Aug 272014

 

(In this post we premiere a full-album stream of the new release by Virginia’s Solace of Requiem.  Austin Weber provides the following review by way of introduction.)

As a hardcore death metal junkie, I pride myself on my extensive knowledge of the genre. Especially the many underground, unorthodox, obscure, and defunct acts of the genre. As such, I feel like an idiot for being unaware of the Virginia-based group Solace Of Requiem until now. But even in my shame, I can rejoice in having spun their new record, Casting Ruin, numerous times already. To mix my metaphors, it’s a voracious technical death metal beast and a feast for the ears, one whose smorgasbord of sounds has been intricately intertwined into a singular weapon of immense hatred.

Solace Of Requiem write with a diverse array of metal influences, and the in which way they string those influences together in various combinations is the crux of what makes Casting Ruin stand out. Overall, their style weaves around massive bone-crushing columns of racing riffs and brimstone-exploding blast beats, topped off with highly venomous vocals. But to further dissect it, the death metal side of their sound often brings to mind the jackhammering propulsive beatings that Hate Eternal brought to life. In addition, they accent each song with a plethora of aggressive melodic leads and round them out with scathing infusions of blood-curdling black metal blasphemy.

A symphonic undercurrent with classical and orchestral motifs then further enhances most of the songs, including the monstrous savagery present in “Heaving Bile And Ash”. They also display a penchant for beginning and ending several tracks with samples — of such things as chains, clinking machinery, and echoing water droplets. If I had to guess, maybe the cold clang of chains and mechanical whirrings was intended to represent our mental self-imprisonment, societal restraints, and existence as a helpless cog in a larger grinding machine, with the graceful sounds of water drizzling down showing the flip side — freedom and the serenity found freely in nature.

Aug 272014

(Andy Synn wrote this piece. Your comments are welcome, as always.)

Isn’t it funny how when bands sell-out, they also seem to feel the need to denigrate and insult their former fans at the same time? It’s a woefully common phenomenon – a band changes its sound in order to target mainstream success, and then goes to great lengths in interviews to talk about how they’ve “gone beyond” metal, or “grown out of it”, simultaneously insulting the genre wholesale whilst confirming all the worst clichés about it being “childish” or “immature”.

The latest offender to play this game of PR politicking is All That Remains frontman Phil Labonte, who posted the following recently, after announcing that all the tracking for their new album had been completed:

So in the past six months bleeding through called it quits, god forbid called it quits, and just today shadows fall has announced that for all intents and purposes they’re calling it quits. I’m so glad ATR have transcended “metal” and have become “musicians.”

And it inspired me to address the topic, and maybe call Phil out on his bullshit a little.

Aug 262014

I’ve found through experience that the Italian metal label I, Voidhanger Records is unbounded by genre constraints, and that its releases will reliably be as fascinating as they are diverse. I’ve also found that the artwork selected by the label for its releases is almost always as interesting as the music itself. Today’s discovery is a case in point.

In late October I, Voidhanger will be releasing a debut EP from a Danish duo (Thorbjørn and Qvortrup) who call themselves Tongues. The name of the EP is Thelésis Ignis, and it consists of four long tracks, with a total running time of 34:35 (which makes it as long as most full-length albums these days). Showing its customary attention to artwork, the label will release the EP as a CD with a 16-page full-color booklet, with cover art (above) by Antonius Lovmand and N.

The EP was recorded by Emil Brahe of the doom band Sol (from the Van Records’ roster); he also plays organ and additional keys on the EP.

Tongues have described their music in this way:

TONGUES is devoted to the exploration of mind and soul, and how they relate to the flesh. Our music is as heavy as the earthbound flesh; the lyrics and themes constitute the soul that yearns for some kind of redemption, eternally lost in the cloud of unknowing. The nature of the synthesis between soul and body is drenched in obscurity, which is why — by speaking in tongues — a path may be eventually revealed, providing salvation for that fallen race we call Humanity. Our debut EP, Thelésis Ignis is the first chapter of this doomed spiritual journey.”

Aug 262014


Sólstafir’s Addi Tryggvason with Skálmöld at Eistnaflug

 

(Gemma Alexander is a Seattle-based writer and NCS fan who visited Iceland in the fall of 2012 during the Iceland Airwaves festival and was generous enough to send us interviews with such bands as AngistBeneathKontinuumSólstafirGone Postal, and Skálmöld. In July of this year she returned to Iceland for the Eistnaflug metal and rock festival (“Eistnaflug” being Icelandic for “flying testicles”), and we are once again the beneficiary of her writing. Today we present Part 2 of a three-part report on the festival, illustrated with Gemma’s own photos. Visit her own excellent blog here and check out more of her reporting on the festival at KEXP’s web site. Part 1 of her report for us is here.)

