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Billy Talent

Canadian punk quartet Billy Talent spent the latter part of the 1990s building a hard-won grassroots following before breaking out into mainstream success in 2003 when their Juno Award-winning debut Billy Talent went quadruple-platinum, sending them on an upward trajectory for much of the decade. As they began to incorporate new elements into their music, their fans followed, helping to lift each of their subsequent studio albums -- including the multi-platinum Billy Talent II and III -- to the top of the Canadian Albums chart. By the time of 2016's Afraid of Heights, Billy Talent had become a highly decorated rock act with an international fan base and years of hard touring to their credit. After a six-year gap, they returned with their sixth set, 2022's Crisis of Faith. The band formed in 1999 in Streetsville, Ontario, while the members of the group were still in high school. Originally known as Pezz, the quartet -- vocalist Ben Kowalewicz, guitarist Ian D'Sa, bassist Jon Gallant, and drummer Aaron Solowoniuk -- had adopted a new moniker and were making their way in Toronto with the self-released Watoosh! LP under their belt. The Try Honesty EP followed in 2001; it led to strong local buzz, exposure supporting larger touring acts, and an eventual demo deal with EMI. The band entered the studio in early 2003 with producer Gavin Brown and emerged with their eponymous debut in July, which was slated for a September release on Atlantic. The group got the word out during that summer with a slot on Lollapalooza and a series of dates with the Buzzcocks. Before they knew it, Billy Talent had not only garnered an impressive following but also a slew of Juno (Best New Group, Group of the Year, and Album of the Year) and MuchMusic (Best Video, Best Rock Video) awards to their name. The band hit the studio in February 2005 to begin work on their sophomore offering. Submitting to fan requests, the group re-released Pezz's Watoosh! that September before the highly anticipated and explosive II appeared in June 2006. A handful of festivals and U.K. dates were played prior to spending the rest of the summer on the Warped Tour, and in 2007, they preserved a live performance in Düsseldorf, Germany, on CD and DVD with 666 Live. Two years later, the band released their third studio album, the aptly titled Billy Talent III. The record found the quartet incorporating some classic hard rock sounds into their punk approach. In 2012, they released the album Dead Silence. Although it still retained the group's punk urgency, Billy Talent hailed the recording as a kind of conceptual break from their previous trilogy of albums, and several of its singles -- like "Viking Death March" -- were rewarded with Juno nominations. Following the release of the 2014 Hits anthology -- which featured a pair of new songs -- the band regrouped and began to prepare material for their fifth studio album. Just prior to entering the studio, drummer Aaron Solowoniuk made the difficult decision to sit out the recording sessions while he continued his long-standing battle with multiple sclerosis. Fellow Canadian Jordan Hastings (Alexisonfire) was quickly recruited to play as Solowoniuk's studio stand-in, and in early 2016 the group completed work on Afraid of Heights, which was released that July. While opening for Guns N' Roses at Toronto's Rogers Centre that summer, Solowoniuk joined his bandmates to play two songs, though they continued to tour over the next two years with Hastings. While rumors circulated about a new album, Billy Talent issued the 2019 stand-alone single "Forgiveness I + II." The following year, they issued a string of new singles from their as-yet-untitled sixth album; "Reckless Paradise," "I Beg to Differ," and "End of Me" with Rivers Cuomo, all soared to number one on the Canadian Rock singles chart. These tracks all wound up on 2022's Crisis of Faith, which was produced entirely by D'Sa at the band's Toronto studio.
© Johnny Loftus & Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo
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Discography

35 album(s) • Sorted by Bestseller

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