Apr 242014

I’m about to leave my computer for the rest of the day, but before I go I thought I’d just paste the following announcement right here — because it’s Slayer.

Last night at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, SLAYER surprised the capacity crowd with an unannounced performance, kicking off the show with a three-song set that included the global premiere of “Implode,” the band’s first new studio recording in five years.

Recorded earlier this month at Henson Studios in Los Angeles and produced by Terry Date with co-producer Greg Fidelman, “Implode” is now available as a free download as a “thank you” to the band’s fans for their continued support. As SLAYER guitarist Kerry King put it, “You’ve done for us, now we want to do for you.” Registered members of SLAYER’s fan club were the first to receive an e-mail to hear the song before it was made public. “Implode” can now be downloaded by all fans at www.SLAYER.net.

Apr 242014

For the second day in a row, I was disconnected from the internet for almost the entirety of Wednesday, with very little time to listen to music or write about it — and the same thing is going to happen today. But I did manage to find a few new things last night and this morning that I wanted to recommend. And here they are…

HOLOCAUSTO CANIBAL

This Portuguese band have been around for 17 years, but this is their first appearance at NCS. They have a new EP entitled Larvas coming our way in May via The Czech Republic’s Bizarre Leprous Productions. It includes 13 tracks and more than 30 minutes of destruction. Four of the songs are new, six of them are live recordings from the band’s performance at the Obscene Extreme Festival in 2013, and the remainder are remixes by other artists of tracks from the band’s last album Gorefilia.

Apr 242014

(Leperkahn brings words of praise for an EP by a San Diego band named Weightlessness, and an interview with the band’s bass player and vocalist “J”.)

For me, the two most distinctive elements in funeral doom (and its cousin death/doom) are a slow pace and morose, somber atmosphere. The former is rather easy to nail down, and is done pretty effectively by pretty much every band who set their sights on the subgenre. The latter quality, however, is far more difficult to master, and tends to be the standard that measures how good a funeral doom album is, and what separates the men from the boys in the genre.

In the past year or so, I’ve been trying to familiarize myself a lot more with doom and funeral doom, going through some of the legends and the newest masters, such as Ataraxie, Thou (I realize they aren’t purely funeral doom, but it’s a large part of their sound), Evoken (still need to dig into them further), Thergothon, Mournful Congregation, Lycus, and more. What all of these bands have in common is that they’ve mastered both of those main tenants of funeral doom, and tied them together beautifully – utilizing glacial pace as a tool to communicate paralyzing grief and despondence.

Out of nowhere (specifically, sunny San Diego, of all bloody places), Weightlessness have aimed to build upon those achievements within the genre, and on their debut EP Of Lachrymose Grief, they’ve done just that, infusing some of the best, most despondent funeral doom I’ve heard all year with some of the best melodies that Orchid- and Morningrise-era Mikael Akerfeldt never wrote.

Apr 232014

This morning one of my Facebook friends linked me to a song from a band named Islander. I wonder why he would do that? They’re a four-man outfit from Greenville, South Carolina, and they’ve recorded an album named Violence & Destruction that Victory Records plans to release on July 8, 2014. Which happens to be my birthday. Why would a band named Islander be releasing an album on my birthday?

I assumed that with an album named Violence & Destruction and a name like Islander and a record being released on my birthday, the music would strip paint from the walls, smother kittens by the sackful, and cause the neighbor kids to have explosive diarrhea. Nope, not even close. Not even a mild case of the runs. No kittens were harmed in the making of this music.

I haven’t voluntarily listened to music like this in 7 or 8 years. But I have to say the melody is kinda catchy, and the booming riff is nice. My friend compared them to Deftones. I’m not well-versed in Deftones. But for obvious reasons, I’m putting the song in here. The name is is “The Sadness of Graves”. This is the band’s Facebook link (“weareislander”?  really?):

Apr 232014

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the second album by Arcania from France.)

Arcania are an unknown gem, one I didn’t even know about until I stumbled across the video for a single off their sophomore album Dreams Are Dead.  They channel the neo-melodic death metal, heavily thrash-infused sound of the likes of Darkane, Carnal Forge, and like bands.  I ended up coming away thoroughly impressed, both with material from this record and from their debut Sweet Angel Dust.  I quickly asked Islander to snatch a promo and here we are.

Arcania play their music pretty straight.  The riffs are a blaze of technical dual-guitar acrobatics, the drumming is belligerently unrelenting in true thrash spirit, and the vocals of guitarist/vocalist Cyril Peglion are reminiscent of Gojira’s Joe Duplantier.  He never screams per se; his vocal style is like if Duplantier did nothing but his melodic howling all the time, and so it’s kind of hard to say whether this qualifies as an exception to our rule as a result.  His vocals definitely carry melodies, but you can feel the power surge hitting you.  If it’s a singing voice, it’s certainly an unusually harsh one.

