Jun 302011

Yes, yes, yes, Your Honor: I plead guilty to the charge of  Fleshgod Apocalypse sycophancy in the third degree. It’s true that whenever I see something that’s FA-related, I have a nearly irresistible urge to post about it on NCS. And when the “something” concerns a chance, finally, to see them perform live right here in The Emerald City, the urge is not just nearly irresistible, it’s completely irresistible.

And so it is that I’m embedding here at NCS the just-released video update from FA about the forthcoming SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour of North America in which they will be participating. It’s entirely possible I would have posted this even if it had only showed the dudes sitting around scratching themselves and picking their noses. However, it includes clips of the band rehearsing the song “Thru Our Scars”, which is just a fucken fantastic song.

It also includes a few words of tour promotion by frontman Tommaso Riccardi. I smiled at the fact that the only other band on the tour that he mentions is Dying Fetus. It’s certainly not an intentional slight directed at any of the other bands, just interesting that it’s the one that popped into his head. Allow me to say, Fuck Yeah!

We’ve posted before about the tour schedule, but this link provides the most up-to-date info. So, Your Honor, go ahead and pass sentence. I am unrepentant and do not request mercy.

Jun 302011

We have all sorts of odd ways for picking bands to hear and feature. We pick them based on the appeal of their album art, or the sound of their names, or where they’re from. Sometimes we just mentally throw a dart at a list we keep for our MISCELLANY explorations (the people who watch over us won’t allowed us to have real darts — some bullshit about being a danger to self and others).

Now we’ve come up with a new method of sifting through the great unwashed hordes of metal bands for listening purposes: We decided to pick a handful of bands who, as of the writing of this post, had less than 100 Facebook “likes”. Of course, this tells you absolutely nothing reliable about the quality of the music; many godawful bands have five- and even six-figure Facebook “likes”, and some really good ones just haven’t been widely discovered yet. The low numbers do imply that the band is new, or at least new to Facebook. The bands we picked for this post have got some promising things going on with their music, despite the so-far meager “like” totals. Maybe a little attention will push their totals above the century mark.

In terms of musical styles and genres, today’s line-up is quite varied in their extremity: Melodic black metal from Oak Pantheon (Minnesota), deathcore from Above This (Virginia), death ‘n’ roll from Rudiment of Abhorrence (Washington), and old-school, face-melting death metal from Panic Disorder (Indonesia). Some of this music is also available for free download. Dive in after the jump.

Jun 302011

While other metal blogs were posting about the release of new songs by Dream Theater and Trivium yesterday, I was listening to new songs released the same day by ICS Vortex and Malefice. Is there something wrong with me? Perhaps I need to be trepanned.

Speaking of trephination, I’m always trying to think of new analogies for skull-coring metal, and this one just came to me out of the blue. Amazing that I’ve never thought of it before, actually. I read about a shipboard trephination in one of Patrick O’Brian‘s stupendous novels (I forget which one), and it’s one of those scenes that you don’t forget. According to The Font of All Human Knowledge:

Trepanning, also known as trephination, trephining or making a burr hole, is a surgical intervention in which a hole is drilled or scraped into the human skull, exposing the dura mater [the outermost layer of the brain membrane] in order to treat health problems related to intracranial diseases.

Perfect analogy, eh? I certainly don’t think of trepanning on those extraordinarily rare occasions when I listen to Trivium or Dream Theater. But the new tracks from ICS Vortex and Malefice? Fucking skull-coring! (more after the jump . . . including the songs)

Jun 292011

(This seems to be album-review day at NCS. Following our Byfrost review, NCS writer TheMadIsraeli now assesses the new album from Poland’s Decapitated.)

