Jul 202017

 

(Continuing his week-long series of interviews focusing on un-sung bands with stellar 2016 albums, Andy Synn today talks with guitarist Piotr Chmielecki of the Polish band Koronal.)

Fit to bursting with twanging, tensile riffs and gigantic, gigawatt grooves, Flicker Away, the debut album by this powerhouse Polish quintet, rapidly rocketed its way to the top of my “most listened to” list soon after I discovered it at the tail-end of 2016/start of 2017.

In fact I loved it so much that I was more than happy to state that I actually preferred it to the new Meshuggah album, The Violent Sleep of Reason… an opinion which I still stand by today!

But whether you’re onboard with that statement or not, I ‘m pretty certain that you’ll still agree when I say that Flicker Away was (and is) one heck of an album, and one which definitely deserved a lot more praise and attention than it actually received.

So, with that in mind, please give it up for Koronal!

Jul 192017

 

I had a great weekend, thanks for asking. I devoted it to visits by out-of-town family and a two-day picnic, and NCS took a distant back seat, which is why there was no weekend round-up and no SHADES OF BLACK column. We avoided going dark only though the valiant efforts of Andy Synn and DGR.

Predictably, I now have a big list of new songs and videos to share around, too many for one post. We’ll start with offerings from five bands, and I’ll have at least one and probably two more round-ups this week. Might get one more done today, but maybe not. A meteor strike could decimate my home, the chime on a dryer could alert me that it’s time to get the clothes out, I might feel like chasing a passing car, the lorises might commence war games again. The crystal ball is cloudy.

KERES

The new Keres EP (released July 12th) is an exception to the (admittedly porous) rule in our site’s title, but it’s a slam-dunk exception: Justin Helvete’s voice is a truly remarkable instrument. And everything else about these three songs is also remarkable.

Jul 192017

 

Let’s tick off some of the good things that Vancouver’s Resurgence have going for them, shall we?

There’s the cover art by Tony Kohl for their forthcoming debut album Besieged, which catches the eye quite quickly and effectively. As you’ll see below, they’re also a photogenic bunch of lads — or at least they make you wonder what the hell was going on at that photo shoot. If appearances can be credited, they also look like the kind of dudes you’d like spending time with, as long as you’re comfortable around knives, cigars, and lots of beer.

What have I forgotten? Oh yeah! Their music… it’s a form of modern death metal that’s something like a cross between a fully tooled-up war machine and a blood-stained butcher delivering red meat to the mosh pit. You’ll get a lip-smacking taste of that through our premiere of a track aptly named “Machine“.

Jul 192017

 

(This is TheMadIsraeli’s review of the new album by Concrete Age, along with our premiere of a full album stream.)

 

Technical thrash-style riffing? Check. Melodic death metal styled melodic approaches and emotive song-writing? Check. Eastern ethnic cultural instruments and influences? Check. Raw thrash/hardcore styled vocals that have a complete disregard for technique and are all passion? Check. Concrete Age encapsulate a lot of things I love in extreme metal.

If this were a different time, these guys would definitely be classified under the so-called “Neo-thrash” tag alongside Hatesphere or Carnal Forge or even Darkane. Their music is more technical melodic death metal, I guess, with a great deal of Eastern ethnic instrumental moments and melodic tendencies.

The Totem Of The Great Snake, Part 1 is an immensely powerful album and is also the best melodic death metal album of the year that I’ve heard by FAR so far. Big deal, considering the style’s been in a real slump the last couple of years.

Jul 192017

(In the third installment of Andy Synn’s week-long series of interviews, he talked with members of the Vancouver BC band Riftwalker — guitarist/vocalist Miles Morrison, bassist/vocalist Spencer Atkinson, and drummer Zan Petrovic — whose 2016 album Andy reviewed for us here.)

Progressive/Technical Death-Thrash combo Riftwalker wowed a number of people with the release of their debut album, Green & Black, in October last year – and I can only imagine that number would have been even higher if that band hadn’t flown under the radar quite so much.

But right now we have an opportunity to correct that (at least a little bit) by bringing the band another dose of well-deserved attention!

Jul 182017

 

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the debut album by Italy’s Order Ov Riven Cathedrals, which was released on July 5, 2017.)

