May 312011

I think Norway’s Enslaved are so talented that they can do anything they set their minds to, and do it superbly. As further proof, I have some videos for you, which, as the kids say, are fuckin’ siiiiiiiick.

Just the day after that Dimmu Borgir show that Andy Synn attended in Oslo on May 28, Enslaved played a special show in the same city at the Henie Onstad Art Centre, which appears to house Norway’s largest collection of international modern art.

In honor of Enslaved’s 20th anniversary, the Art Centre asked Enslaved to prepare a special setlist consisting of a mix of cover songs from their favorite bands as well as original songs. Among the artists Enslaved covered were Pink Floyd, Rush, Faith No More, Led Zeppelin, and King Crimson.

Thank goodness someone filmed this. So far, I’ve seen videos for the band’s performances of “The Immigrant Song” — one of my all-time favorite Zeppelin tunes — and ”Red” by King Crimson, plus a drumcam view of the band’s own original song “Lightening”, from Axioma Ethica Odini. The video quality is excellent and the audio quality is pretty good — good enough to blow me away.  (more after the jump, including the videos . . .)

May 312011

Nah, this isn’t going to become a recurring feature on the site, but I couldn’t resist posting this cartoon, which appeared in The New Yorker mag. Credit goes to the very clever cartoonist William Haefeli.

But since this is NCS, I think I need to throw in some music, and man, do I have some music! The band is called Mors Subita. They’re from Finland, of course. They’ll be releasing their debut album, Human Waste Compression, this summer (they’re still looking for a record label).  Isn’t that a great album title? By the way, according to Google Translate, “mors subita” means “sudden death” in Latin.

According to a press release, the CD will contain “11 tracks of aggressive, melodic and groovy metal.” They’ve just released an official video for a song from that debut album called “The Sermon”. If all sermons were like this, I would start going to church again.

Yes, it’s groovy — massively so. Yes, it’s aggressive — with fangs and claws bared. Yes, it’s catchy as a damned ebola virus. Listening to this song is like the feeling I imagine you’d get if you decided to do chin-ups on a live power line. It will send about 10,000 volts straight through to your cranial pleasure center. In other words, dis be some sweet shit. Nicely done video, too. You can watch after the jump. Suomi perkele!

May 312011

(Andy Synn was present for a landmark event in Oslo on May 28 — an exclusive show by Dimmu Borgir with a special, “never-to-be-repeated” setlist with 53 members of KORK (the Norwegian Radio Orchestra) and 30 members of the Schola Cantorum choir, who were musical guests on Abrahadabra. This was Dimmu’s only confirmed worldwide appearance for this summer. We’ve got Andy’s evocative review of the show plus video footage and some excellent photos taken by Per Ole Hagen for the NRK blog.)

I have seen Dimmu Borgir live several times before now, and each experience has been different. Sometimes the show has been great, the band’s enthusiasm and drive adding a different live element which balanced out the obvious limitations of performing such grandiose, symphonic material in the limitations of a live metal show. At others, certain issues seemed insurmountable, even the band’s powerful performance and conviction in their material not serving to elevate the show above “average”. Worse still are the times I have seen the band when internal issues were weakening them massively, meaning that drive and conviction was lost, resulting in a lacklustre performance.

Yet at Saturday’s show I felt like I was finally seeing Dimmu Borgir in the way I was always meant to. The mood, setting and structure of the show all captured the vision and atmosphere of the music perfectly. The fusion of traditional classical elements, with their scintillating, naturalistic scope of sound and the more aggressive, vibrant metallic furore of Dimmu’s particular style of “black metal” was a perfect synthesis of style and substance, sound and fury, which hammered home the clear links between classically influenced metal composition and the true traditional classical elements. (more after the jump . . .)

May 302011

Today is a “bank holiday” in several other countries. In the U.S., it has a different significance. It honors members of the U.S. military who died in service.

