John Ouellette and Brendan Munn met in the summer of 1997 at an Ignorance Never Settles concert. After some talk, they decided to form a straight-edge band together and started jamming in the Munns’ basement in Hamilton, Ontario. They wrote a couple of songs with John on guitar and Brendan on drums, then John asked his high school friend and previous band-mate Simon Bruyn to come in on vocals. John came up with the band name, Believe the Lie. The compositions were fierce metallic hardcore in the veins of Confine and Ignorance Never Settles. They asked another mutual friend, Brandon Robinson, to come play bass for them. Believe the Lie then changed name to Avarice.
In the end of 1997, the band booked time with Dan Zivkovic at Blue Tilt Studio (aka Cat Piss Studio). Avarice went in on Thursday December 8th and then again on Saturday December 10th to record. But everything was getting done on a 4-track recorder, which meant only a single guitar track. The members remember not even being tight enough to make something stick and the session, in their opinion, sounded sub-par. They immediately started making the artwork and each member would alternate on printing copies at home. Although the tape didn’t bare a record label name, it was unofficially released by Brendan’s record label, Redstar Records, which had been around since 1995. But the demo remained unappreciated.
After playing a few more local shows in early 1998, Brendan wanted to expand to a second guitarist, an idea that some of the members may not have been too happy with. Munn was still playing drums in Ignorance Never Settles but was getting tired of the chug-styled hardcore of that band. He found out that his friend and band-mate Ronnie James “RJ Larente” Osbourne also felt the same and asked him to join Avarice instead. RJ’s first show with Avarice was in Guelph, Ontario with Left For Dead and Acrid. The band then made home-printed stickers to sell at their shows.
In May of 1998, Avarice and Confine decided to do a split together and through a mutual connection, booked a weekend for both bands to record with Fred Betschen at Bulldog Studio in Buffalo, New York. The cost was 800$ per band for a fully produced, mixed and mastered result. Although Gordon Ball of Confine had created an original design, it was later decided to let James Hamilton create the layout for the split CD, using only an illustration from Gordie on the front cover. The CD would be released by Redstar Records again, in time for their first tour.
Munn and Larente quit Ignorance Never Settles in July of 1998 to focus solely on Avarice’s touring schedule. Confine and Avarice toured Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec followed by some shows to the US, billed with some of the top late 90’s metalcore bands. Those included Ensign, Elliott, Earthmover, Poison The Well, SeventyEightDays, Buried Alive and Disciple. The touring and the split CD brought the band enough acclaim that they were invited to play shows in Europe during the winter of 1998/1999, with an interest from Alveran Records for an album contract. Furthermore, Redstar Records created tape samplers to send to radios and reviewers which featured a selection of songs from each band.
After the summer tour the band took in new influences from Deadguy, Converge and Cave In and incorporated it in some brand new songs. They continued to play some shows that fall and getting ready for Europe. Between ten to fifteen shows had been booked in Germany, France and Belgium for that winter. But tensions between Simon and Munn, both wanting to lead the band, nearly divided the band in half. After playing a show in Buffalo with Death Threat, Simon would quit the band, leaving some turmoil behind. John attempted to take over vocals for a few of weeks but that also didn’t work out and he left the band. With Simon and John gone, Brandon Robinson felt out of place and quit the band as well. Simon and John would later reunite in January of 2002 for The Separation Suicide, which also featured Gordon Ball of Confine.
With only RJ and Brendan Munn left, the band moved in an even heavier direction, almost going as far as noisecore, which had been popularized by Spread the Disease. Brendan then took over vocal duties, writing all new lyrics that focused on the deterioration of Avarice as a band. But no show was ever played after Simon left the band and the European tour was evidently cancelled. Being legally tied with Alveran Records, RJ and Brendan booked another session with Fred Betschen at Plastic Dreams Studio in Buffalo, NY to record the final material written as Avarice. RJ ended up playing all the guitars and bass, while Brendan did drums and vocals. RJ was at the time playing in Countdown to Oblivion and asked his friend Chris Colohan to come down with them for the recording session. The result of his presence was documented with featured vocals on the song “Count Me In”. The band had also asked Sean McNab (of Jersey) to join them as well and he provided backup vocals on nearly all the songs.
The final recording session was sent to Sascha Franzen at Alveran Records, who hastily compiled and released it as a cheap split 7″ with Deamon’s Jaded Passion, a contract band on Alveran Records. By that time it was well into 1999. The split sold out quite rapidly and was immediately repressed by Alveran Records, who refused to send Avarice any copies of either pressings, citing a lack of touring as an excuse. To add insult to injury, Alveran immaturely pressed “Canadian don’t use toilet paper” on the matrix of the 7″ vinyl. Because Simon had left the band on such bitter notes, he was credited as “some other guy” on the artwork, as reference to a member who helped write songs.
Thankfully some of the material from this session was released with proper respect, by Redstar Records. The 1999 compilation “The Sound and the Fury” featured the Colohan-guested song “Count Me In” as the second song of the compilation. This compilation also featured an appropriate band picture, featuring only RJ. By the time this CD and the split 7″ vinyl were coming out, RJ and Brendan had ended the Avarice moniker but would reunite to play in Funerary, later in 1999.
In 2001 Redstar Records talked of releasing a discography CD for Avarice, but nothing ever came out of it. The last featured material by the band would be the Redstar Records/Goodfellow Records/Surprised Attack Records (S.A. Mob) sampler CD “It’s All About the Money” which would feature “Mask” from the Confine split, in 2001.
Download the partial Avarice discography (missing the demo).