Italian death metal and I have a pretty tense relationship. It tries so hard, and there’s certainly impressive things about it, but I’m usually not impressed. I like Hideous Divinity, and some Hour Of Penance and Fleshgod Apocalypse, but that’s really it, and even then I’m not so enamored that I couldn’t do without them.

The hyperspeed “let’s out Pole the Polish” aesthetic has always been commendable, and I have nothing against it in and of itself, but I often find that Italian bands lack the sense of efficiency and hooky song-writing that makes the Polish death metal template so appealing. Fleshgod has always been a band I enjoy because of the gimmick they offer (it works), and while I wasn’t impressed with Hideous Divinity at the beginning, they have evolved into a very good Annihilation Of The Wicked-era throwback band, and their new album this year is undeniably one of 2017‘s best.

And that brings me to Order Ov Riven Cathedrals. This is the first time I’ve encountered Italian hyper-speed death metal and actually LOVED it from the first listen. I might even go as far as to say that, at least for me personally, this is the first time the Italian death metal formula has been both perfected and extrapolated upon effectively. The Discontinuity’s Interlude is one of the most unrelenting, savage, and uncompromising death metal albums I’ve heard all year.

Jul 182017

 

In the right hands, and shaped with the right spirit, seemingly simple musical structures can become intensely evocative and even spellbinding. In fact, the ability of a piece of music to carry the listener away in a waking trance, where the mind conceives its own visions under the influence of the sound, may become even stronger with simplicity — if the songwriting and the execution are as good as they are on the self-titled album by the Finnish atmospheric black metal band Kval.

The album by this one-man project was first released under the name Khaossus in 2015, but it has been re-recorded for this release under the band’s new name, adorned as well in new artwork (by Moonroot Art). It will be released by Hypnotic Dirge Records on July 27th. This 43-minute work is composed of four long songs, interspersed with three minimalistic ambient tracks. Of those four long tracks, “Kuolonkuu” is the last one — and it’s the one we’re premiering for you in this post.

Jul 182017

 

Not for the first time, I find myself wondering about the use of the term “cold” to describe black metal that’s hot enough to melt lead, hot enough to put a fever in the blood, the heat of unchained human violence run rampant.

This time, that wondering was prompted by the wondrous track you’re about to hear, a scorcher named “Der Tronen Blender, Vender Vi Oss Mot Mørket” by the Norwegian black metal band Nattverd. It will appear on their debut album Vi Vet gud Er En Løgner (We Know God Is A Liar!), which is projected for release in September by Darker Than Black Records.

Background information about Nattverd is scarce. They are a two-person band that began in 2010, consisting of guitarist/bassist Atyr and vocalist Ormr, with session drums on this track performed by Serpentr. An earlier version of this song appeared late last year, but what you’re about to hear is the final mixed and mastered album track.

Jul 182017

 

(In the second installment in a week-long series of interviews, Andy Synn talks with members of the Norwegian band Endolith, whose 2016 debut album he reviewed here.)

For the second in this interview series on some of the “unsung heroes” of 2016, we’re travelling to Tromsø, Norway, to discuss Metal and metaphysics with progressive death-groovers Endolith, who released their fantastic debut album, Voyager, in December of last year.

******

First question – nice and simple – how are you guys doing at the moment?

Frode: Hello, we are doing fine. In fact we’re actually in the middle of writing our sophomore album, and we’re more than halfway through. We’ve been working continuously since the release of Voyager and it’s looking good!

Spirits are high, and we feel that we are honing our sound further, trimming some of the fat that may naturally accumulate on a debut album, and making perhaps more cohesive material.

Jul 172017

 

(Andy Synn brings us this first in a week-long series of interviews, and today’s initial installment is a discussion with vocalist/guitarist Andreas Schmittful of Germany’s Phantom Winter.)

One of the great things about being a part of a blog like NCS is being able to write about whatever bands/albums you find interesting, with little to no editorial interference, and no real pressures with regards to deadlines or being made to stick to a certain party line.

And that’s not something I take for granted.

Like the man said, “with great power comes great responsibility…”, and, for better or for worse, I have a platform here which means my voice reaches a lot further, and a resounds a little more loudly, than it would do otherwise.

And since I’m going to be rather busy this week due to a combination of day-job and band-life demands, I thought I’d take this opportunity to use that voice and draw attention to a handful of artists whose albums were, through no fault of their own, largely overlooked in the celebratory orgy of 2016’s End of Year listfest… beginning with Germany’s own Phantom Winter.

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