Jul 312011

Raw In Sect is a Greek band formed in 2005 and now consisting of Kostas Diamandis (vocals, guitars), Jim Alexiou (drums), Bill Kranos (guitars) and George Vasilopoulos (bass, backing vocals). The more I think about the band’s name, the more I like it. It uses the word “raw”, which is a good sign if you have my kind of taste in metal, and then it has that play on words, “in sect”, which makes me think of both hooded, human-sacrificing, blood-worshippers and creeping, crawling, cannibalistic things with feelers and pincers and multi-faceted eyes. I suppose it’s possible that I have an over-active imagination.

Anyway, Raw In Sect produced a three-song demo in 2007 and have now signed to a label called Aural Music, Wormholedeath for the release of their debut album, Red Flows. More good names: Wormholedeath and Red Flows. Plus, the band is scheduled to play three shows in Ireland with Suidakra in September. That’s keeping some good company.

But a good band name and a flowing (red) album name will only carry you so far, i.e., right up to the brink of the music itself, and then you either fall off a cliff, crashing and burning, or you get into a good . . . flow . . . with something red and raw (and insectile) along for the ride. Which is it for this band? (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 312011

(Our man Israel Flanders has a few words and musical teasers for the forthcoming albums by Textures, Evile, and Revocation, plus his plans for upcoming reviews.)

Alright, I decided it was time to do one of these “post random shit” deals.  Mostly stuff I personally care about, but things you all might be interested in, too.

If you aren’t aware of who Textures are, I’d wager you’ve been under a rock for some time.  One of the very first djent bands to emerge after Meshuggah, these guys, I would dare have the nerve to assert, have more to do with modern djent as we understand it than Meshuggah does. With their unique brand of polyryhthmic grooving, clean ambience, and a history that has included two obscenely talented vocalists in their fold (ex-vocalist Eric Kalsbeek) and now ex-CiLiCe vocalist Daniel De Gogh, Textures has made their mark in a way that can’t be ignored.

Their new album Dualism arrives in September, and I’m absolutely psyched.  After the jump, I’m including the three studio reports released for this album, as the song clips included in these sound really awesome.  Also below is a VERY GOOD high quality video of Textures playing one of the new songs live. Continue reading »

Jul 302011

(NCS writer Andy Synn devotes his 15th SYNN REPORT to the late, lamented Ludicra, who called it quits earlier this week.)

Loyal readers, it is with a heavy heart that I compose this edition of The Synn Report. The recent untimely demise of progressive black metal act Ludicra has prompted me to push back the article I was writing in favour of a tribute to a band that ended its career all too abruptly, brimming as it was with future promise and potential.

Ostensibly a black metal act, although one difficult to pin down precisely, between their inception in 1998 and their recent lamentable dissolution, the San Franciscan group provided four albums (and one EP) of scintillating riffage and caustic vocals, laden with progressive tendencies and a thrashy, punky energy. Laurie Sue Shanaman’s distinctive screams are wounded howls of passion with a restrained berserker frenzy, using her ethereal cleans to add an extra dimension of morose expression, ably supported by the harsh backing vocals of Christy Cather, a skilled and impressive guitarist, responsible for composing the group’s jagged riffs along with her partners in crime John Cobbett and Ross Sewage.

Unlike the icy, bleak naturism of many of their peers, the crisp, cold exterior to Ludicra’s sound evokes memories not of ice but of cold concrete; stark monoliths silhouetted against a dying sun, empty wind-swept streets once bustling with activity but now devoid of life – these are the images which come to mind when listening to Ludicra’s “urban sprawl” black metal, matching breathtaking beauty with cold and chilling clarity. (more after the jump, including tracks from each of Ludicra’s releases . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 292011

As long-time readers of this site know, our genesis and growth have been intertwined with the fortunes of Bury Your Dead.  When we decided to start this blog, it didn’t take me long to think of the name, because at the time I was still royally pissed off about the departure of Mat Bruso from BYD, his replacement by Myke Terry, and the conversion of the band’s music into near-generic metalcore with way too much clean singing. The old BYD had the ability to crank out some incredibly catchy hooks, grooves, and melodies without coming untethered from a solid center of hardcore fury. The “new” BYD wouldn’t have scared a kitten.