 

The second day of Eistnaflug began at noon with sets from Pink Street Boys and Oni. I, on the other hand, began less ambitiously, arriving at the venue after 2 p.m. I don’t know anything about the first band, but was sorry to have missed the sludgy, Neskaupstaður-based Oni.

http://oniiceland.bandcamp.com/releases

 

The first band I saw on Friday was In the Company of Men. Billed as mathcore, the effect was individuals doing their own thing in the company of others. But they each went to eleven with it, and maybe my math isn’t very good.

https://www.facebook.com/InTheCompanyOfMen/timeline

 

I had heard that Morð (“murder” in Icelandic) was divisive in the local black metal community. In the event, I couldn’t really see what was so unorthodox. Was their corpse paint all wrong, or was it a slight tendency to slip into groove? Whether tr00 or transgressive, Morð put on a good show.

http://morth.bandcamp.com/

Aug 262014

 

(Andy Synn celebrates the 50th edition of his SYNN REPORT by reviewing the discography of the late Bleeding Through from Orange County, CA.)

 

Recommended for fans of: Vader, Anaal Nathrakh, Earth Crisis

So this is kind of a big deal, right? 50 editions (not counting special editions or catch-up features) of my inane ramblings about bands you may or may not like, without so much as a protest or petition calling for me to be fired. It’s practically a miracle I tell you.

I chose Bleeding Through for the singular honour of being the fiftieth recipient of The Synn Report because a) the band recently played their final show, and I wanted to commemorate that, and b) they’ve been one of my favourites ever since I first discovered them.

And also because it’s my column, so I get to pick the bands.

Now I know many of you will have been put off by the “metalcore” tag so frequently applied to the band, and their unfortunate association with the more commercially inclined members of that movement, but honestly, a lot of their material is both legitimately heavy and uncompromisingly brutal – a mix of blistering blast-beats and bruising break-downs, crushing riffs, creeping keys, and caustic screams – taking in a much wider variety of influences than many of their peers.

With elements and influences drawn from everyone from Emperor to Earth Crisis to Exodus, the band’s sound mixes many of the best bits of Death, Thrash, and Black Metal with the uncompromising intensity and integrity of Hardcore at its most primal and primitive.

After the jump you’ll find a selection of the band’s heaviest, most metallically devastating tracks, in the hope of convincing some of you to give these underrated underdogs another chance!

Aug 262014

I haven’t written one of these round-ups since late last week, and much has happened on the metal front since then, so I’m cramming quite a few items into this post that I thought were worth sharing. It’s a jumbo-sized playlist that should appeal to many tastes (and I still didn’t include every good thing I found!).

SUMAC

In late July, the super-talented drummer of Vancouver’s Baptists, Nick Yacyshyn, gave an interview to CVLT Nation in which he mentioned that he had recently spent a week writing, rehearsing, and recording with Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom, Mamiffer, and Isis [the BAND, ferchrissakes]. He also posted a photo of Aaron Turner’s drum kit on his Facebook page, and he further mentioned that Brian Cook of Russian Circles, These Arms Are Snakes, and Botch was also involved in the project.

This juicy piece of news wasn’t widely reported, but yesterday brought further details via a Facebook announcement by Profound Lore. According to that announcement, the project’s name is Sumac; its core members do indeed consist of Yacyshyn, Turner, and Cook; and Profound Lore will be releasing Sumac’s “monumentally heavy debut album” in early 2015.

I’d call that some hot shit news.

Aug 262014

A detail from “Green” by Philadelphia artist Taisya Kuzmenko

I preface this article, which asks some questions, by telling you that I’m looking for honest answers. I think most of our regular readers are good-hearted people who actually care about this site and therefore may be prone to say things that will make us feel good. Don’t do that. Tell us the truth. If the truth isn’t what we want to hear, don’t worry. I can tell you with near certainty that it won’t change what we do, and we’re thick-skinned enough that it won’t hurt much. The questions are more a matter of curiosity than a gathering of information that would lead to a change in what we do here.

*****

We’re long-winded. Compared to most metal sites our posts tend to go on… and on… and on. Though Andy Synn occasionally brings us reviews in haikus, most of our reviews are long (DGR recently wrote a 600-word piece about one song). Most of the other features are long, too.