Apr 232014

I was away from the internet for 8 hours yesterday. On the one hand, it was kind of refreshing. On the other hand… I sure as shit missed a lot of metal news. The first item I saw upon returning to the wired world was a post by Andy Synn in our NCS group on Facebook, spreading the word about the Conquerors of the World Tour, with a comment: “Stick Dimmu in as headliners and you’d have ALL the symphonic bluster you could muster.” No shit.

Here’s the announcement that appeared on the Septicflesh Facebook page:

“”We are thrilled to announce that we will be returning to North America/Canada with our blood brothers in Fleshgod Apocalypse, Hour of Penance and Necronomicon,” comments SEPTICFLESH. “This promises to be a night in darkness to be remembered as we prepare to unleash our colossal new album ‘Titan.’”

No dates yet, but this promises to be one of the year’s can’t-miss outings. As soon as we get the schedule, we’ll slap it up on the site without delay.

Apr 222014

(In this post DGR reviews the debut album by Forever Dawn — the serious musical project of The Vegan Black Metal Chef.)

This is a review that has been a long time coming. Recently it’s probably the one that has been weighing on my mind the most, considering that I’ve consistently had the Bandcamp page for it open since finding it two weeks after the disc came out. I think by the time this poor thing is published, I will have deleted and restarted it close to ten times — in part because I wasn’t sure how to approach this release, wondering if I was paying it enough respect or even capable of analyzing its deeper value or whether it was worth listening to.

In part it has also taken some serious time to get my teeth into and be able to talk about because trying to pin it down to one genre is incredibly difficult; I want to make the argument that tagging it as just Industrial Black Metal feels wrong, but I don’t want to launch into some four-paragraph screed about what those words mean to me, given that genrification is already pretty goddamned subjective, without talking about the release as a whole beforehand.

But enough of the lengthy preamble, just what the fuck are we looking at here?

Apr 222014

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Cormorant.)

Prog-metal pirates Cormorant have never been ones to shy away from change. Heck, their entire career thus far has been one of slow evolution, from their early beginnings with 2007’s The Last Tree, through the attention-grabbing Metazoa, up to 2011’s game-changing Dwellings.

Coming in the wake of the departure of bassist/vocalist Arthur von Nagel, and his replacement with the similarly talented Marcus Lusbombe, it seems change is still in the air for the group. Earth Diver betrays a fundamentally more blackened edge, expanding and exploring the limits of Cormorant’s established sound, landing somewhere between the prog-death magic of Edge of Sanity and the folk-tinged black metal of Drudkh, but with a style and a flair all its own.

Is it a perfect album? No. But perfection is overrated. Perfection is stagnation. Rather, Earth Diver functions as a prime example of raw passion and creativity, growth and change, the sound of a band unafraid to take chances, to experiment, interweaving tone and texture, interbreeding influence and imagination… pursuing progression in the truest sense of the word.

Apr 222014

Here are five items I found yesterday that I thought were worth sharing. The first and last items will tear you a new one. In between those you’ll find some tantalizing news and a song that’s an exception to our “rule” but will rock you all night long.

MIASMAL

Miasmal are a Gothenburg death metal band who share members with Agrimonia and Martyrdöd and whose self-titled debut album came out in 2011. Their second album, Cursed Redeemer, is scheduled for a May 13 U.S. release by Century Media (April 28 in the EU). Last month we featured a song from the album named “Until the Last”. Yesterday Noisey/Vice premiered a second track, “Call of the Revenant”. In a word, it’s stupendous (and, as noted, it will tear you a new one).

Seriously, there’s something about this song. On the one hand, it sounds utterly familiar — voracious vocal howling, heavy-drilling down-tuned riff grisliness, death/crust grinding and crawling, punk-inflected Swedeath rhythms. On the other hand, it not only captures this old-school radiance terrifically well, it sounds… vibrant and new. The rapacious, marauding energy is explosive and it begs to be played over and over again.

Apr 212014

Swimming through the effluent of the interhole this morning I came upon these life rafts that buoyed my spirits. May they make you buoyant as well.

AUROCH

Last November I reported the happy news that Vancouver’s Auroch had signed with Profound Lore, for the release of the band’s next album during 2014 (that same report was merely the prelude to a review of the band’s killer 2013 EP Seven Veils, which you should hear if you haven’t). And now we have the album’s name — Taiman Shud — and the cover art by Cold Poison, which you can see above and which is damned cool — cold, grim, and undoubtedly fitting for what I expect will be an immense and forbidding death metal release.

The official release date was also announced:  June 24, 2014. A vinyl edition will be coming in July via Dark Descent.

And in other Auroch news, it was announced that Tridoid Records will be releasing the band’s previous album From Forgotten Worlds on vinyl this coming August.

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