Jul 312010

My, how time flies. Another month is in the history books. However much time you have on earth, you now have 31 days less of it since since the last installment of this post. Drink up!

But have no fear. You’re headed for a better place. That’s right, basically the same existence you had a month ago, but with more new metal ahead of you. Drink up!

And all those physical processes that are inexorably decaying your bodies on the rocky road to your demise, they’re still there and they’re still working on you like termites that have found a rotting log. But hey, you can still bang your head, so . . . Drink up!

Yes, we’re now a full seven months into 2010, and so it’s time for another monthly update to the list of forthcoming new albums we first posted on January 1. (All the other updates can be found via the “Forthcoming Albums” category link on the right side of our pages.) Below is a list of still more projected new releases we didn’t know about at the time of our previous updates, or updated info about some of the previously noted releases.

Once again, we’ve cobbled together news blurbs about bands whose past work we’ve liked, or who look interesting for other reasons. Perhaps needless to say, these are bands that mostly fit the profile of music we cover on this site — the kind that would like to tear your head off.

So, in alphabetical order, here’s our list of cut-and-pasted items from various sources since our last update about forthcoming new releases. Look for the bands you like and put reminders on your calendar. Or if you’re like us, just stick post-it notes on your forehead. Of course, if your foreheads are the low, sloping kind, you may only have room for a few, so be choosy.

Jul 302010

In recent years, people have written books with the intent of dispelling various so-called “myths” about wolves. I haven’t read any of them, but they’re probably trying to tell us that wolves are actually warm, loving creatures who are good parents and self-sacrificng friends.

I haven’t read those books because I’d rather continue to think of wolves as vicious, red-eyed pack animals that would just as soon rip out your jugular as look at you. Life is too civilized as it is without having someone domesticate my mental image of the wolf.

Besides, that would detract from the awesomeness of Wolvhammer as a metal-band name. It would turn it into something like Puppyhammer. Or Puppyhummer. Or something equally tame. And Wolvhammer is anything but tame.

We first heard about Wolvhammer’s debut album, Black Marketeers of World War III,  via a feature in the current issue of DECIBEL magazine, which punched many of our buttons — so much so that we ran out and bought the album fast. And we are so glad we did.  (more after the jump, including a mixtape of music inspired by Wolvhammer . . .)

Jul 292010

Soilwork is in the midst of a headlining tour in support of its recent album The Panic Broadcast, and the three perpetrators of NO CLEAN SINGING were in the audience when the tour blew through El Corazon in Seattle on July 27.

The bands on this tour are an interesting mix. No two of them play the same style of metal. We had Soilwork‘s melodic metalcore, Death Angel‘s supercharged thrash, hyper-technical death metal from Augury, Mutiny Within‘s aggressive power metal, Swashbuckle‘s pirate thrash, and melodic death metal from Seattle’s Deathmocracy.

It was also a long night, and those (like us) who were there from start to finish got their money’s worth: Deathmocracy took the stage at about 7 p.m., and Soilwork finished a 90-minute set at 12:30 in the morning. In a nutshell, we got thoroughly deep-fried in a vat of molten metal.

In this post, we’ll give you some brief notes on the performances and a collection of our reliably half-assed photos of each band — after the jump.

Jul 282010

Yes, your worst fears have been realized. No metal news today, no album or concert reviews, no interviews. Just another edition of this feature, where we share with you recent news stories that made us say: “Fuck! That’s Metal!” — even though it’s got nothing to do with music — along with our tasteless editorial observations.

Writing these “That’s Metal!” posts isn’t easy. We actually have to browse the hard news to find this stuff. We have to wade through the stories that actually make headlines in newspapers, which is pretty fucking depressing. We don’t like being depressed, which is why writing this ongoing feature is pretty much the only reason we read the news anymore. We do it all for you.

We don’t do this on any regular schedule. It just depends on how long it takes to build up the fortitude necessary to go back to the real world long enough to find this shit. All the stories featured in today’s post came from news reports we saw on a single day (yesterday), and as usual, most of the them came from the crack investigative journalism available in our local paper, The Seattle Times.

