with Justin Bender

Justin is a familiar presence on Regina’s hard rock scene. Credits as a guitarist include Third Ion, Sorceress and Into Eternity. He also runs his own studio Divergent Sounds. Finally, with a new company Bitwad Entertainment he’s got a video game in development called Xero Hour that he plans to release by year-end. /Gregory Beatty


Metallica / …and Justice For All (1988)

This song changed everything for me and set me on the path to who I became as a musician. I didn’t know double kick and speed picking existed until this, and it completely blew my 11-year-old brain.

“A Change of Seasons”

Dream Theater / A Change of Seasons (1995)

As a young guitar player, I looked up to metal bands because the material was a challenge and I loved learning what pushed me to improve. A 23-minute epic, this song opened my mind to a world of musical possibilities. John Petrucci is still one of my guitar idols today.

“Scavenger of Human Sorrow”

Death / The Sound of Perseverance (1998)

I was exposed to this band late in their career, and had never heard anything so crazy before. The playing is just… wild! I had been a bit of a hold-out, but this finally convinced me that death metal was great!

“The Leper Affinity”

Opeth / Blackwater Park (2001)

Before this came out I only had a fleeting familiarity with Opeth’s first album Orchid (1995), but it didn’t really grab me. By 2001 they’d evolved into what would become one of my favourite bands. The whole record is amazing, and this opening track still stands as one of their best. So epic and progressive, massive chords, technical but emotive playing — tractor beam, sucked me right in.


PAW / Dragline (1993)

I discovered PAW in the Road Rash soundtrack on Playstation, and they’ve remained the grunge band I’ve held most dear since that long passed era in the early ’90s.  “Jessie” is a heartfelt song, telling the story of a boy and his dog. I find I need bands like this to balance out the technical music.

“Bat Out of Hell”

Meat Loaf / Bat Out of Hell (1977)

Who says you can’t mix theatre and rock ’n’ roll? Showcasing Meat’s incredible range and power at the time, “Bat” is the ultimate Jim Steinman epic, an absolute roller coaster of a song. The two main Bat records are timeless masterpieces, and I love every minute of them.