Killing Fields Of Ontario – How The World Ends (self-release)

A slight scheduling setback and without a label behind them, Killing Fields Of Ontario are determined to release their second full-length

Released Nov 4th, 2013 / By Dave Reynolds
Killing Fields Of Ontario – How The World Ends (self-release) One of the more oxymoronic band names to surface in quite some time, Killing Fields Of Ontario reflect their conflicting moniker in the music they produce, as on their second full length How The World Ends. On the one hand we have Cambodia’s killing fields, a haunting reminder of Pol Pot’s grizzly attempt to bring to life a vision of agrarian socialism. And on the other we have Ontario, where the biggest killer is probably type 2 diabetes as a result of Tim Hortons’ iron grip on the coffee shops of Canada.

Imagine a Venn diagram, with one circle labelled ‘folk’, and the other as ‘rock’. Each track on this record sits somewhere within that framework, with some starting plumped in the realm of folk before throwing out a rambunctious breakdown part-way through and pogoing across to the rock side of the fence.

The record’s best moments come when the two genres marry together seamlessly, such as on the ramshackle bruiser of an opening track, ‘Twisted Little Theatre’. It’s a frenetic and rousing barrage of noise, with reverb-soaked vocals roaring alongside a zigzagging loop of keys. ‘Cloud’ starts off pretending to be a twee little ditty before opening up into a restless and emotive slice of music. Vocalist Tom Brewster laments fading youth as he sings, “You know you’re not the first one to have faded”, with sneaky handclap percussion buried into the mix, adding to the depth of sound.

Tracks like ‘When We Were Born’ and ‘Left In Shadow’ showcase the more folky strands of the band’s collective sound, on occasion bringing to mind the likes of Ben Howard with his surfer-folk stylings. The record, as already mentioned, lurches thematically into some darker territory; ‘Our Place To Drown’ doesn’t sound overtly bleak sonically, but lyrically it dips its toes into some gloomier areas. The trickling of water accompanies Brewster’s singing: “Well I don’t see what could be so wrong / when two friends like us just don’t want to die alone.”

Title track ‘How The World Ends’ sounds like it should be equally bleak. “There’s no light in your eyes,” so goes one of the opening gambits of a 7+ minute opus. But Killing Fields Of Ontario show that they aren’t just bringers of doom as the building blocks are slowly arranged, culminating into a euphoric widescreen finale with drum fills dispersed around a peaking guitar solo.

There’s a fascinating dichotomy at play throughout much of this record. It exists between its mostly-downbeat lyrical nature and its more affirming sonic presence. Between trying to be a rock record and a folk record. Made by a band named after a dictator’s brutal legacy and a land of donuts. It’s a tension that makes it a very engaging and interesting set of tracks, and more precisely, an excellent album.