There’s a theme to today’s round-up: Survival. Well, all except the story that’s associated with the photo at the top of this post. That one we included just because we needed an image that would catch your eye right off the bat. The story is pretty fucking funny, and there’s a video that goes with it. But you’ll have to wade through the Survival stories to get to it.

Oh yeah, we picked some smokin’ musical accompaniment for today’s features, just so’s you don’t get bored, cuz we know you have short attention spans, just like we do.  Follow along with us (after the jump).

Jul 272010

The subject of today’s post is an interview of Jesse Zuretti, the guitarist and co-creator of the musical juggernaut that is The Binary Code (whose new EP we reviewed here).

If you’re like me, when you see the word “interview” on a metal site, you sub-vocalize the words “Fuck that shit” and click away as fast as your fast-twitch muscle fibers will allow your finger to work. Why is that? If you’re like me, there are two reasons:

First, most interview questions are stupifyingly inane. Even when the interviewer actually has a functioning brain, many of them are just fucking lazy. So they ask questions that involve no thought or effort, and they get repaid in kind with the answers.

Seriously, if I were a musician and had to answer one thoughtless, cliched, repetitive, dull-as-dishwater question after another, year after year, I’d be sorely tempted to pull an Ernest Hemingway and put a 12-gauge Boss shotgun in my mouth.

Second, a person can be an extraordinarily talented artist but still be inarticulate or simply uninteresting as a conversationalist — even when the questions are halfway decent. Being really good at one thing doesn’t mean you’re really good at everything else.  To step outside the realm of music, when’s the last time you read an interview of a pro athlete or a movie star that you actually found interesting, that made you think, that opened your eyes to a new idea?

That’s not intended as a put-down. It’s just a fact. Being a talented artist doesn’t automatically make you an innovative thinker or a fascinating raconteur, just as being a diehard metal fan doesn’t make you an adept interviewer. Many people who train and work hard as professional reporters still don’t make the grade as good interviewers, so why should we expect that just being a devoted fan is enough?

Why, then, should you read this interview? Is it because I’m an extraordinarily good interviewer? Well, fuck no. All I can tell you is that I tried to think of questions that weren’t the usual dreck. Whether or not I succeeded is something you should judge for yourselves.

No, the main reason you should read this interview is because of Jesse Zuretti. He’s one of those rare people in the metal scene (a) who is a naturally gifted musician and songwriter, (b) who listens to lots of music and thinks seriously about it , (c) who thinks a lot about things other than music, (d) whose opinions and ideas are unorthodox for this scene, and (d) who can express what he thinks in words that are worth reading — and that make you think. Also, even when my questions were retarded, he was patient and serious in his answers.

Well, at least that’s my opinion.  You can judge all that for yourselves too — but you really shouldn’t miss this. Naturally, we start by talking about the new EP, but things go off in other directions after that.   (after the jump. . . .)

Jul 262010

Earlier today we posted an album review without naming the band or any of the songs. Standing alone, that was a pretty useless act. What good is a review if readers don’t know who the fuck we’re talking about? But we did have a reason.

The band whose album we reviewed is Impending Doom, and some people tend to love them or dismiss them not because of the music but because they’re a Christian metal band — not just a band whose members happen to be Christians, but a band whose songs are inspired by their faith and who tour in order to spread the message.

The consequence is that you can’t read a review of their music without half the review being about the fact that they’re an unabashed Christian metal band — which is probably just fine with them.

But here at NCS, we don’t love em or detest ‘em because of that fact. We focus on the music and the performances, and we happen to dig both. So we thought, just for the hell of it, we’d see what kind of reactions you had from our review without having those reactions influenced by the fact that this is Impending Doom.

Now that the mystery has been resolved, we’ll run our review again with all the camouflage removed. If you read the earlier review with the identity concealed and aren’t interested in reading it again, even with some details revealed, we’ve added something new at the end of the post (after the jump) under the heading “NEW STUFF”.  As always, feel free to flame or praise or yawn in the comments . . .

Jul 262010

My tastes in music have grown more extreme since I first heard Dagoba‘s album What Hell Is About in 2006. You know, the musical equivalent of the well-known progression that beer leads to hard liquor, which leads to weed, which leads to coke, which leads to heroin, which leads to death (metal).