Thankfully, this interlude in the band’s history was finite. Bruso is back, and the band’s sound has reverted to what it was before, ie, the kind of galvanizing, crowbar-to-the-head rhythms guaranteed to stir up the pit into a fine froth, and plenty of brawling attitude. Next week, we’ll see the official release of BYD’s return-to-form album, Mosh ‘N’ Roll, and the title pretty much tells you all you need to know. In the run-up to the album launch, a couple of tracks have debuted — most recently “Deadeye Dick”, which appeared within the last week — and today we have the first official video, for the song “Slaughterhouse Five”.

The song would have been right at home on Beauty and the Breakdown — an atonal, downtuned, groovy gut-puncher of a song, rolling like an avalanche of rebar rods clanging down concrete steps. The video suits the music, too — the kind of fun that leaves you looking for your teeth on a beer-stained floor and picking glass out of your scalp the next morning. Check it after the jump, and then after the video we’ve also got the song released erlier in the week — “Deadeye Dick”. Continue reading »

Jul 292011

(Israel Flanders is back again with something like his 100th review this week. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but he has really been cranking them out. Today, he’s singing the praises of the new album from Symphony XIconoclast!

I’m bringing the game up to that next-level shit, son.

Symphony. Fucking. X.

The kings of the power thrash universe (though really why wouldn’t they be? They’ve virtually pioneered their own sound), the undisputed lords and masters of melting your face with ballsy riffs, soaring vocals, and face melting shred. All in an inhumanly precise, well organized package with top-notch song writing to boot.

I was ABSOLUTELY PSYCHED for this album, and I’m glad it turned out as good as I thought it would. But there Is one small thing I wish to address here… if you can manage it, BUY THE SPECIAL TWO DISC EDITION. It is, according to the band, the “true” album, the way it was meant to be heard, and I am affirming this. The standard 9-song version just closes poorly and doesn’t feel right when it ends. Not only is the special edition 12 songs long, but the track list is completely re-arranged, further cementing that this is how they intended the album to be heard. So yeah, I’m reviewing the special edition instead of the standard today.

The opening and title track are over 10 minutes long. Yeah. A 10-minute-plus opener. What do you got for that? That’s what I wondered, and what I thought at first was, Nothing, as a cascade of odd-sounding, static-sounding ambience rushed in, and under it a piano started playing a sinister melody. You really don’t know where the song is going, but everything will be alright my child.

EPIC FUCKING, LIKE, TAPPING ACTION BRO! (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 282011

On July 24, 2011, Amon Amarth played the Tuska Open Air Metal Festival in Helsinki Finland. The first song on their set was “War of the Gods”. The video after the jump records the performance from just behind and to the left of drummer Fredrik Andersson. It helps if you know the song already — as well you should — because the sound of the other instruments and Johan Hegg’s vocals are muffled on the audio track, given the camera’s position — but this is still very, very cool.

I don’t know shit about drumming. Basically, to me, watching any capable extreme metal drummer in action is like witnessing a form of supernatural achievement. This is no different. Maybe what Andersson is doing on this song would be basic, ho-hum stuff to a metal drummer watching it. To me, it’s phenomenal.

But that’s only part of the attraction. That supernatural quality is enhanced in this clip by the eruptions of flame that occur throughout the video, as if ejected from the drum kit itself, and by the smoke that eventually enshrouds Andersson before ultimately clearing near the end. True Viking shit.

This gave me a giant [insert slang term for erect penis]. It fucking [insert verb] my [insert testicle reference]. I shot [insert semen idiom] all over my computer screen.  Video after the jump. Continue reading »

Jul 282011

On Tuesday of this week, my two NCS co-founders and I, plus other friends, attended the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour stop in Seattle at a venue called The King Kat Theater. The doors opened at around 2:30 and the show went on until something like 11:30. I’d seen many of the bands before, the exceptions being Within the Ruins, Oceano, Powerglove, Six Feet Under — and the band I wanted to see most of all, Fleshgod Apocalypse.

