Jan 312011

Maybe other people don’t find lorises as amusing as we do. Or maybe other people are happy just to look at lorises without treating them as fodder for “icanhazcheezburger” captions. Or maybe other people would rather we just stick to metal and leave bug-eyed animals to The Discovery Channel.

Whatever the reason, we only got three entries in our latest NCS contest — which was to come up with a suitable caption for that loris image up above that our buddy Phro sent us all the way from his fortified outpost in Japan.

Phro graciously consented to judge the entries and pick a winner, which he has now done. After the jump, Phro names the winner and explains his choice, we reveal our prizes for the lucky dude, and we add the winning caption to the photo.  (We do have metal today, in the two posts just below this one, so don’t start throwing things at the computer screen . . .)

Jan 312011

This will be quick, but it will be good, I promise.

Everyone knows that Amon Amarth has a new album on the way –“Surtur Rising”. I am very much looking forward to it. Very much.

This past weekend, the first track from the album — “War of the Gods” — debuted on Full Metal Jackie’s nationally syndicated radio show. And as I had hoped, someone has now uploaded the track (which includes Jackie’s quick intro) onto YouTube.

It is classic Amon Amarth — which means if you’re not a big fan, this won’t change your life. But if you are a big fan (as I am), it is just a fucking killer way to start the week. It’s a phalanx of raging Vikings pounding down at you at a full charge, with Johan Hegg barking like a big wolf. It’s got a massively infectious little melody grooved into it, and a boiling guitar solo to boot.

UPDATE: After the jump, we now have the official stream of “WAR OF THE GODS” — not the version ripped from the radio on YouTube, with its imperfections.

Go past the jump and listen . . . and then get your battle ax out of the closet and run into the streets looking for a worthy foe to butcher!

Jan 312011

I’m way behind with these MISCELLANY posts. Of course, “Way Behind” is one of my middle names (or two of them), so I guess this doesn’t come as a shock to anyone. It’s still unfortunate, because the longer I wait to do one of these, the more impossible it becomes to get through all the undiscovered music I’d like to hear. Actually, there’s no such thing as “more impossible”. A task is either possible or it’s not.

Anyway, there are rules to performing this particular impossible task: Here at NCS we keep a running list of bands whose music we’ve never heard, but who look interesting for one reason or another; usually, they’re bands who are fairly new to the scene. When time permits, I pick a handful of names off the list and listen to a song or two from each band and then write about my reactions in these MISCELLANY posts. Sometimes, I’ve got reason to think I’ll like the music, but usually I have no idea. And because I’m realistic about the worth of my own opinions, I give you a chance to hear what I heard so you can make up your own minds.

In this installment of the series, I checked out the following bands from the following places: Red Descending (Australia), Death Comes Pale (Denmark), and PLAAG (Belgium).  (more after the jump . . .)

Jan 302011

It’s been almost three weeks since our last “THAT’S METAL!” post. We don’t put up installments in this series on any kind of regular schedule, but that’s still way too fucking long. As regular readers know, for these posts we look for news reports or photos or videos that make us think, “shit, that’s metal!” — even though it’s not music.

For this installment, we’ve got a few news items that relate to intoxicants — or in one case, to what some Darwin Award candidates thought were intoxicants — plus the best beer commercial we’ve ever seen.

And then, for the fuck of it, we’re interspersing among those items some random photographs that are all kinds of awesome which we found at Boston.com. They’re from an amazing collection of 120 news photos from 2010 — a “best of the year” round-up that’s worth checking out in full if you’ve got the time (here).

The one at the top of this post is a shot of lightning streaks across the sky as lava flows from an Icelandic volcano in Eyjafjallajokul on April 17, 2010. You might remember that this volcano spewed ash into the air for weeks, wreaking havoc on flights across Europe and fucking up plans by various metal bands for European tours.

For the rest of our items, plus our usual tasteless commentary, continue reading past the jump . . .

Jan 292011

The March issue of DECIBEL magazine arrived a couple days ago at the NCS island. There on the cover was a photo of a smiling Chuck Schuldiner licking blood from a nasty cut on his finger. And to commemorate the magazine’s 12-page oral history of Death, the issue included a “Flexi” disk recording of Boston’s Revocation covering “Pull the Plug” from Death’s 1988 album, Leprosy.

I stared at that Flexi disk for a few minutes, trying to think what to do with it.  I tried to shove it into my computer’s CD drive, but it was too big. I shook it really hard and held it up to my ear, but no music came out of it. I even chewed on it, but it still wouldn’t give up its secrets. Slowly, it dawned on me that this thing was meant for a turntable — y’know, those things that make stuff spin around and around, with an arm that holds a needle that somehow makes sound come out of the spinning things?

Problem is, we don’t have any turntables here at NCS. So that Flexi disk is destined to go through life as a coaster.

Then, just as I was resigning myself to having to imagine what “Pull the Plug” would sound like as performed by Revocation, that dim bulb in my head flared briefly and I remembered an e-mail I’d gotten earlier in the week from NCS contributor BadWolf telling me that the Revocation song was streaming over at MetalSucks. I hadn’t been anyplace where I could listen when that e-mail arrived, and then I just forgot about it. So I guess that Flexi disk served a purpose after all.