For example, I write almost all of the “round-up” posts, which focus on news and new music, and I have a habit of cramming those with a lot of items and a lot of words. Same goes for the MISCELLANY posts (when I get to them) and other regular or semi-regular features I put together here. I could break them up into a string of smaller features and sprinkle them through the day, or many days, as some other sites do. I’m not even sure why I don’t.

Same goes for the song and album premieres — we tend to describe our thoughts and feelings about the music before we come to the music streams. Many other sites don’t do that. They include a few sentences of introduction and then BOOM — there’s the music player.

The posts today that are going to follow this one are typical of what you’ll find here — the jumbo round-up of news and new music that will follow this post, Andy Synn’s 50th edition of The Synn Report (in which he reviews an entire seven-album discography), and Gemma Alexander’s thoughts on Day 2 of Iceland’s recent Eistnaflug festival. None of them will be short and sweet.

So, here’s the serious question:

Aug 252014


Azoic at Eistnaflug

(Gemma Alexander is a Seattle-based writer and NCS fan who visited Iceland in the fall of 2012 during the Iceland Airwaves festival and was generous enough to send us interviews with such bands as AngistBeneathKontinuumSólstafirGone Postal, and Skálmöld. In July of this year she returned to Iceland for the Eistnaflug metal and rock festival (“Eistnaflug” being Icelandic for “flying testicles”), and we are once again the beneficiary of her writing. Today we present Part 1 of a three-part report on the festival, illustrated with Gemma’s own photos. Visit her own excellent blog here and check out more of her reporting on the festival at KEXP’s web site.)

 

When I arrived in the remote fjord town of Neskaupstadur, I was determined to catch as many of the nearly 50 bands as possible. But a late night drinking with new friends and a breakfast that may have included beer interfered with my good intentions. Although the first band on Thursday didn’t take the stage until almost 3 p.m., I missed them.

The first band I did see was Azoic. With Ragnar (Raggi) Sverisson on the drums, I expected great things, and got them. What I didn’t get was vocals – it was an entirely instrumental set.

I ran into Raggi later and he explained that the set was all new music, and they hadn’t finished the lyrics yet. Okay, that’s one choice. Azoic’s 2012 Gateways can be found here:

Aug 252014

 

(Our man BadWolf interviews Jeff Lohrber of Enabler; he also took the photos in this post at Enabler’s show in Detroit at The Loving Touch on June 10, 2014.)

In the months since Inquisitiongate (can we agree on that as the formal term?), it seems like virtually any extreme metal band could come under fire for suspicion of racism—Dragonforce and Bölzer have both come under fire as of late, and rebuffed those accusation with varying degrees of success.

Let’s scratch one band off the suspicion list: Enabler are not racist. In a brief conversation with Jeff Lohrber, guitarist/vocalist of the three-piece crust outfit, he made that much perfectly clear, alongside talking about his love of classic rock and breaking down my favorite track on what very well might be my favorite record of the year, La Fin Absolue Du Monde.

***

To begin, things I didn’t notice at Maryland Deathfest: not only do you have a Today is the Day tattoo, but you have an Ohio knuckle tattoo.

Yes.

 

What’s up with that?

Well, I’ve been in Today’s the Day three times now. I’m currently the drummer for the band, and I grew up in Ohio.

 

Where?

Around Dayton. I actually live back in Ohio again. We were in Milwaukee. We started in Milwaukee but we’re based out of Ohio now. We have one member who lives in Milwaukee still.

 

Where do you live, Dayton?

No, I live in the middle of nowhere.

Aug 252014

Autumn’s Dawn is a new two-man band from Australia whose debut album Gone is being released today by Eisenwald. And today we bring you the premiere of a full-album stream — though when you hear the album you may think a site with a name like ours is a peculiar place for a premiere of an album such as this. But read on…

Autumn’s Dawn may be a relatively new project, its only previous release being a self-titled EP, but its two members are not newcomers: Tim Yatras (who uses the name “Sorrow” in this project) has made a name for himself in such bands as Germ, Austere, Woods of Desolation, and Grey Waters, while Matthew Bell (“Anguish”) is a member of Rise of Avernus and Troldhaugen. Following our album stream, we’ll bring you an interview with Tim Yatras about the origins of Autumn’s Dawn and the new album.

With names like Sorrow and Anguish, an album entitled Gone, and song titles such as “The Ashes of A Life”, “Until My Heart Corrodes With Rust”, and “Blank Stare, Dead Eyes”, you might think you’re in for a thoroughly depressive listening experience. There is indeed a sorrowful air to much of the music, but it’s also full of life, highly memorable, and often strikingly beautiful — and it also includes scathing elements of black metal and songs that often rock very hard.

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