Mar 312011

Tonight, the official line-up of this year’s SUMMER SLAUGHTER TOUR was announced. Well, there’s actually one slot yet to be filled. More about that in a minute. But first, here’s the line-up except for that one slot:

The Black Dahlia Murder
Whitechapel
Darkest Hour
Six Feet Under
Dying Fetus
As Blood Runs Black
Oceano
Fleshgod Apocalypse

Powerglove is also listed for a “special half time show”, whatever that means. I am going. Definitely. I don’t love all these bands equally, but I would pay money to see every one of them — but most especially Darkest Hour, Dying Fetus, and . . . Fleshgod Apocalypse! Kinda blows my mind that the almighty FA is down at the bottom of the bill, so small you can barely see them. Fuck that shit! Anyway, I don’t yet know the dates and places for the tour. That info won’t be released until April 20. Motherfuckers better be comin’ to Seattle, that’s all I have to say.

Back to that one unfilled slot. The tour organizers have left that slot open on purpose. They’ve put together a list of 10 bands and they’re asking fans to vote on which one should fill the last slot as the opening act. The list of candidates and how to vote are after the jump.

Mar 312011

We started this week with a trio of posts on . . . viciousness (beginning here). Then we assisted in the disfigurement of a goddess. And yesterday was all about the venomous hatred in Anaal Nathrakh. Granted, we did have the thing about the epic Indian feed and the photos of Phro in a miniskirt, but musically speaking, it’s been a pretty pummeling week so far.

We do like to keep you a little off-balance here at NCS, so this seemed like a good day for something . . . completely different. Three completely different somethings, to be precise. We don’t often venture outside our comfort zone around here, but we’re definitely doing that today. The thing is, we’re still sort of staying true to the “no clean singing” mantra — because there’s no singing at all on our first offering, and almost none on the second.

So, ready, set, GO!

THE ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO

The last time we featured music similar to this next band (pictured above), it was the day before Thanksgiving last year. In a post called “Guitar Wizardry”, we featured new music from Joe Satriani and old music from Buckethead. That set off an interesting dialogue in the Comments section about guitar heroes and the connections between them, and of course, Alex Skolnick‘s name was mentioned more than once, in the same company as Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Young, Jeff Beck, and John Petrucci, along with Satriani (with whom Skolnick studied long ago) and Brian “Buckethead” Carroll. (more after the jump, including ear candy . . .)

Mar 302011

No band I’ve yet heard is currently pushing the limits of extreme metal more extravagantly and more successfully than Anaal Nathrakh. However, I won’t say they’re blazing a trail into the territory where the future of metal will take root. Metal will have many futures, but I suspect few of those futures will unfold along the tortured path Anaal Nathrakh is blazing; there’s too much risk of injury. More reason to live in the present – this present.

Some metal bands specialize in hair-on-fire, grindcore mayhem, played at the speed of bullets. Some specialize in the delivery of compulsively headbang-able riffage, heavy on the chainsaw guitar cutting through the bone. Some bands use keyboard-driven anthems to propel their music to emotional heights of struggle, or defiance, or loss.

Some plant their flag in the territory of industrial metal, with blasts of cold rhythm and waves of chaotic electronic noise. And some bands leaven their metallic catharsis with bursts of melody, voiced by soaring clean vocals, head thrown back and all of body and mind concentrated in the delivery.

Anaal Nathrakh does all of this within almost every song on their new album Passion, and more besides. They dissect and segment and re-combine the elements of extreme metal in blazingly creative ways — but without fail, what they achieve is profoundly unsettling. It’s wondrous, but it’s almost unrelentingly disturbing. Passion is an expression of the “otherness” of extreme metal in one of its purest forms. (more after the jump . . .)

Mar 302011

(Our UK contributor Andy Synn provides the following review of Anaal Nathrakh’s forthcoming album, Passion. This is our first of two reviews of the album — the second, by your humble editor, is in the post above Andy’s. Some albums just demand extra attention.)

