Apr 302011

The weekend is upon us. Don’t know about you, but I’m fucking ready for it. Tonight I’m going to see Between the Buried and Me, Job For A Cowboy, The Ocean, and Cephalic Carnage, which is certainly one of the more diverse touring line-ups of the year, so far. I’ve seen three of those bands multiple times in the past, and they do not disappoint, and I’m very curious about the fourth, who I’ve never heard on stage — The Ocean.

I hope you’ve got something to look forward to this weekend, too. But even if you plan to wallow in misery because life decided to burn a bag of shit on your front porch, we can at least give you some new tunes to brighten the weekend outlook. Not knowing what kind of metal you may be into, I tried to round up a mix of styles, while staying with the theme of new music.

Maybe you enjoy having your face clawed off by demon spawn. If so, we’ve got yet another new piece of otherworldly scariness from Malfeitor (Sweden). Maybe that’s not enough, and what you really want is music that will leave your flesh so scavenged that even hyenas will lose interest in your carcass. We have an answer for that, with a compilation from CVlt Nation. Maybe you get your rocks off from technical guitar wizardry, with music that transports you into a sublime plane which makes you feel connected to something larger than your own feeble soul. If yes, then you’ll want to hear a taste (two tastes, actually) of the solo release from Christian Muenzner (Obscura).

And maybe you want something in between, something that captures the emotion of your life, with every high and low, from the rocket-ship into the stratosphere to the utter desolation of your worst depression, from the sunrise to the bottomless pit. Yeah, we have that too, from Germany’s Ära Krâ. But before that we have a brand new song from Origin, and we really shouldn’t have to explain how many kinds of awesome that means. Stay with us, after the jump . . .

Apr 292011

I have a sneaking suspicion that among our readers we have more than a few fans of The Black Dahlia Murder. So, this seemed newsworthy. Actually, “newsworthy” is a very restrained way of saying, “Holy fuck, have we got some shit that will engorge your erogenous zones!” Or something like that.

Newsworthy/Erotic Item No. 1: The Black Dahlia Murder’s new album, Ritual, will be released on June 21 in the U.S. and in Europe on other dates in June. The album is up for pre-order on Metal Blade’s site (here).

Newsworthy/Erotic Item No. 2: Metal Blade has premiered a new song from Ritual called “Moonlight Equilibrium”. I’ve heard it. I like it a lot. It’s a blaster, with a sweet groove and some invigorating shred. You can hear it, too, right after the jump.

Apr 292011

Man, time do fly. Last July we discovered a head-spinning South Florida metal band called Capsule. At that time, they had only released one album (not counting a previous demo) called Blue. We reviewed that unpredictable but always crushing album here. Jump ahead to the here and now, and Capsule have released a second album called No Ghost on Rohrschach Records.

On top of that, Capsule scored an exclusive album stream on DECIBEL magazine’s web site. To borrow from the DECIBEL intro: “To loosely quote Ice Cube, today is a good day. The Deciblog is proud to be the only site on the Internut streaming the new album from Miami, FL, hardcore melody makers Capsule. No Ghost is a deliciously dizzying slice of adrenalized pogo-ready jams. It gives you the illusion that your brain is expanding in your skull, making you feel momentarily wiser than you actually are. We have no qualms with that.”

I would have no qualms about that either, except my brain started out so small that it would take a shitload of expanding to bring it up to human-normal size. So, although I don’t feel wiser listening to No Ghost, the music did cause me to slam around the room like a pinball and bust up all the furniture. That counts for something, right?

We think DECIBEL has hogged the album stream long enough, so we’re putting it up on our site, too. Plus, we’ve got more good news: Capsule is on the road as we speak. In fact, if you happen to live in Seattle, you can catch their show tonight at The Black Lodge. After the jump, we’ve got the rest of the remaining tour dates and places, plus that album stream. Check that shit out.

Apr 292011

(I swear this was a coincidence. I wrote a post that went up earlier today on metal covers based on a single by Anachronaeon we received yesterday, and then our UK contributor Andy Synn delivered this special edition of THE SYNN REPORT about . . . covers. This is the kind of occurrence that sends me back to the dictionary once again to figure out the difference between synchronicity and serenditpity. Or maybe it’s both.)