When something is blatantly obvious, it’s best just to admit it. So yes, I admit, I’m a Fleshgod Apocalypse pimp. I’m talkin’ about the kind of BIG PIMPIN‘ that Jay-Z had in mind. I pimp FA at every fuckin’ opportunity I get here at NCS. So, it will come as no surprise that although I found something to like about most of the performances I saw, the highlight of the tour for me was FA’s set (followed closely by a skull-collapsing performance from Dying Fetus). I even got to meet three of the guys in FA and bore them with conversation after they played!

I also took a shitload of amateurish photos of FA’s performance, including the one up above and about two dozen more (the best of a sorry lot) that I’ve posted after the jump. But before getting to that, I have a few awards to hand out (also after the jump). And at the end, I’ve got a link to an audio stream that just appeared today for a new song from FA’s forthcoming album (it’s called “The Egoism”). Continue reading »

Jul 282011

(NCS guest contributor Phro returns to us for the second time this week, with another review.)

Okay, so my last review was all a big lie.  What, like you never played with imaginary friends before???  Anyway, this one isn’t.  So, pay attention and then go click the download link towards the middle.

Today, we’re looking at a Ukrainian band called Hedonistic Exility. Both their name and the fact that they’re from a Soviet bloc country are extremely cool to me.  And the fact that Encyclopaedia Metallum states that their lyrical content is “Hedonism, Nihilism, Misanthropy, Abstract themes” makes me just WANT to love this band.  The cover of their 2010 EP Deevolutional Stasis and their 2011 single PsychoTransNymphomania (both pictured below) are as fucking cool as they are…weird.

Honestly, I loved cyborg stuff a bit more than I should probably admit in public, so the Deevolutional Stasis album cover alone is enough to draw my attention.  But what about the music?  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 282011

(NCS writer Israel Flanders is a reviewing machine these days. Here’s his latest, which concerns the new release by Sun Caged The Lotus Effect.)

This album is as eccentric and beautiful as the cover.

Sun Caged is one of my favorite prog metal bands, stemming from the Dream Theater school of thought and doing it much MUCH (much) better. Hailing from the Netherlands, the band is a collection of really talented musicians, especially vocalist Paul Adrian Villarreal, guitarist/godlike shredder Marcel Coenen, and drummer Roel Van Helden. To repeat, this is one of my fav prog metal bands of all time and one that I feel is criminally overlooked. With that said, let’s get started…

Approaching a description of this album will be difficult, considering it’s such a journey. I mean, let’s look at the opener, “Seamripper (And The Blanket Statement)”. It opens with furious tremolo-oriented 8-string riffing and blast beats that would be found in a more extreme band, only to slip into a really catchy groove that sinks you into head-bobbing complacency. Almost immediately, it becomes apparent that Paul Adrian Villarreal has the most insane ear for superb vocal melodies. It’s easy to become absorbed in the passion of his voice and the seemless flow of his choice of notes over the instruments’ hypnotic groove, weaving in and out like a threaded needle through cloth. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Jul 272011

I paused in my daily labors for a quick skimming of posts on other metal blogs and was struck — for about the millionth time — by all the dick, testicle, and cum references. And I’m not talking about the comments. I’m talking about the posts themselves. Surely you know what I mean — references to the writer’s “nuts being crushed” by a song, or getting “a giant boner” from news about some album, or “jizzing” over the release of some album.

Hey, I have a dick as well as balls, and I have jizzed. However, to be brutally honest (which is the only kind of honest we know how to be at NCS), I have never experienced actual ball crushage, erection, or ejaculation from listening to music (even though, yes, we did have an NCS banner subheading recently that proclaimed, “I Think My Dixie Wrecked”). I know those kinds of references are just metaphors for pleasure, but why are they so fucking prominent in metal blogging?

I’m pretty sure most metal bloggers don’t sprinkle their daily conversations with references to their junk or how hard they cum, and I can’t imagine that most of them really get off on listening to other guys talk about their dicks. So why do those references litter so many blog posts? And am I the only one who stifles a yawn when I see them, over and over again? Is this kind of language just a crutch for people who are too lazy to come up with a more specific descriptions of music or their own reactions to it? Is it a reaction to sexual repression or involuntary abstinence? I dunno.

And what about female readers? Let’s consider that for a minute. (after the  jump . . .) Continue reading »