Passion is one thing that Anaal Nathrakh have never lacked, as their instrumental work is as frenzied and violent as one would expect and the terrifying vocals of Dave Hunt remain as overwhelmingly powerful as ever. But the word has other meanings as well, invoking images of suffering and martyrdom which seem appropriate given the harrowing atmospheres and inhuman cacophony the band conjure, as well as the lyrical bent of certain songs, whose themes of anarchy, dedication and personal desolation are perfectly captured by such a simple, yet complex, term.

The sheer, unadulterated misanthropy and seething hate which spews from the music of Anaal Nathrakh has always spoken to me in a particular way; the bile and fury they vomit forth clearly comes from a deep-seated, internal sense of existential angst and frustration. Yet the true strength of the band has always been their ability to take this incoherent rage and shape it consciously into a weapon directed outward at specific targets, turning an internal fury into an external fire. Thus, their urban-warfare approach to blackened grind and the cold, calculated lethality of their grinding black metal remains balanced by a very human element, making the band’s sound both natural and inorganic in equal measure.  (more after the jump . . .)

Mar 292011

Do you know about EPIC MEAL TIME? It’s some kind of ongoing, web-only video series. The motto is “We make your dreams come true, and then we eat them.” I didn’t know about this thing until earlier today when a video link from a Facebook friend led me to the latest installment in the series, which was just uploaded.

I don’t know if what happens in this video is the template for all the installments, but in this one, a bunch of armed dudes (the Epic Meal Time crew, no doubt) walk into an Indian restaurant, take it over at gunpoint, and oversee the preparation of a meal — the centerpiece ingredient of which is curry candied bacon.

I was going to save this thing until I had enough additional items for a full THAT’S METAL! post, but it’s just so fucking awesome that I couldn’t wait. Here were my reactions as I watched:

Why is he sniffing her scarf? Bacon goes with everything, right? Why didn’t I think of bacon-curry Jack Daniels shots? I want my own man-bread. I’m getting queasy. Now I’m getting hungry. Now I’m getting queasy again. I would not want to be near the john when these dudes take their next shit.

Go for it after the jump . . . and be sure to share your own thoughts in the comments. Disgusting or delectible?

Mar 292011

We’ve written about Cam Argon, a/k/a Big Chocolate, before. Many times before, in fact, though not recently. What first attracted our attention to him back in 2008 was his involvement in a brutal death-metal project called Disfiguring the Goddess.   You can find a bit of the backstory about DTG in this post we ran more than a year ago. Cribbing from that post, we described the original DTG EP like this: “a raw, distorted vortex of brutal, slamming death metal marked by some truly distinctive vocals.”

Since surfacing as a cult-figure-on-the-rise through DTG, Cam has gone on to do many other things, including dubstep, remixes, a project called Commissioner with Mitch Lucker of Suicide Silence, making music videos, and a stint as the vocalist for Burning the Masses. His musical interests are, shall we say, varied.

But no matter how far and wide Big C’s musical creativity has taken him (or will take him), there have been a solid mass of core fans interested mainly in one question: When will there be new Disfiguring the Goddess music? The question is now answered, because yesterday Cam Argon uploaded an entire new album’s worth of DTG music to Soundcloud.

The album is called Circle of Nine. Based on previous reports, we assume Big C recorded all the songs with ex-Misericordiam blaster Phil Cancilla on drums and Joe Broodle on guitar, in addition to the instrumental and programming work that Big C himself did. [Update: that was a bad assumption -- we've now heard from Cam, and he did this whole album by himself, all the vocals, guitars, and drum programming.] And, of course, there are those distinctive vocals.

We’ve just started listening to these tracks this morning, and goddamn, it will spin your fucking head around and then tear it off. Fast, brutal, jolting, unpredictable, instrumentally inventive, and anchored by the most gut rumbling, abyssal, brutal-death vocals on the planet. Check it out for yourselves — the whole album stream is after the jump.

Mar 292011

To recap:

An earthquake of historic proportions hit northeastern Japan on March 11. That triggered a massive tsunami that flooded a wide swath of the Japanese mainland. Millions were left without power, and the loss of power also caused malfunctions at a nuclear plant, which has been leaking radiation ever since. More than 9,800 bodies have been recovered so far, another 17,500 are still missing; the majority of those are probably dead. Even now, more than 600,000 homes are without water, more than 200,000 still without power. Hundreds of thousands remain homeless.

