(Another month is in the history books, and so it’s time for KevinP to name the releases from last month that most impressed him.)
Half the year has come and gone. Yeah, it’s beyond cliche to say “that was fast”, so I won’t. But what got me thinking was how people like to compare different years and judge which ones were better for metal releases. Since 2012 I’ve been doing Best Of lists here at NCS and I’ve been very happy each year with the plethora of releases I’ve been fortunate to hear. I can’t really say any one year has been “off” or “poor” for metal. Nor can I say one year was better than the next. So on that token, here’s 5 more great albums of 2015.
If you’ve been dropping by our site on even a semi-regular basis, then you’ve probably seen one or more of our three song premieres since May from Terror From the Air, the new album by Italy’s Airlines of Terror. If so, then it will probably come as no shock that today we’re delivering a full stream of the entire album. And if by some cruel twist of fate you haven’t yet heard what these dudes have accomplished, then you’re in for a treat.
Actually, you’re in for a treat even if you’ve heard all three of those previous song premieres, because one of the album’s strong selling points is that Airlines of Terror aren’t a one-note band. All of the songs on this album do have certain things in common — eye-popping percussion, addictive grooves, galvanizing riffs, and strong melodies (not to mention a lot of rapid-fire, carnivorous vocal extremity to go along with the technical flash) — but each song has its own distinctive twists and turns, and that makes the album a kick to hear from start to finish. The phrase “all killer, no filler” applies here.
(Comrade Aleks brings us this interview with guitarist and songwriter Richard Nossar of the great Peruvian doom band Matus, who we’ve featured on our site before and who have a new album ready for listening.)
It’s time to relax and let your mind flow with a current of old ’n’ good psychedelic stoner rock. Matus (ex-Don Juan Matus) is a Peruvian band, and we’ll talk about it with Richard Nossar (guitars) as an exception to NCS’s strict rules. Matus celebrate their tenth anniversary this year and they almost have a fifth full-length Claroscuro in their hands, so why not?
“Más allá de este sueño al que el hombre llama vida
Hay un lugar donde el tiempo no es real!”
If you get me right… Anyway, let’s try.
We’ve known there was something special about Amiensus ever since my co-writer Andy Synn brought the band to our attention through his vivid review of their 2013 debut album Restoration. In the years since then, the band have released a small number of individual songs that proved to be equally impressive, but I still don’t think even that track record of excellent releases could have fully prepared us for the band’s new album Ascension – which will be released tomorrow. In a word, it’s astonishing.
Attempting to capture the tremendously multi-hued character of the music in mere words is probably a fruitless goal. It’s true of most music, but undeniable in the case of this album, that there is no substitute for experiencing it yourself. It’s ambitious, it takes risks, it lays bare the emotional intensity of the musicians and vocalists, and it vividly reflects the creativity of their songwriting ideas. They should all be immensely proud of what they’ve accomplished.
Ascension is a folk-tinged, genre-crossing amalgam of black metal, melodic death metal, and progressive rock. It’s sweepingly atmospheric and it’s warlike. It’s massively heavy and as fragile as snowflakes. It’s doomed and it’s defiant. It’s drenched in sorrow, it’s explosive in its ferocity, it’s panoramic in its epic reach, and it’s often sublimely mystical. And frequently, it’s all of those things within the space of a single song.
Time flies, and sometimes the good things it carries away, it brings back again with renewed pleasure. Almost exactly three years ago I stumbled across (and wrote about) an excellent EP entitled Solar by a New Jersey band named Windfaerer. I had forgotten about the band as the years rolled on, but the memories of that wonderful discovery have now been rekindled — because Windfaerer have finally completed their second full-length, Tenebrosum. Today we’ll give you a glimpse of what it holds in store as we premiere the album’s first track, “Celestial Supremacy“.
Windfaerer’s name signifies one who travels with the wind, and the album’s name — which draws from the archaic term for the Atlantic Ocean (“Mare Tenebrosum”), meaning “sea of darkness” — underscores the conceptual connection of the band’s music to the idea of setting sail upon unknown waters, with both perils and the hope of new discovery lying ahead along the path carved by the wind.
On August 21, 2015, Season of Mist will release a live double-album by Rotting Christ entitled Lucifer Over Athens. It was recorded in the band’s home city in December 2013, and it represents a wonderful summing up of this influential Hellenic black metal band’s long and triumphant career to date. Today we’re proud to help premiere from the album the live performance of “Athanatoi Este“.
