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"Dreaming of blast beats and hot licks" - Kelevra unleashes new album Oneiric

Updated: Mar 24

by Myk Brazier

band photo by Mac Ulmer

One time at a family reunion I asked one of my relatives where they were living now, the reply was “Kelowna, we love it there, it’s a four season playground.” Without thinking twice I said “Here in Saskatchewan we live in a brutal paradise. We have two seasons: 40 below and mosquito plague.” It was at that moment I realized Saskatchewan is Metal AF. This revelation is further bolstered by Kelevra’s latest full length release Oneiric. A seething slab of progressive metal dissected into eight engrossing tracks. My path converged with guitarist Brett Forst and we had a chat about his band’s past, present and future.

Kelevra, formed in 2009 and based out of Regina SK, features the talents of Dylan Dobrescu (Drums), Brett Forst (Guitar), Matt Fraser (Vocals), Adrienne Mahoney (Bass) and Mat Yarotski (Guitar). The day of our conversation was the release of Oneiric. Forst explained: “Up till today everything’s been pretty frantic. Today is the big day and it’s been overwhelming and humbling. The response we’ve got from our friends, family and fans, it’s been pretty awesome.” The album is now live on all streaming platforms and Kelevra also has a video on YouTube for the single “The Distance” (view below). 

It’s been a long time coming. Along with almost everything else, COVID threw a spanner in the works for Kelevra. “The last EP we released was way back in 2016. We got into the studio for this album, for demoing and pre-production, in 2018/2019.” Forst shared. “Before 2020 we did a lot of the guitar work and pre-production at my home studio and we did the drums at a studio here in Regina called Odin’s Sound”. 

There was also another reason for the delay “In late 2018 she (Bassist Adrienne Mahoney) went into the hospital with some back pain and then the next thing we knew she was being airlifted to Edmonton because a large percentage of her heart was dead.” Forst explained. Mahoney ended up receiving a life saving heart transplant: “She’s one of the craziest fighters out there. Definitely quite an inspiration to the rest of us to put this together.” While many a troubadour has crafted ballads of heartbreak, Mahoney has literally lived through it and has risen like the Phoenix. 

The album’s name Oneiric means: relating to, or suggestive of dreams. The term comes from the Greek Óneiros, the personification of dreams. According to Homer dreams inhabit the dark shores of the western Oceanus. The mendacious dreams come through an ivory gate and the truthful dreams emerge from a gate made of horn. Ovid called dreams the children of sleep while Euripides conceived of them as genii with black wings. Sounds like the perfect title for a metal record. “It’s not really a concept album but a good descriptive title of the songs as a whole. Our passions and how it made us feel.” Forst commented.

Just as in a dream, seemingly disparate elements combine to form a unified vision so to did the creation of Oneiric evolve. “One of the cool things about this record is that all the songs came about in different ways. I’m the guitar player - I’m one of the main songwriters in the band both lyrically and musically. So sometimes the songs will start out with riffs and ideas I have and sometimes I’ll put out full songs and present them to the group. With how digital recording is these days we’ll use that and throw ideas around. But we’ll also do it old school where some of the songs on the album were formed in the jam space, with each other, talking back and forth - just jamming out. So a lot of diversity in the song writing on this record. Regardless of who wrote the song or the lyrics, I think everyone whether it be Dylan our drummer, Mat or Adrienne or Matt Fraser our vocalist everyone definitely puts their little bit of sugar and spice on each song. So even if I come in with one idea it changes throughout.” Forst explained..

I asked Forst about the idea of being a progressive band and what that meant for Kelevra’s approach to music: “As a band we’re trying to do something totally different while still appealing to metal fans. I think the songwriting and the uniqueness and delivering a product that people haven’t heard before is way more important than just shredding people’s faces off. That’s where I’ve focused my songwriting and melodic ideas. When we label ourselves as progressive I want that to mean: bouncing between different sub-genres, different styles, different moods, different emotions within the same song.”

The passion Forst has for music is palpable: “If we’re doing something we’re doing it balls to the wall. Especially with this record we wanted to do it up right and not have any reservations about it.” He continued “ We’re definitely trying to balance our other lives while not leaving anything left in the tank when it comes to releasing this record.”

It’s going to be a busy year for Kelevra and while some plans remain clandestine Forst let me know they have festival dates and tours in the works.

Have a listen to their album and check them out live when they roll through your town. Kelevra will have you double fisting invisible oranges in a state of metal ecstasy.

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