We have a faithful reader named Phro whose frequent comments make me laugh or feel queasy (or sometimes both). He’s an American living and working in the Tokyo area. On March 16, at the end of one of our more widely read posts, called “Our World”, we passed along an appeal from Phro for contributions to the relief effort in Japan. And then, in an update to the post, we explained that Phro had offered an extra inducement: if NCS and its readers could meet or exceed the goal of raising $500 for Japanese relief, Phro promised to do something inappropriate and ridiculous (e.g., wear a maid skirt and dance around akihabara) and send us photographic evidence.

We exceeded that goal — and Phro has now paid off.  (details – and photos – after the jump . . .)

Mar 282011

For me, In Flames is a special band. They were one of my “gateways” to extreme metal. My NCS co-founders and I have seen them many times live, and we’ve always gotten a charge out of their shows. We’ve also met and talked with the band, and they are kind-hearted people who don’t come across as egotists, despite their global success. And on top of all that, I’m still a big fan of the music.

But to be brutally honest, I’ve become less of a fan as time has passed. I know some of you, maybe many of you, feel the same way. There is a vast distance between Clayman and A Sense of Purpose. Hell, there’s some real distance between Come Clarity and A Sense of Purpose.

Based on a news item from earlier today, I’m getting an uneasy feeling that the distance is going to increase even more when the next In Flames album, Sounds Of A Playground Fading, hits the streets in June. Yes, we now have specific worldwide release dates. We also have the news that In Flames is now signed to Century Media. 

And we have comments like this from Anders Fridén in a recent interview: “[One] song begins with a spoken-word part that evolves into a kind of hard DEPECHE MODE-type thing.”  Gulp.  (more after the jump . . .)

Mar 282011

I don’t think two posts’ worth of viciousness are enough to ameliorate the suckitude of this Monday. We need one more. Unless of course I come across even more slashing metal before this vicious Monday turns into a moderately less vicious Tuesday.

This next offering is a brand new song from Samael, a Swiss band whose experimental brand of black metal will be known to many of you. After almost three years of work, their new album, Lex Mundi, will be released on April 29 in Europe and May 3 in North America via Nuclear Blast Records.

The cover art is by Patrick Pidoux, who is also the drummer for a band called Sludge. It’s apparently intended to be shiny black imagery on a matte-black background. When I first saw it on other sites, it just looked like a solid black square (which may have something to do with the settings on my computer). Anyway, to bring out the imagery, I enhanced the exposure of the image on a photo program, and the result is above.

As for the song, it’s awesome. I’m not terribly well-versed in Samael’s extensive discography, but it doesn’t sound quite like anything from the band that I’ve heard before. It features tribal rhythms and scorching guitars, and it’s just massively infectious. You listen to this, and in addition to whispering “Fuck Mondays” under your breath, you may be moved to start pounding any nearby flat surfaces with both fists. Go past the jump and stream this mutha . . .

Mar 282011

Monday is still vicious. We’re still not willing to suffer in silence. Now we have one more piece of music to keep us company. If we’d seen this before finishing off our first post of the day, we would have included it there — but actually, it just became available a few hours ago. Good fucking timing.

It’s a new music video from Sweden’s Evocation. Their 2010 album Apocalyptic was one of our hands-down favorites of that year. We included one of the tracks (“Sweet Obsession”) on our list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs (check that here).  The music is a smoking chainsaw of death metal from a band who recorded one of their first demos at Sunlight Studios in 1992, so yeah, they know what the fuck they’re doing.

The songs are varied in their pacing, but usually fast, with a vibrating wash of melody-tinged, ass-grinding riffage; scarred, banshee-style vocals; and some sweet, flickering, weaving guitar solos that will put a big fucking smile on your face. They do a very effective job of immediately triggering the headbang reflex and rattling your skull  . . . viciously.

This new video is for a song called “Psychosis Warfare”, which is pretty much what Mondays are all about, right? It was directed and produced by Iwona Kusion and that most awesome album cover artist Michal “Xaay” Loranc, who also did the cover for Apocalyptic. Go past the jump and watch it. Fuck Mondays.

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