There are precious few extreme metal bands who have persisted and flourished for as long a span of years as Rotting Christ. Over their nearly three decades of creating music, they have released consistently strong albums while resisting the temptation to simply rehash old glories. They have evolved and progressed, but without ever damping the Luciferian flame that burns fiercely in their songs. They earned their respect long ago, but they seem not to take that for granted — and they continue earning it with each passing year.
At 6:30 a.m. on December 1, 1948, the body of a well-dressed man was found lying in the sand on Somerton Beach just south of Adelaide, South Australia. Sewn into a hidden pocket of the man’s pants was a scrap of paper, the final page from an edition of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam on which these words were printed: “taman shud” (Persian for “finished”).
Following an appeal by police, a man in nearby Glenelg turned in the copy of the book from which the page had been torn, which he had discovered lying on the seat of his car. In the back of the book were faint pencil markings of five lines of capital letters, with one line crossed out. The letters were thought to be in code, but if they were, the code was never deciphered:
No cause of death was ever proven, though the coroner suspected the use of some undetectable poison. Nor was the dead man ever identified, despite intensive efforts by police that included worldwide distribution of the decedent’s photograph and other information about the body. The book itself appeared to have been an edition for which there was no record of its printing.
Fascination with “The Taman Shud Case“, also known as “The Mystery of the Somerton Man“, has persisted down to the present — and it has inspired the creation of a new album by a Virginia band named Harmonic Cross, entitled It Is Finished.
(Guest contributor Grant Skelton provides this collection of recently released new music by two bands — Chaos Order and Dolven.)
Chaos Order are a metallic hardcore band from my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. In October, they will be recording with Steve Albini (Nirvana, TAD, High On Fire, Neurosis) for a split release due in 2016. The band have an EP due in the fall as well (date TBA) titled, Distant Chords of Disharmony. Recently, Chaos Order posted 2 songs from that release. Regarding the song “Eternal Recurrence,” the band posted this on their Facebook page:
“Eternal Recurrence is the most experimental Chaos Order track to date.”
Now, I know that in the metal world, the word “experimental” can have multiple meanings depending on its context. Depending upon the temperament of the audience, bands can be praised or condemned for “experimenting” with their sound. Rest assured, “Eternal Recurrence” sees Chaos Order borrowing various well-worn musical weapons from their arsenal.
Scarve – 2003
(In this new edition of The Synn Report, Andy Synn reviews the discography of Scarve.)
Recommended for fans of: Strapping Young Lad, Darkane, Gorod
Often tagged with the ever-so-damning “Modern Metal” moniker (shudder), French musical metallurgists Scarve – whose most recent line-up includes Darkane vocalist Lawrence Mackory, Soilwork guitarist Sylvain Coudret, and Extreme Metal’s resident VID (Very Important Drummer) Dirk Verbeuren – can be a hard-to-classify beast.
Existing somewhere in the irradiated wasteland between Death and Thrash, the strong hints of Meshuggah-esque futurism and Fear Factory-style mechanised rhythms have, at varying stages of their career, seen the group lumbered with awkward references to “Cyber-Metal” and “Industrial Death Metal”, neither of which seem to accurately capture the band’s overall sound and style.
Still, we’re not here to bandy genre terms and stylistic tags, we’re here to experience some damn good Metal! So, without further ado, click onwards and feast your ears on the blisteringly technical, ferociously aggressive, and enigmatically progressive Cyber-Metal assault of Scarve…
Dammit, I said it didn’t I?
For those of you who happened to come across a review I wrote of the new album by Toronto’s Megiddo in mid-June, I have to apologize — because I later discovered that what I wrote about The Holocaust Messiah was not based on the complete version of the album. I based it instead on what was then available for streaming on Bandcamp, and that stream did not include the Intro and Outro tracks, nor did it include the title song — which may be the strongest track on the album. After making that discovery, I ordered the CD version of the album from Barbarian Wrath, and now I’ve heard it as it was meant to be heard, in its entirety. So, allow me to begin again….
Roughly 13 years have passed since Megiddo last put out an album, and aside from a trio of splits in 2003, I don’t think there’s been any new music from the band at all since then — until Barbarian Wrath released The Holocaust Messiah this month. It consists of seven tracks, plus an intro and outro — and it’s a gem.