Edmonton’s own ‘heavy metal Beach Boys,’ Black Mastiff, release most competent record yet

Black Mastiff & Chron Goblin (Dual Record Release Show) w/Guests
Starlite Room
Oct. 25 8 pm

After a decade of creating gargantuan riffs complimented by thick beats and hazy harmonies, the members of Black Mastiff have concocted Loser Delusions, an album so tight and heavy that it could go down as their magnum opus. 

And the heavy metal-blues trio did the writing and production of the album a bit different this time around, based on choice and necessity.

Drummer Allan Harding moved to Vancouver in 2015 after the release of Music Machine so the writing of the next album was somewhat of a long distance relationship. 

Along with bassist Clay Shea, guitarist/vocalist Bob Yiannakoulias sent over demo tapes via email to Harding for most of the writing portion of Loser Delusions.

“I would download them and track drums to them,” Harding says. “We had heard about bands doing this and for the first three and a half years I moved, it didn’t really happen. Once it did, I could actually sit back and think about what I was doing more than in the jam space in the spur of the moment. I could sit there without them judging me or watching me.”

It was a process though, and Yiannakoulias and Shea admit that, at times, they did feel discouraged about finishing the beast of an album. And while the album name is somewhat of a nod to the classic Guns N Roses album, it sums up how they felt. 

“Bob and I were getting together twice a week and would get down on ourselves. It was like ‘We miss our drummer man, but we’re gonna get this record done eventually.’ So here we were, a couple of delusional losers,” Shea laughs. 

As for the musical side, Loser Delusions contains some of the best work we’ve heard from Black Mastiff. You have a song like “Starbase 77,” a heavy trip accented by Yiannakoulias’ stream of conscious lyrics about existential stagnation. 

“I don’t spend too much time on meaningfulness in lyrics,” Yiannakoulias says. “I like space themes and wizard themes and you know the sea and forest themes. That song draws a bit on the internet and social media and a bit of a critique on that and sort of a ‘What am I doing with my life?’”

As for the release of Loser Delusions, the members of Black Mastiff opted for a DIY approach and started Grand Hand Records with fellow stoner rockers Chron Goblin.

“It seemed like a really good idea and the four years between Music Machine and this one, we didn’t want to spend a year to shop around for the right label,” Shea says. 

“It’s been about a million times more work and financially it’s been all on us,” Yiannakoulias says. “You’re doing the jobs of the label. I would say it’s more work but the return is better. Not from a financial standpoint, but it’s really important to us that people hear the record and no one was going to work as hard on us as us.”

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