Carcosa wants to tie your tongue in knots

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A new extreme heavy metal band has hooked up with millions of followers telling metallic versions of daddy’s jokes on Tik Tok.

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Carcosa: Modified Ghost Sessions Episode 2

When: June 25, 2 p.m.

Or: Online

Tickets and info: From $ 10 on modifiedghost.com

Tell if a dog chews shoes that he chooses the shoes for. It’s hard at any speed. Now say it in a tortured death metal voice like Elmo the Muppet raging on steroids.

It’s ridiculous.

But posting tongue twisters, daddy jokes and bad pickup lines set to scream heavy metal as blackout calls on TikTok prove to be a big win for Vancouver rockers Carcosa.

With 1.4 million likes, the dog chew position is one of the lowest performing of the bunch. Still, he’s a figure bands working in the deathcore subgenre of extreme heavy metal rarely see. Almost all of the TikTok clips posted by the quartet have an average of over 500,000 likes. The Metal Pickup Lines post, including the alluring “If You Were a Bumblebee I’d Pick You,” has 2.5 million likes and counts.

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By comparison, the A Plague YouTube clip is only 197,977 views after almost a year online. Respectable, but far from the volume of views on TikTok. With a new album called Anthology slated for release this month, the band and their label Blood Blast are both curious to see if TikTok’s numbers will lead to increased sales.

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“We were born into COVID and we had to integrate COVID, so finding ideas on how to do that led to TikTok, among others,” said guitarist Andrew Baena. “Everyone’s pretty excited that we’re blowing up there and it’s pretty cool to see how many people are commenting that we’re the first deathcore band they’ve ever heard. I guess we’re kind of a bridge group for the genre.

“TikTok is really good for us to reach an audience that would never check us out for themselves,” singer Johnny Ciardullo said. “Initially you’re kind of forced to watch or listen to anything for about 30 seconds to a minute, and you’re either on board or you slide up and we’re gone forever. But people seem to really like the shock value of deathcore, in particular, so they just stick around and watch us do stuff.

Once viewers are done watching the band “do stuff”, the hope is that they’ll head to Carcosa’s website to buy stuff. It doesn’t have to be music either.

As traditional methods of marketing music have been interrupted by pandemic restrictions on performance, members have been busy launching a full line of merchandise products other than their recordings. Not only are there the usual t-shirts, toques and caps, but there are also custom logo slip-on sandals, guitar picks and more. As many products as possible are purchased locally or in Canada.

So much for the impression that metalheads are not socially conscious. From manufacturing to printing in town at Prints of Darkness, these headbangers are pumping money into local economies. The demand is such that guitarist Cooper Lagace is currently working full time on merchandise sales and development.

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“We really spent a lot of time creating branded products with our theme and logo, as well as looking for unique, high-quality products that most groups usually don’t offer,” Lagace said. “We have a great emblem designed by a tattoo artist from Toronto, Ontario named Larry Coffins, and we hire other artists to make the raw ideas I come up with. I have found great Canadian wholesalers for almost everything we make, which I am really happy about.

Formed from the ashes of the progressive metal band Galactic Pegasus, no one in this group is a beginner. The four musicians bring years of experience to the table. Carcosa did not reach its level of online expertise overnight.

Guitarist Baena makes a living as a full-time YouTube content provider. Its channel is chock-full of product reviews on everything from the best baritone guitar in the neighborhood to the benefits of using the Slamurai overdrive pedal with your instrument. It’s safe to say he makes heavy metal his life on every level.

“We used to write a different style of music before, but that didn’t mean much to me as a singer,” Ciardullo said. “Progressive metal kind of puts you in a box with all the time signatures and complex, confusing parts, while deathcore is actually a lot more standard and accessible. You can nod your head along with the songs.

“It’s weird to say that, because the vocal style is so shocking to most people, but our previous incarnation really only dealt with the guitar heads in the next technical riff,” Baena said. “Switching to deathcore meant that we now had more creative doors open to us and an audience that was just more into the music than the complexity. I don’t stress about trying to write more and more confusing parts too.

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That’s not to say that singles released before the release of the new album are likely to end up on commercial radio playlists.

Carcosa’s music rages on, hitting the listener with loud guitars, thumping drums, and gut-shaking bass. Plus, it’s amazing that Ciardullo can still speak given how he seems to be ravaging his vocal cords. Deathcore is most definitely a niche form of music. Carcosa knows that, but they also really like to play it.

However, as groups from the Ramones at the Black Label Society have proven, many long and lucrative careers have been built by selling more T-shirts than records. Die-hard fans will always be there at the shows.

If daddy jokes and sandal sales drive the tour bus, that’s fine.

sderdeyn@postmedia.com

twitter.com/stuartderdeyn

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