In the summer of 2014 something unexpected happened, Minstrel took the stage at St. Paul’s Got Talent and blew the crowd away, quite literally, with his style of Scottish Infused Extreme Metal. Never heard of Scottish Infused Extreme Metal? Don’t worry, nor did I until then.
Rural Alberta is not the breeding ground for Extreme Metal; Rock… sure, Country- hell yeah…. but Extreme Metal. That’s something else. Which is everything that is Minstrel… something else. Minstrel took the stage, the whole 6 feet off him, in a knee-length kilt and proper mid-calf socks, a vest and a metal studded, red garrison cap, where a Tam O’shanter should’ve been. He stood tall with his bagpipes under his right arm and unleashed a kinda fury that St. Paul had never seen before.
Minstrel took the top talent category, that wasn’t supposed to happen. You could see the shock in the audience member’s eyes, some could barely lift their jaws off the floor to mutter under their breaths how he shouldn’t have won. But here’s the thing, he should’ve won. He did win. He’s got talent and he set it free that Saturday afternoon.
Fast forward a year and Minstrel is still entering local competitions, recently Elk Point’s Canada Day Idol. Minstrel didn’t place there, but he did find the drive to work on his first album, Hollowed Out, which will be released on Halloween. (When else would you release a Scottish Infused Extreme Metal album?)
“I’m really proud of my Scottish heritage,” says Mintrel who’s been playing the bagpipes since he was a wee lad. He’s competed all over Canada, and even went to Scotland for a competition when he was a teen. Unsure where he came up with the idea to fuse bagpipes with metal, but it works. “My biggest influence is Iron Maiden, I’ve always really connected with their music,” says Minstrel. “I was really into Megadeath for a while too, but mainly it’s Iron Maiden. Just something connects.”
“If you ever listened to Extreme Metal, then you know that you can’t really tell what they’re saying, unless you read the lyrics or wrote it. Some focus on death, I try not to focus on the negative or death. I focus on human behaviour,” Minstrel says he doesn’t take offense to a lack of understanding for his music. He knows there’s a lot of groundbreaking to come in his future. One hurdle he was able to overcome was radio airplay.
“There’s not a lot of stations around here that’ll play me,” Minstrel says he won a competition of sorts and one of his songs aired on K-Rock 95.3 out of Cold Lake. A really surreal experience for the young artist. The new album will help prove to the world Minstrel is the real deal, as he tears, claws, and screams his way to the top.
Here’s a taste of Minstrel- CAUTION EXTREME
Debut Single from Hollowed Out
Available Online & at HMV Halloween 2015.