I wasn’t going to say anything about Memorial Day here. First, people come to NCS for metal, not anything else. Second, I’m not into flag-waving and patriotism and America-First sloganeering. All that usually seems to me like one more thing that retards people from thinking for themselves. Plus, I like and admire people from other countries and their cultures (many of whom I’ve gotten to know through NCS). And there’s also the borderline anarchic nature of my own personality.  :)

I also have my own opinions about the wars the U.S. has been fighting. But that’s neither here nor there. What decided me to write this was just thinking about men and women in the military, in my generation and younger generations, who’ve been killed and maimed and hurt psychologically and emotionally doing things most of us (thankfully) will never have to do. Doesn’t matter that they’re volunteers for these jobs. Doesn’t matter whether I or anyone else necessarily believes in the rightness of the wars they’ve been told to fight. All that matters is that many of them have been and still are in harm’s way, and many have not emerged unscathed, or emerged at all. So, I think they deserve a few moments of thought and reflection, and honor.

I watched part of an interview last night on the 60 Minutes TV show of a guy named Salvatore Giunta — a 25-year-old U.S. Army staff sergeant from Iowa who last November became the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the war in Afghanistan for his bravery in an ambush that killed two of his mates. It was not what I expected. When he was asked in a different interview about what he thought when he heard he was to receive the nation’s highest military honor, he said this:  ”‘Fuck you,’ I thought. It sounds really awesome in theory, but what’s it worth? Brennan? Mendoza? No. I did what I did because in the scheme of painting the picture of that ambush, that was just my brush stroke. That’s not above and beyond. I didn’t take the biggest brush stroke, and it wasn’t the most important brush stroke. Hearing the Medal of Honor is like a slap in the face. I don’t think you know what I did. I didn’t do shit.”  (more after the jump . . .)

May 302011

(NCS writer Israel Flanders provides not only his review of a fascinating new death-metal album from a Russian band called Kartikeya, but also — with the band’s permission — a special surprise at the end of the review.)

It’s very rare that I find death metal that’s TRULY note worthy and stands out to me much anymore.  The genre, especially in the so called “brutal” death metal tag, has gotten really stale to me, but I am always looking for new bands to capture my interest.  I went surfing for new music as per usual and happened to come across a gem of a band — Moscow’s Kartikeya, and we’re here to check out their second album Mahayuga.

Kartikeya is a rather strange beast in this era of excessive blast beats and musically fraudulent technical wank. Imagine the speed, symphonics, and intensity of The Monolith Deathcult and the progressive nature and melodic sense of Ihsahn, and throw in fully inclusive Indian folk elements, and you have Kartikeya. There is a lot of fun to be had on this album, what with its catchy riffing, its full-frontal brutality assault on the senses, the Indian atmosphere and vibe, and the superb melodic moments when they spring up.

The album opens with the instrumental “Sarga Manvalem”, beginning with some nice eastern ambiance before breaking into a riff and a melody that will remind you of former Israeli black metallers Melechesh and an imperial war march of double bass and low-tuned brutal droning. I like how this introduces the album, as the intensity of it continues building until we hit an Indian chant section that comes out of nowhere and throws you off balance. (more after the jump . . .)

May 302011

No secret that we’re Finnish-metal fanatics here at NCS. Also no secret that we’re doing our best to become better educated about black metal. Put those two pieces together and you get this post, which is based on news that will be headline-type stuff for true black-metal fans. But first, some background for those readers who aren’t already KVLT (lifted from something we wrote back during our month-long FINNISH METAL WEEK series):

“Beherit” is the word for Satan in Syriac, a dialect of the ancient Aramaic language. It’s also the name of an influential black-metal band formed in 1989 by Nuclear Holocausto (Marko Laiho), Black Jesus (Arjo Wennström), and Sodomatic Slaughter (Jari Pirinen). After releasing two albums, the second of which (Drawing Down the Moon) appeared in 1993 and became a BM classic, the band broke up.

Beherit then rose from the ashes in 2008, with original members Nuclear Holocausto (having returned to Finland from Thailand) and Sodomatic Slaughter joining newcomers Ancient Corpse Desekrator and Abyss. After 14 years of silence, the band released their third album, Engram, in 2009.

And now the news: Beherit is releasing, for the first time, their true debut album, originally recorded in 1990. In the band’s words: “You NEVER HEARD this recording or the two previously UNRELEASED tracks featured! Finally unearthed from Sodomatic Slaughter’s personal collection after being lost for the last 20 years. Recorded as a duo by Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance and Sodomatic Slaughter in Ala Ky Studio and mastered in 2010 by Joona Lukala.”