Covers are a strange breed of song – they’re the equivalent of a parallel universe, an alternate history, a What If? Comic, an adaptation of your favourite book starring an unexpected actor, a Shakespeare play set in an average American high school…

Seriously though, they have a huge amount of potential, both to be intriguingly inventive and woefully horrendous. Their success (or lack thereof) depends on many factors, but mainly on the song-choice itself – is it a natural fit for the band? Do they have the intelligence to re-work it in a distinctive manner? Or is it simply enough to tear through it in their own inimitable style, making few changes, but relying on sheer power to see them through?

I have chosen 15 artists who have produced some of my own personal favourite covers, showcasing a variety of approaches, some fully traditional takes on the original, others totally reworked variations. If there’s one thing that these covers show however, it is the subtle threads that inter-link all different sub-genres of rock and metal, which allow bands to re-work them organically. (more after the jump . . .)

Apr 292011

Anachronaeon is a two-man band from Sweden consisting of Andreas Åkerlind on drums and Patrik Carlsson providing guitars, bass, vocals, and keys. We first heard their music last summer on a tip from our blog-bro Niek at Death Metal Baboon (yes, it seems we’re destined to mention DMB in every post we run this week), and we then featured the band in one of our MISCELLANY posts last August (here).

Yesterday we got an e-mail from Patrik Carlsson telling us that Anachronaeon have recorded a cover of “Wasting Love” by Iron Maiden, which the band are making available for free download. I took a deep breath when I saw that, (a) because I love the original Maiden version of “Wasting Love” (despite the clean singing), and (b) because I couldn’t imagine what Anachronaeon would do to the song, given the band’s own musical style — which is a dark fusion of melodic black- and death-metal.

And right after that deep breath came a rush of thoughts about song covers in general — how rarely they succeed, and how “success” should be defined and measured. After the jump, those thoughts (on which we’d like to see your comments) plus Iron Maiden’s official video for “Wasting Love” and Anachronaeon’s cover.

Apr 282011

Man, it’s been more than a month since our last MISCELLANY post. Time has gotten away from me. ‘Course, that’s just a figure of speech, because I never had hold of Time in the first place. I just do my best to run along with it, but it’s been leaving me behind, choking on its dust. I need to make an effort to catch up before it’s too late and I become nothing more than an antiquated relic of the past.

Where was I? Oh yeah, MISCELLANY. Well, it’s been so long that it might be worthwhile to provide a refresher on what these posts are all about: We keep a running NCS list of bands whose music we haven’t heard before but who look interesting for one reason or another. And then, at unpredictable times, I pick a few names randomly off the list and listen to a song or two from each one, not knowing for sure whether the music will be good. And then, I write about what I heard and put the songs in the post so you can form your own opinions.

For today’s MISCELLANY session, I picked Disma (U.S.) and Solstorm (Norway), and I threw in a new Autopsy song for good measure. Not to spoil the suspense, but this turned out to be a fucking great musical expedition: two winners, without doubt. (more after the jump . . .)

Apr 272011

Deals Death is a melodic death-metal band from — where else — Gothenburg, Sweden. I first heard about them last September when Death Metal Baboon posted a track called “Fortified”, which Deals Death had recorded in 2010 as part of an album called Elite (their second full-length). Not long after hearing that song (which I though rocked the fuck out), I saw that the band had decided to scrap all of the recordings for Elite and to have them re-mixed by none other than Jonas Kjellgren of Scar Symmetry.

Deals Death now reports that the re-mix is finished, the album artwork is complete, and they’re “considering different options” for the release of Elite. I would like to suggest, as one option, that they release the album to me so that I can listen to all of it. I think this is an excellent option, because I’ve now heard the re-mixed version of “Fortified” and it’s my kinda thang — thrash-paced melodic death metal with a catchy melody, infectious grooves hammered out by the rhythm instruments, and a vein-bursting screamer.