But despite the increasing extremity of my tastes, I still like Dagoba, even though I was a bit disappointed in the next album, Face the Colossus, because it featured more clean singing and a less extreme sound overall. I certainly still like them well enough to be interested in the album they’ve got coming out on August 30 — Poseidon.

Besides, they’re from France. Maybe not as foolproof a recommendation as if they were from Finland, but French metal is pretty fucking good these days.

But as interested as I am, I obviously haven’t been on my toes, because I didn’t know until a few minutes ago that they’ve already officially released one song from the album (“Black Smoker”) and that a second song (“Waves of Doom”) has been leaked onto YouTube.  (“Thank-you” to the more-on-his-toes deseee at the most excellent The Number of the Blog for posting about these two tracks.)

Of the two, I much prefer the leaked song, because, well, it’s more extreme. But “Black Smoker” is decent, too. Both songs are after the jump, plus more of the amazing artwork created for the new album . . .

Jul 262010

The three perpetrators of this site first saw this band as the headline act in a small, crappy little club in Portland that hadn’t been cleaned since Ronald Reagan was president. The whole place was scarred, and every surface was sticky. It was pretty full, which didn’t take a lot. There was hardly any room to move. That night, this band owned the place. The performance was explosive, and the performers had magnetic stage presence.

We saw ‘em again on another national tour the next year in Seattle at a much larger, nicer club where they weren’t the headline act. They played again with explosive energy, just blew the crowd away. The other bands were bigger names, but this one damn-near stole the show. It was like some big muscle car going full-throttle, with the tachometer in the red zone.

They’ve just released a new album, their third. We thought we’d review it without naming the band — at least not today. We’ll do that tomorrow. Yeah, there’s a reason why we’re being so mysterious. We’ll explain tomorrow.

Some of you may recognize the music we’re going to put up from the album for you to hear. If you don’t, feel free to make some guesses in the comments, and in any event, let us know whether you like it or don’t. We do. Maybe we like it partly because we have such strong memories of those two obliteratingly powerful live shows. But that’s only part of the reason.  (more after the jump, including a track to stream . . .)

Jul 252010

Fucking Death Metal!   Death Fucking Metal!   Metal Fucking Death!

The Crown is back.

Knew they had re-formed. Knew they’ve made a new album. Coming out on September 27. On Century Media.

Didn’t know they’ve put up a brand new song from the album. Happened two days ago. Called “Blood O.D.”

Now I know. Just listened to it. More than once. Kinda out of breath now.

Will be more coherent after the jump. Also after the jump is the new song.

Fucking death metal. Ass-kicking music. Trying to take deeper breaths.

Jul 252010

Time for another installment of this Twitter-ish log in which I presume you’re interested in how I spent my morning, skipping over such vital details as what I ate for breakfast, what I’m wearing, and where my cat is licking himself right now.

Have no fear, this is just a log of the metal I listened to and watched in my latest internet browsing session — following up on press releases, MySpace add requests, and e-mail recommendations, and just some general fucking around. In all cases (with one exception), I had no previous exposure to the bands, and so no real clue whether what I found would be good, bad, or indifferent.

So, here’s what I did, in order of doing it, with no filtering and no guarantees that any of this will be worth your time — though I’m guessing most of what I found will be as new to you as it was to me. The bands I checked out are: Hellish Outcast (Norway); Citi (California); Episode 13 (Turkey); Darkness Dynamite (France); The Forrest Gump Mile High Marathon (Mars); and the one exception mentioned above, Bloodbath (Sweden).

HELLISH OUTCAST

I started off by exploring the music of Hellish Outcast, which is from that historical hot-bed of black metal, Bergen, Norway. We’d received a press release announcing the news that Thebon, frontman for the awesome Keep of Kalessin, would be joining Hellish Outcast as its new vocalist. (Have no fear KOK fans, Thebon hasn’t left that band, he’s just pulling double-duty). And then I found out that one of Hellish Outcast’s founders and its current drummer is Mads Lillevedt, who’s a member of the also-awesome Bergen band Byfrost. (We reviewed the latest albums by KOK and Byfrost here and here.)

That was more than enough incentive to visit the band’s MySpace page (here) and listen to some tunes from their 2008 EP, with the inviting title, Raping – Killing – Murder. And I’ll tell you what I thought — after the jump.

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