By Scott Roos
"We're just a bunch of guys trying to have a good time," muses Dylan Biasutto, vocalist and guitarist of Regina based melodic hard rock act Above the Crown.
On the surface, Regina's Above the Crown, a collective made up of aforementioned vocalist/guitarist Biasutto, Joe Toffan on lead guitar, Matthew Palynchuk on the drums and Colin Petrychyn on bass sonically creates very slick, radio friendly style seemingly designed to slot into the "active rock" genre. Active Rock, in particular, has been made popular, in recent years, by XM stations like Octane and likely the countless independent campus and internet radio stations that churn out tracks within this uniquely heavy yet distinctly accessible genre globally. It's a hard hitting genre for sure, with a lot to say, but it's also garnered a reputation for a sonically non-threatening almost vanilla flavoured texture. This statement is not necessarily meant to be a slight as much as its meant to be a testament to how essentially a small, independent, band from the Queen City has been able to recreate such quality production and top notch, hook laden, melodically diverse songwriting on essentially home studio equipment. Their recent release, The Predator EP is top notch start to finish.
"How we do things is everybody kind of records their own separate parts at home in their little studios and then it kinda all ends up in my computer and then I put the tracks together and we collaborate via zoom," explains Palynchuk, "Everybody's bouncing ideas back and forth, back and forth. But production wise, everything from start to finish is all done in house."
"The Predator EP was the most fun I've had writing music in a long time. All the songs were written to be really fun, light hearted with a little bit of tongue in cheek in there as well," adds Biasutto.
With songs like "Sexual Tyrannosaurus" it's hard to argue with Biasutto's logic. Instrumentally, they aren't exactly Rush, either. But it's this meat and potatoes, almost democratic approach to putting everything together that has obviously kept the band a cohesive unit since their inception in 2017. Their sound is sort of a combination of a wide range of elements. They are not out to write astonishingly long prog rock treatises that's for sure.
"A lot of the stuff I listen to is a lot of the progressive stuff and the very mathematical stuff like Periphery or Meshuggah. But I find unless you're doing (prog metal) right and you belong in that genre, there's no room for trying to imitate and try to fake your way into it. So I think where we kinda fit in with our music is the level where we're comfortable where we're playing it live. What we record is essentially what you're going to hear live at a show," explains Palynchuk.
"Joe (Toffan) is a great guitarist but he was raised on 80's hair metal pentatonic riff that as fast as you can kind of soloing but he does it super well. As for prog stuff we're working on stuff with different time signatures and what not but other than that no (our music is not really progressive in nasture)," says Biasutto
"The breaking Benjamin, Deftones thing that's all me . I'm (also) definitely the nu metal guy," continues Biasutto, "The other week I sent a message to the group chat saying 'guys, i think 'I'm starting to unironically like Limp Bizkit. Please send help.'"
"We're still at the bare bones of it we're just a rock n roll band," says Palynchuk.
" We just write what sounds good to us and what comes natural," says Biasutto.
At the end of the day, being true to themselves is probably Above the Crown's greatest asset. They have a sound that is palatable, approachable, and just sounds like a bunch of guys doing what they love. What more could you ask for?
*band pics courtesy of Above the Crown