I’ve heard that remixed song, not because I’m special or anything, but because Deals Death just released a music video for “Fortified”. It’s a professionally filmed video of the band performing the song and looks good. I predict the ladies are going to like shirtless vocalist Olle Ekman. No slight intended to the other dudes in Deals Death, but Olle has clearly been putting in some time at the gym.  Check out the vid after the jump, and get prepared to bang yo fucken head.

Apr 272011

Sometimes we get into e-mail exchanges with NCS readers, and sometimes we learn a few things about them that you wouldn’t know just from reading their comments here on the site. Take Ray Heberer, for example (he uses only his first name when he leaves comments). Ray is 15 years old, approaching his 16th birthday. He lives in Taiwan. He goes to a demanding school, he’s on the track team, and he began visiting this site not long ago.

Ray is also a guitarist, and he also plays bass. He’s been playing for about 2 years, which would mean he started when he was about 13. I think I was still breast-feeding at 13. The only instrument I could play with when I was 15 was the one attached to my body. So, in one sense, what Ray does sort of depresses me. And, for those of us who are a bit insecure about our own talents, this story gets worse.

Ray also composes and records his own music, he’s a fair hand with synthesizers, and he’s the centerpiece of three bands (HaemicDreams of Winter, and Bloodred Fullmoon), plus his own solo project (Reclusive Forest Council). It’s all metal, but because Ray evidently hasn’t yet settled on the style of music he wants to make his focus, each of these projects explores different styles.

And to top it off, Ray is good. How good? Well, you’re about to find out. We’re going to play you some of Ray’s music, including a medley of melodies from the forthcoming Dreams of Winter album that Ray created just for NCS. We predict the time will come when you’ll be proud to tell people, “Hey, I heard that dude’s music on NCS when he was only 15!” (more after the jump . . .)

Apr 262011

(Our regular contributor Andy Synn, who has a penchant for making us jealous by attending European shows that aren’t available in the U.S., attended the April 22 performance of Enslaved and Negură Bunget in London a few days ago, and checks in with this concert review.)

A beautifully warm and sunny day provided the perfect chance to travel down to London to see some of black metal’s most forward thinking acts play a sold-out show to a rabid fan-base. The clear blue skies and crystalline rays of sunlight acted as the perfect set-up for the evening’s display of shining, progressive musical expression.

After a few beers in The World’s End, my companion and I attempted to join the queue for entry, only to baulk at its length and quickly scurry back to the bar for another few. Any excuse…

We eventually got into the venue shortly after Negură Bunget‘s set had already commenced, and thankfully the band had been given a lengthy 40-minute opening slot, so we were still lucky enough to catch the majority of their set.

With a primal and expressive sound, Negură Bunget provided a set of deep shadows and brilliant, shining highlights, which replaces black metal’s traditionally icy fury with a warm, organic exploration of mood and atmosphere, light and shade.  (more after the jump, including video of this show . . .)

Apr 262011

I want to start this post with an important update. You may remember that the last offer I received from a faraway place for big truckloads of folding green came from Mr. Pascal Akossa of the Cal Merchant Bank in Ghana. You don’t remember? Come on, how could you forget Mr. Akossa, the dude who was “enchanted” to converse with me by e-mail about the chance to give me $10.5 million and assured me that I should “not nurse any atom of fear” because all the arrangements had already been made for “the smooth transfer” of all that fuckin’ money into my bank account. You still don’t remember? Well, go here to see my correspondence with Mr. Akossa.

Anyways, here’s the important update: Mr. Akossa hasn’t written me back yet. Also, he hasn’t transferred any part of that $10.5 million to my bank. Fuckin’ douchebag, I hope he dies from a massive rectal hemorrhage. Wait, I don’t really mean that. Maybe a case of incurable incontinence, but not actual death.

But I don’t need his money any more, because over the weekend I received an offer from The Netherlands that makes his $10.5 million look like chump change. Yeah, now I’ve got the chance to lay hands on $18,500,000! Man, when it comes to handing out the folding green, the Dutch don’t fuck around. After the jump, you can see the message and my prompt reply. It’s now just a matter of days, perhaps hours, before I can kiss my day job good-by and start living the life of the richest metal blogger the world has ever seen . . .

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