday’s gig they plan to go back into the studio to make an album on their own label, Arena Records.

Opening for Kradle at the NY Theatre will be North Vancouver’s Nitevigil, who are best known locally for stealing the show at Spotlight ’85 with their fast and fiery brand of metal and Mötley Crüe-type costumes. It should be interesting to see how they’ve progressed in look and sound during the last year-and-a-half.

In other metal news, Russell Dunaway of Assault informs us that all 300 copies of the group’s six-song cassette Heavy Justice have sold out. The group, which has been featured on both the CFOX Metal Shop and CiTR Power Chord radio shows, is currently making another tape at Profile Studio, with Ray Harvey from Kick Axe producing.

Yet another local metal band that has acquired a following in town is Harlots Webb. One of their songs, “Black is the Nite”, was recently released on the Moose Molten Metal compilation LP, distributed by Capitol Records.

The band almost had to call it quits when their equipment was stolen from a New Westminster warehouse last May, but since then about three-quarters of it has been recovered.

Harlots Web expect to have a demo tape out in the next few months.

To read my interviews with Vancouver rock musicians dating back to 1983 go here.

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