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Blackguard

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If ever there was a test case proving that hard work, tenacity, a healthy helping of suffering, and word of mouth pay off, Blackguard is it. Formed in 2001 by guitarist Terry Roadcase and drummer Justine “Juice” Éthier as a straight-ahead black-metal outfit, the Montreal-based sextet—who clawed their way into the public eye under the dauntingly ponderous name of Profugus Mortis—has fought a pitched battle to stand out amongst their international metal brethren, having braved numerous line-up changes and much needed sonic tweaking to get to where they were in 2008.

Blackguard as a viable entity was officially born with the addition of vocalist and born frontman Paul Ablaze in October 2004 to Profugus Mortis’ ranks, followed a month later by bassist Étienne Mailloux, with both bringing the necessary dynamics to the band’s sound and clarity to the group’s collective vision. Staying true to their black-metal roots, the new Profugus Mortis turned their sights on a brutal new interpretation of Scandinavian folk metal.

“This comes to us naturally,” says Ablaze, “and we’re definitely the sum of our parts. What’s going on around us influences us to a certain degree, of course, but in the end we’re putting our own spin on it and giving the band its own defining characteristics. Before we came in, the band’s sound was a lot more progressive black metal; there were a lot of riffs and tempo changes. But we’ve gone in a much more straightforward direction since then. I guess we took on a power-metal and a straight-up folk-metal influence along the way.”

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