Formed in 2002, Special Ops is a Montreal hard rock band consisting of vocalist/guitarist Ak Johnson, bassist Waldo Thornhill, lead guitarist Weka BW, and drummer Pat Kadaver. Their latest release, Tangents, signals the group’s return to music after a five-year break, and is currently being supported by a Canadian tour. The six-track EP is a collection of remixes and alternate versions of various songs that originated on the group’s previous efforts, including 2007’s Phase 2: Amidst the Madness and 2009’s Through the Heart of the Infidel.
Expanding upon Special Ops’ rock/metal foundations, Tangents layers their existing material with many new elements, including a prominent hip-hop throughline. Johnson, however, is averse to such labels; in an interview with Canadian Beats, he describes his distaste for the terms ‘genre’ and ‘subgenre,’ claiming that putting too much emphasis on these descriptors hampers creativity. He offers that he and his bandmates allow themselves the freedom to draw from any source, finding inspiration in reggae, jazz, hip-hop and Arabian music. According to Johnson, the band’s multicultural line-up also plays a factor in this eclecticism, and all of these influences weave together to shape their pummeling sound.
Tangents opens with the relentless “It Ain’t Easy,” which showcases Johnson’s deep growl, Thornhill and Kadaver’s muscular rhythm section, and BW’s piercing guitar. The infusion of hip-hop become more central in later songs, with “Rise Up (Pressure)” and “Rectify (Whisperers)” featuring rapped verses. Above all else, at the forefront of every track on Tangents is the band’s intense, hard-hitting energy, which is even more palpable during their kinetic live performances. The band is reaching the tail-end of their current tour, which began earlier this year and includes stops in Quebec and New Brunswick.
For tickets and general info, visit the official Special Ops website.
On June 2nd, the band will release a brand new single, “Baby Take It All,” along with an accompanying music video. Listen to Tangents on Spotify or Bandcamp and keep up to date with Special Ops on social media:
Also, be sure check out the video for the EP’s lead single, the volatile “Anger’s Creeping.”
TANGENTS contains explicit language not suitable for younger listeners.
It’s also kinda loud.
Okay, it’s really loud, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.