If you happened to miss that song-stream over at MS, don’t make the same mistake twice — you can stream the song here, right after the jump, and you should, because, to use a journalistic term of art, it’s hot shit.

Jan 292011

Last year, Prosthetic Records made its first signing of a UK band — a mysterious foursome called Dragged Into Sunlight — and last week the label reissued the band’s debut album, Hatred For Mankind, which was originally released in more limited distribution more than a year ago by Mordgrimm Records (Anaal Nathrakh, Covenant).

The album, was produced by Tom Dring and Billy Anderson — who has also produced groundbreaking albums by Eyehategod, Neurosis, Melvins, Weedeater and many more – and it features the striking cover art of Justin Bartlett (shown above, with the CD booklet unfolded to show the front and back as a single piece).

Now, you wouldn’t be visiting this site if you didn’t have a taste for extremity in your metal, but even so, we may be pushing the envelope for many of you by promoting this music. Listening to it is a harrowing but remarkable experience. It’s a cataclysmic, corrosive, chaotic, cathartic, crushing cavalcade of cacophony. It’s one of the most disturbingly brilliant albums we’ve ever heard. 

And there’s a weird footnote to this story, which involves YouTube banning the band’s one official video yesterday, not because it’s extremely disturbing (which it is) but because — blasphemy of blasphemies — it shows a penis. (more after the jump, including a song that will gut you like a fish . . .)

Jan 282011

(NCS contributor BadWolf is back with another edition of “Think Local, Sound Global”)

The re-master is a quirky thing; nearly as tricky to successfully pull off as the re-recording or the dreaded lead vocalist swap. It takes guts to do any of them without a huge dedicated fanbase, and a keen ear to do any of them well.

Kudos, then, to Detroit’s underground metal standard-bearers Battlecross. They are at the moment re-mastering their self-produced debut, Push, Pull, Destroy, with new vocal tracks from a different lead singer, but no label to speak of backing them in any way.

Here’s the rub: the new versions of the songs sound amazing. That this band does not have more widespread recognition is a travesty. Battlecross have been playing in Michigan for years at events like Dirtfest and Ogrefest, as well as opening for bigger bands like Mushroomhead and The Faceless—ever sharpening their chops, as well as licking them. These guys are tighter than a nun, and often play right in the crowd just to make a point—they don’t mess around, they slay.  (more after the jump . . .)

Jan 272011

Our UK contributor Andy Synn returns with another edition of The Synn Report.

A band with a profound, and vastly underrated, influence on many of today’s bands, Norway’s Extol were in many ways the epitome of counter-culture in metal circles at one time. Whereas the majority of their countrymen were quite happy to worship Satan and live out their darkest black metal fantasies, these 5 individuals decided to play a progressive form of technical death/thrash metal with a lyrical bent covering their own shared Christian spirituality. Blasphemy!

Over the course of their career this Norwegian five-piece were never afraid to push the envelope with their sound and playing, their technical skills and song-writing prowess a real testament to their dedicated pursuit of musical perfection and progression. Difficult to precisely define in terms of sound and scene-affiliation, the band is most broadly described as a Progressive Metal band; at times (particularly in the early days) the band were notably extreme.

(more after the jump, including sample songs from Extol’s discography . . .)

Jan 262011

If you’re the sort who experiences an adrenaline surge when you hear the name Dismember, then read on. If all the blood drains from your head when you see the names Entombed or Carnage or Grave or Interment, and surges into the parts of your body (male or female) that swell when in a state of arousal, then read on. If you’re getting creeped out reading this, even though you don’t know what we’re talking about, you have our permission to move on with your usual web-surfing.

What we’re talking about is the kind of Swedish death metal that mimics the internal combustion engine in its most rudimentary state, the kind that sounds like a massive machine that’s never had a tune-up, with holes gouged in the muffler, running hot, rough, and loud, and polluting the ecosystem with massive clouds of petrochemical effluent.

What we’re talking about is a near-perfect tribute to those bands named above, as expertly executed by an outfit from the Czech Republic called Brutally Deceased (named for the song by Grave from 1992′s You’ll Never See…, of course) on their debut album Dead Lover’s Guide. If you’re stifling a yawn and thinking, “not another old-school Swedeath revival act”, then this may not be your thang. But if the drool is starting to drip down your chin, then read on. (more after the jump . . .)

Jan 252011

Well, you can’t say we didn’t warn you, cuz we did. We said in the post below this one that we probably hadn’t completely gotten this lolbandz/lollorisez thing out of our systems yet. And besides, we haven’t run an NCS contest since naming Niek Baboon’s gut-busting burger last September (here).

So, here’s the set-up: After we put up the post earlier today with NCS reader and sometimes contributor Phro‘s lol-speak captions for metal bands and our lol-captions for lorises, Phro found another loris photo he proposed as the official NCS mascot. It’s that very odd image up above. I immediately made a caption for it and added it to the original post, but I didn’t think my caption was that great.

So rather than try to come up with something better, I thought to myself, “Self, what the fuck, let’s let NCS readers suggest the caption!” As a bribe, we’ve got an assortment of new releases laying around in the loris cage and we’re willing to contribute three of those CDs as a prize. We won’t tell you what they are, because you may think they suck. So it will be a surprise — and they’ll be covered in authentic loris shit!. One more thing: Phro will pick the winner(contest details after the jump . . .)

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