Yeah. It’s that time. You’ve been looking forward to this, I have, we all have, so now you’re wondering what do I, the most boss of all metal-loving Jews, have to say about it? For all you know, I could just be wanting to rub it in the faces of all of you that I have this album (which I do) and you don’t, but well… how do I put this…

This kicks ass. This destroys universes. This is the purest, blackest, weightiest form of sonic nihilism laid to audio I’ve heard all year. And you know what the sad part is? People are gonna hate this because it isn’t “true”, or “kvlt”, or what-the-fucking-ever, whose-it’s, what’s-it’s the elitists like to spout nowadays. Why is this though? That’s simple.  Carnival Is Forever rules because it isn’t old Decapitated. This is a rejuvenated band, with a new sound, new look, new attitude, and new sense of purpose who’ve abandoned their tech death past to go into a much more modern sound. I can just see the elitists complaining because what is it that this album has which makes it so, like, good? Well, we have groove, lots of groove, we got djent, we got progressive song structures, we got clean sections, we have Divine Heresy-machine-precision-like chugging, we have blast-beat frenzies, we have shredding solos — this album has everything.

So where do I start in actually reviewing this and stopping the proverbial salivation over it? Three bands immediately come to mind in describing this album: Divine Heresy, Meshuggah, and Nevermore. If you’re complaining already, I highly suggest you order your whamburgers and french cries pronto. This album has no time for your tom-foolery. (more after the jump . . .)

Jun 292011

Black Earth, the 2010 debut album from Bergen, Norway’s Byfrost, was one of my favorite albums of last year (reviewed here). The song “Desire” from that album was the first song we named to our list of 2010′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. One year has passed since the release of Black Earth, and Byfrost is back with their second album, Of Death. No sophomore jinx here — Byfrost have stretched their wings (giant, scaly, and clawed, no doubt) to produce an album that’s at least the equal of their killer debut.

Two albums into their discography, Byfrost have already established a signature sound — the kind of distinctive musical identity that makes the music of bands like Amon Amarth and Behemoth so immediately recognizable. Like those bands, Byfrost has created music that’s “accessible” without losing the qualities that also make it heavy, dark, and menacing. Of course, Byfrost hasn’t yet taken the world by storm, as those bands have, but with time, persistence, and a bit of luck, their audience will surely continue to grow by leaps and bounds.

Byfrost is a three-man band, and their songwriting, for the most part, is designed to be played by only three instruments. As you might expect, the music has a primal, stripped-down quality, but the relative simplicity of the songs is deceptive. All three musicians are superb at what they do, and their execution is super-tight. Weaving through the truly massive riffs and skull-crushing drums are a variety of grim melodies that sink their hooks deeply into your memory. On top of that, the musical variety of the eight songs on the album makes it worth hearing from start to finish and a fucking blast to come back to for repeat listening.

Still less than six months into 2011, and I’ve already heard what will no doubt be on my short list of personal favorites when the year closes.  (more after the jump, including a song . . .)

Jun 282011

Like all good Behemoth slaves, I followed frontman Nergal’s battle with leukemia with a shifting feeling of dismay, dread, sorrow, hope, and eventually a sympathetic feeling of victory. Today I saw news of yet another milestone in Nergal and Behemoth’s comeback that I thought was worth sharing: For the first time in over a year, Behemoth is back in their rehearsal space rehearsing both old and new songs, and we’ve got pictures to prove it. Nergal issued this statement:

“Sooo, first rehearsals after the transplant are under our belts! I didn’t want to get overexcited at first, just wanted to see how things would go, but I have to tell you…the second rehearsal we fuckin’ nailed “Ov Fire And The Void”, “Lucifer”, “Conquer All” or “Antichristian Phenomenon” flawlessly! One of us even asked: ‘Did we really take a year off from each other?’ Ha ha… it was good times in great company! But the biggest surprise were the songs we NEVER played live ever and planning to do on the upcoming “Phoenix Rising Tour”. I won’t reveal any names yet, let it be a mystery til we hit the stage, all right?”

“In other news, I started jamming out some NEW shit too…too early to give any further comments but it sounds VERY disturbing and eerie. Can’t fuckin wait to unleash those ideas to my friends…”

I don’t know about you, but this gave my day a boost. In these photos, Nergal looks like he’s been through a fucking meat-grinder, physically, but he’s on two feet with axe in hand. Hails and horns, man. More photos after the jump.

Jun 282011

Seems to be one of those days when everywhere I turn, I see a new song release that perks me right up. This time, the band is Poland’s almighty Decapitated, and the new song is called “Homo Sum”. Before the trollers start in with moronic jokes, that’s Latin for “I am a man”, as in this line from the Roman playwright Terence: Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto (“I am a man, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.”)