The album will be released in June 2011 on vinyl, CD, and tape. After the jump, we’ll give you the track list, ordering information — and a music player that will stream two of the tracks. Be forewarned: This is vicious stuff AND the music will start playing as soon as you go past the jump.

May 292011

(NCS contributor Siddharth Darbha joins us today with a report on the nominees for India’s biggest metal awards show.)

The Rolling Stone Metal Awards is back. Being India’s most popular and highly dedicated metal award ceremony, we at NCS cannot let this pass unnoticed. We briefly mentioned the 2010 edition of the Awards last year (here), with our congratulations to Demonic Resurrection and Infernal Wrath.

With nominations invited from across the country, the grandeur has been amplified multifold this edition. This shall be the event’s second year. It is slated to be held on 19th June. Funny bone tickler Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy (Scribe) will be hosting the event, which will also feature live sets by Bhayanak Maut, Artillerie, Exhumation and Noiseware.

The category list has been lengthened, with the net set being : Best Album Artwork, Best Metal Drummer, Best Metal Guitarist, Best Metal Bassist, Best Metal Vocalist, and Best Metal Keyboardist, the nominees for which can be found here, in addition to three other categories open for public vote.

The complete panel of judges is yet to be announced, but Marty Friedman (Megadeth) is definitely in!

Apart from the aforementioned panel of judges, there are three categories open to public vote via Facebook. Make your vote count or check out India’s best releases this year. We’ve got the list of nominees for the three public-vote categories after the jump.

May 292011

Sorry to be so rude in my choice of words. I blame the music I’m about to play for you. Let me try that again:

It’s time for you to shake off the somnalent after-effects of your Saturday-night slumbers and become fully alert. Is that better?

So, maybe you really aren’t ready to wake up and would prefer to remain dozy and slothlike for a while longer. If so, do not watch the videos I have collected to begin this sleepy Sunday. The music will not allow you to remain soporific. Or somnalent. Or slothlike. Or other words beginning with S.

For our five-alarm music today, we have an offering of new and old music videos. First up is a new performance video from a French band of which we are big fans here at NCS — Eryn Non Dae. After that, an evil song from Black Hole Generator (Norway), with an official video that’s almost as disturbing as the music. Then, two more new videos — one from Egyptian-born Nader Sadek and the other from The Generals (Sweden). And finally, I’ve got a new song from a UK band called The Soulless (formerly Ignominious Incarceration). The styles of metal are diverse, but all this music will whomp you in the noggin.

If you’re not awake and banging your fucken head after hearing all these songs, then, as a trained medical professional, I believe I can clinically classify you as comatose.

May 282011

The local metal scene in the Seattle area is really hopping with talent these days. One of the bands whose fortunes we’ve been following for a while is Blood and Thunder. We’ve written about them several times in the past (for example, here and here). In addition to being very talented young musicians, they’re also a group of really nice people — James Furrow (keys), Billy Keller (guitar and backing vox), Ryan Yancey (lead vox and drums), Jeff Weaver (guitar), and Nick Hughes (bass). And they’ve been supporters of our humble site, which we appreciate.

After a fair share of ups and downs in the production process, Blood and Thunder have finally completed work on their debut album — Dawning of the Ancients. To celebrate the occasion, the band headlined a CD release show at Seattle’s Studio Seven last night, and my NCS collaborator Alexis and I were there.

We arrived too late to catch some of the early acts, but had a head-banging good time listening to Deathmocracy, After the Fallout, and Unhailoed – all of whom performed very strong sets.  The music was quite diverse and a good showcase for the strength of Seattle’s metal scene.

And, as we knew they would, Blood and Thunder killed it at the close of the night. Their stage presence and musicianship just gets stronger and stronger every time we see them. We snagged a copy of the CD, and you can expect a review of Dawning of the Ancients in the not-too-distant future. For now, congratulations dudes!

(Follow Blood and Thunder on Facebook here.)

May 282011

Our allies in blog, The Number of the Blog, have managed a resurrection. After being out of commission since May 23, thanks to being fucked like a tethered goat by their web host, the TNOTB site seems to be back up and running this morning.

Or rather, back up and crawling, smelling of the grave, hungry for blood and baby flesh, and whatever else those dudes subsist on — and no doubt overflowing with bloggerish effluvia that they just can’t wait to eject into the byways of the almighty Web.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

(Congrats TNOTBers!)

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