Oct 312011

Tonight is possibly the most metal night of the year, at least in countries where Halloween is celebrated. In addition to giving extroverted chicks an excuse to dress slutty and dudes yet another opportunity to act like idiots, it’s the night when goblins, orcs, reanimated corpses, blood-suckers, demon spawn, and headless horsemen all come out to get fucked up and headbang.

Almost every metal blog will be doing some kind of Halloween-themed bullshit today, and we don’t want to stick out like a sore penis thumb by doing nothing to celebrate the event. But I’m too fucking lazy to create something myself, so I’d like you to do it for me. So, here’s the deal: In the Comment section, please give me your suggestion for a metal song that would be a good one to play on Halloween, and before nightfall I’ll pick three of them to play here at NCS in a follow-up post to this one. If you like, feel free to give more than one suggestion. And if you’re the shy type, feel free to e-mail me your suggestion instead of leaving it in the Comments (islander@nocleansinging.com).

And speaking of me-being-lazy-and-wanting-you-to-do-all-my-NCS-work-for-me, I’m about to turn into a pumpkin myself. Because of a work crunch that I’m now about to start, followed by a greatly deserved vacation, my blogging time is about to be severely compressed. I wrote about this a while back and made a general call for guest posts that I could run here at NCS while I’m in pumpkin land. I’ve already received a slew of great shit, and I know more submissions are on the way. BUT, it’s not too late, even if you haven’t started writing anything. Details after the jump.

Oct 312011

(Today, Basick Records releases the eagerly anticipated debut album, Februus, by French band Uneven Structure, and NCS writer TheMadIsraeli provides this review.)

I don’t know how a lot of you NCS readers feel about this whole djent movement/genre thing, but I definitely understand the elitist attitude toward it.  Djent is everywhere now; it has crept its way into a shit-ton of modern-minded metal, whether the music really has anything to do with djent or not.  It has spawned so many unoriginal, uninteresting bands in its short life span that it’s insulting.  Why do we really need anyone besides Meshuggah for this shit?

That’s a good question, and one I find myself constantly revisiting as I analyze what is happening in metal. Only two djent albums have touched me since the movement began establishing the modern foothold it now has: TesseracT’s One and Periphery’s self-titled debut.  These are good albums to be sure but, could I live without them?  Most definitely.

Most of my favorite djent has been the product of bands who only incorporated it into something else, rather than totally embracing it — Xerath, Threat Signal, Textures, and CiLiCe. These are bands who made the mathy riffing, the ambience, and the polyrhythmic, syncopated grooves interesting without making me wish I could just listen to Meshuggah instead.  So where the fuck am I going with this exactly?

Uneven Structure.

Oct 312011

Baby metal: Is it a thing?

A couple days ago, I inflicted on your tender senses a music video from a Japanese JPop/idol/metal band called Babymetal. I’ve since learned that the song is called “Doki Doki Morning”, and that this band is an off-shoot of another Japanese idol band called Sakura Gakuin. The song appears on Sakura Gakuin’s 2010 album debut.

And now we have an official video report from our Japan-based correspondent Phro, providing his honest, thoughtful, critical reaction to Babymetal.

Also, is that a fucking great shirt Phro is wearing, or what?  Video after the jump.

Oct 302011

On Friday night (Oct. 28), Metallica was scheduled to play a concert in Gurgaon, a suburb of Delhi in India. It was to have been the first stop in Metallica’s first tour of the sub-continent. Tickets to the show were priced between the equivalent of $34 and $57, and the concert had drawn fans from cities across India as well as countries such as Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Indonesia and Singapore. Unfortunately, it never happened.

After more than 20,000 fans waited for more than 3 hours at the venue (including a two-hour delay in being allowed inside), an announcement was made that the show would be postponed to the following night due to “technical difficulties”. News reports indicate that Metallica (or their representatives) were unhappy with the audio systems and the adequacy of the security barricade that would separate fans from the stage. It also turns out that the tour organizers (from an outfit called DNA Entertainment) had over-sold the 25,000-person capacity of the venue.

Many of the fans didn’t take the postyponement news very well, particularly when it was learned that Metallica was taking part in a press conference at the same time. Although most left the venue calmly when asked to do so, others rushed the stage, damaged equipment, and some even attempted to set fire to banners. And that led the organizers and Metallica to cancel the Gurgaon show altogether.

Early Saturday, police arrested the “operational head” of DNA Entertainment and three other company employees, charging them with fraud and cheating. (more after the jump, including video . . .)

Oct 302011

Here we go again — the latest installment of this series in which we feature videos, images, and news items that we think are metal, even though they’re not music. I have five items for you today. They involve sharks in a trance, humans in a slingshot, ESPNS, a blue devil horse — and a trippy bonus item.

ITEM ONE

Cristina Zenato is an Italian scuba diver who has mastered an unusual (and certifiably insane) technique: she can put sharks into a trance. According to this article, she induces the “tonic” state in sharks by rubbing the “Ampullae of Lorenzini” — which is the name of hundreds of jelly-filled pores around the shark’s nose and mouth. Those pores act as electroreceptors that detect prey moving in the electromagnetic field around the shark – but also, for some reason rubbing them produces that “tonic” state.