The song comes from Decapitated’s next album, Carnival Is Forever, which will be released in NorthAm by Nuclear Blast on July 12 and in Europe on July 15. Guitar World is exclusively premiering the song today, and even though I have the album, I won’t fuck with the label’s marketing plans by streaming it here. To hear it, use this link (and on that same page you’ll see an interesting interview with Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka, who possibly may be getting tired answering questions about the death of his brother Vitek).

And yes, the song is worth hearing (as is the entire album). It’s got a very cool intro, all jabbing riffs and tinkling cymbals, followed by a ramp-up in the intensity level. It’s Decapitated, so you can guess that’s it’s fast and technical, but the song also includes an extended, melodic, reverberating guitar solo that drifts almost dreamily above the rhythmic flash attack underneath. I really like this song. Go check it out.

Jun 282011

While we’re waiting for Mastodon’s next album, The Hunter, we can continue listening to Crack the Skye. I’m not talking about the songs that were originally released on that album. I’m talking about a song that was recorded at the same time but for whatever reason wasn’t included. It’s called “Deathbound”, and it’s being released today for free download by Adult Swim as part of a 10-week free singles program (this being the third week).

In addition to making the song available for free download, Adult Swim commissioned Authority Films to create a music video. Of course, they did the perfectly logical thing: They made a video featuring muppets. Isn’t that what everyone thinks of when they think of Mastodon? Of course it is! But not just any muppets — brutal muppets, engaging in non-stop, carnivorous, explosive, muppet-like mayhem.

This video is so much fun. Seriously, I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee myself. Hang on a second. Damn, I did pee myself, just a little. I hate when that happens. I was planning on at least three more days before changing these underoos. Well, fuck, I can get two more days out of ‘em anyway.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Mastodon muppet mayhem. Watch it after the jump. The new song sounds righteous, too — it’s a high-energy thrasher. And it turns out that it won’t be the only remnant of the Crack the Skye creative process that we’ll get to hear.  More on that after the jump, plus a link for the “Deathbound” song download.

Jun 282011

When your head is already kind of pointy-shaped to begin with, as mine is, then you have to ration how often you listen to grind. With too much grinding, there’s a risk that your head will become sharper and sharper until it just disappears or snaps clean off like a pencil lead. But even though I already somewhat resemble a unicorn, I just couldn’t resist cranking up the new songs from Lock Up. I reasoned that because the music isn’t really straight grindcore, I could get away with it.

You probably know all about Lock Up, but just in case you don’t, it’s a super-group that works, by which I mean it’s a super group. The veteran line-up includes Shane Embury (Napalm Death, Venomous Concept) (bass), Nick Barker (ex-Cradle Of Filth, ex-Dimmu Borgir) (drums), Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates, Disfear) (vocals), and Anton Reisenegger (Criminal, Pentagram) (guitars).

Their third full-length album — Necropolis Transparent — is scheduled for release by Nuclear Blast on July 12. In addition to the band’s usual line-up, there will be guest appearances by former Lock Up member Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy, Pain) and Jeff Walker (Carcass). Just gets better and better, doesn’t it?

To date, Lock Up has released two new Necropolis Transparent songs for public consumption. At the urging of NCS writer Israel Flanders, I finally got around to checking them out yesterday. So glad I did, because it’s fucking savage music — a conglomeration of death, grind, and thrash, with a blackened crust — and I’ve developed a savage kind of attraction to both songs. (more after the jump . . .)

Jun 272011

 

I just saw this. Looks like it went up yesterday. It’s the new official Amon Amarth video for “Destroyer of the Universe”, one of the tracks from the absolutely wonderful Surtur Rising. It’s a live video that was shot on the band’s May 6th stop in Philadelphia, PA at the Theatre Of Living Arts.

The first YouTube comment I saw beneath this video cracked me up. But, figuratively speaking, it pretty much captures my reaction to the video: “its 4am. ive been watching porn for the past 2 hours. i decided to come to youtube and i saw a new video from amon amarth. and guess what. i came in 2minutos.”

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