For years, the members of Kamloops metal band Conniver had the goal of playing Armstrong Metalfest. Each year, they made sure they were ready and applied — and each year, they didn’t get the call.
Then, about six months ago, things started to fall apart for the band. Two longtime members left and almost all of its old songs were scrapped.
And then, without even applying, the band got the call to play Metalfest.
“We were so ready every other time,” said guitarist Jason Riozzi. “And then this year, we didn’t even apply because we weren’t ready.”
But with its new lineup, which includes Riozzi, Mark Barron on drums, Calvin Charpentier on bass, AJ McKnee on guitar and Sean Bouchard on vocals, the band has come up with enough new material for a set.
“We’re hoping to get the name out. You can get some great exposure out there,” bassist Charpentier said.
The band also sees the event as a networking opportunity, a chance to meet with bands from all over B.C. and beyond.
The Metalfest lineup includes 32 bands, about half of which are from B.C., while Conniver is the only group from Kamloops.
The Okanagan festival stage will be the biggest yet for Conniver, though in the past the band has played with notable groups like Ninjaspy on its tours through the region.
Before shuffling to drums when new members joined the band, Barron’s vocals were behind what the band produced, including its lone publicly available track, Broken Man Stands.
Soon after Charpentier joined the band, Bouchard followed and brought his vocal talents with him. The band called him a “local vocal legend,” mostly known for his work with Vancouver-based metal band Anion, which released an EP in 2016.
But while the band has reformed and is moving in a more productive direction, its scope will remain limited.
“We’re not going to be that touring-across-Canada band,” Barron said. “We’re just going to do what we love to do, sticking to Kamloops and maybe venturing out to the Okanagan and Vancouver.”
Barron isn’t a dad — he’s the only one who isn’t — but he conceded that Conniver is “pretty much a dad band.”
Its members have day jobs and families and the time for making music is typically relegated to what’s left once the kids are asleep.
But despite the time restraints, the members of Conniver are invested in what they produce, and know the direction they’re heading in — and their audience.
The band described its style as “very technical, very mathematical” progressive metal.
“It’s not easy by any means. It’s not something you can just bob your head to. You have to process it a little bit,” Barron said.
Riozzi said the style took him some time to figure out.
“I remember I initially struggled with it because it didn’t make sense. Over the years of writing and playing, now I find it hard to play normal,” he said.
Barron said the band is aiming for those who appreciate the technical aspects of their songs.
“We basically just make it as complicated as possible,” he said.
When asked which acts not to miss at Metalfest this year, the band noted Sentinels, Betraying the Martyrs and Nekrogoblikon, which Barron described as “really out there” as their picks.
Other acts on the Metalfest docket include Wake, Entheos, Centuries of Decay, Within Destruction and Odinfist.
Passes for the July 12 festival are $135, available online at armstrongmetalfest.ca/tickets.
Conniver is also set to play a show at the Kami Inn, 354 Victoria St., on June 18.