A “tonic” state is a natural state of paralysis in sharks that lasts for about 15 minutes. It can happen when they’re turned upside down. It also appears to happen when you rub their Ampullae of Lorenzini. Of course, to rub those pours, you’ve got to put your hand really close to the part of the shark that can bite off your whole fucking arm.

Cristina Zenato isn’t quite as nuts as it might seem at first. Although she’s been working with sharks for more than 15 years, she still wears a chain link suit in case one of the animals is tempted to make a meal from her body parts. But watching what she does is still awe-inspiring. (more after the jump . . .)

Oct 292011

Yesterday, in a post titled “Kill Me Now”, I inflicted injury on your eyes and ears by borrowing a music video I saw on MetalSucks by a Japanese band called Baby Metal. As it turns out, the Japanese aren’t the only people making metal for children (and adults with the minds of children). The Finns do it, too. But of course, being from the most metal country on Earth (which has been statistically proven), the Finns do it better.

Thanks to an e-mail I received this morning from an NCS reader named Ville, I’ve got three music videos plus one more song. The bands are called SauruXet, Hevisaurus, and Moottörin Jyrinä (“thunder of a motor”). I like the last band best, mainly because I’m dubious that dinosaurs can play metal. But fuck, it’s Finland, so maybe their dinosaurs can do that.

If this is what children in Finland listen to, that may help explain why 75% of Finnish children join metal bands when they get older. Watch this shit after the jump.

Oct 292011

Over the last two weeks we’ve had a couple of posts about an Icelandic band called Sólstafir and their new album on Season of Mist, Svartir Sandar. The most recent post (here) included a great video of the band performing a song from the album called “Fjara” on Icelandic television. Sólstafir has also nearly finished filming an official music video for the same song. I have no doubt we’ll be posting that at NCS as soon as it premieres. But for today, we’re focusing on album art instead of Sólstafir’s music.

Svartir Sandar is a two-CD album. The first disc is called “Andvari” and the second is titled “Gola”, and each of them includes six songs — 12 in total. I don’t yet have a physical copy of the album, but it apparently includes a booklet with artwork for each of the 12 songs. One at a time, Sólstafir has been adding the art for each song to their Facebook albums, and today they uploaded the last one.

I’ve been watching as these pieces of art have gone up on Facebook, and now that they’re all there, I’ve collected them in this post. For reasons I doubt I could articulate, they suit the music. Even standing alone without the amazing music, they’re very cool. All the art is by a Norwegian cartoonist named Kim Holm. Take a look at all 12 creations after the jump (and listen to a Sólstafir song while you’re doing that).

Oct 282011

Video Day here at NCS continues . . .

So far, in order, we’ve featured Metachaos, Vaulting, and Vallenfyre, and that trajectory leads naturally to . . . Baby Metal? Or is it Babymetal?

Seriously, the only reason I’m doing this is to see what kind of commentary it provokes from Phro when he emerges from his lair over in The Land of the Rising Sun. Because my reaction upon seeing this at MetalSucks was pretty much captured by Axl’s comments: “OH MY GOD SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK IS THIS DID SOMEONE PUT ACID IN MY COFFEE THIS MORNING BEC I CAN’T EVEN – WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT”

My brain is too scrambled to even come up with a sufficiently effective palate-cleanser. So instead, I’ll just show you this (after the jump) . . .

Oct 282011

A short time ago this morning, Vallenfyre released their first official music video for music from their forthcoming debut, A Fragile King (hitting the streets via Century Media on November 1). The video features the song “Cathedrals of Dread”, which Vallenfyre frontman and songwriter Greg Mackintosh has described as a condemnation of religion: “I am a staunch atheist, and I think that all religions are quite strange—and the people who control them are very sinister. This quote by Edward Gibbon says it all: ‘Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.’”

Musically, the song itself is an interplay between crawling, crushing, distortion-heavy doom and a more up-tempo barrage of old-school death metal — a raw, stomping buzz of chainsaw riffing and thundering rhythms. It’s grim without being the least bit ponderous.

As for what’s depicted in the video, Greg Mackintosh described it this way in our recent interview of him (posted here): “It is taking the sheep mentality of religion a step further. Kind of a more black and white and more visceral version of the lyrical content of the song.” You can watch it after the jump.

Oct 282011

About a month ago we discovered a German band called Vaulting through one of our MISCELLANY forays into the vast world of unexplored metal. What we heard back then was a five-track EP the band released in 2009 called Modus Humanis. It was damned sweet (read our babbling about it here). We discovered at the time of that post that Vaulting planned to release their debut album Nucleus on October 28. And so they have.

We’re pleased not only to announce that enticing news, but also to help Vaulting premiere a music video for a song from the new album called “Biorobot”. It’s extremely cool to watch, and the music is killer. “Biorobot” is the shortest song on the album — just long enough to tease us into wanting more. We’ve just received the rest of the album, and you’ll be reading more about it at NCS soon. For now, go past the jump and check out the new vid.

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