Nov 302012

Feast your eyes: The artwork for Suffocation’s next album, Pinnacle of Bedlam.

Created by: Raymond Swanland (who did similarly awesome deeds for the likes of Deeds of Flesh and Psycroptic)

Projected release date: Sometime in February 2013

Label: Nuclear Blast

Me:  Having some wood right now.

Is that too much information?

Here’s a nice Suffocation band photo:

Nov 302012

photo credit: Natasha Xavier

We’re delighted to present here Andy Synn’s recent interview of famed guitarist and producer V Santura (Dark Fortress, Triptykon).

Before we get into the interview I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to Victor (V. Santura) for answering the questions I sent to him, which were originally written to be asked and answered during the UK leg of the band’s current tour. Despite the delay I really appreciate how he engaged with the interview and worked with the material.

I’d also like to thank Stefan for helping set this up, since (as you all know) Dark Fortress are amongst my favourite bands. So thank you Stefan!

********  

Firstly, how is the tour going?

Well, what shall I say? I guess it’s a typical UK underground tour which means it is not exactly the glamorous rock-star dream coming true, haha. Sometimes the circumstances are a bit “adventurous”, but no matter how many people are attending the shows, the reactions of the audiences are fantastic. I also have the feeling that the band is very well in shape at the moment. Personally I enjoy playing live a lot and shows like the one in London for example had something truly magic. It’s those moments why you are doing all of this.

 

How are you finding your UK tour mates?

Very good, both bands have strong material. I’ve been in contact with Ethereal for a while and even know some unreleased song ideas. And I know Wilson from Saturnian since several years. Nevertheless I have to say that Saturnian kind of blew me away with their tight and super professional musicianship. I also like their album a lot. Go and buy it!

Nov 302012

I didn’t get a chance to pull together at the end of yesterday what I found in my daily web crawl and e-mail excavation, so I’m doing that this morning. And because I waited so long to patch together this round-up, there are quite a few items of interest in here:

CARCASS

This item comes first because it’s the kind of news that shakes the earth. Late yesterday Blabbermouth reported: “Reactivated British extreme metal legends CARCASS are rumored to be putting the finishing touches on their first studio album in 17 years with acclaimed producer Colin Richardson (FEAR FACTORY, MACHINE HEAD, NAPALM DEATH, SLIPKNOT, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE). The band has yet to secure a label home for the effort, which is expected in early 2013.”

As previously disclosed in assorted interviews, guitarist Michael Amott and drummer Daniel Erlandsson, who toured with Carcass following the announcement of their reunion in 2007, are no longer involved with the group due to scheduling conflicts with their main band, Arch Enemy. Blabbermouth reports that original guitarist Bill Steer and bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker are actively involved in the studio for the new CD recording sessions, along with drummer Matthias Voigt of Germany’s Heaven Shall Burn.

According to the report, Carcass is also in the process of booking a number of live shows for 2013, including the previously announced appearance at next year’s Maryland Deathfest and Chile’s Metal Fest.

Nov 302012

(Yes, Japan’s Baby Metal are back with something new, and as the sun follows the night that means our Japan-based correspondent Phro is back, too.)

So, Islander said he’d take away my food supply if I didn’t get this written up and sent to him before nightfall. As such, you have only him to blame if you find the writing subpar. Well, okay, more subpar than usual. Whatever. I need my horsey cock.

Baby Metal, the semi-official house band of No! Clean Singing!, has released a new song, titled “Ijime, Dame, Zettai.” (Roughly translated by a group of feces-tossing, anus-slurping, toe-jam-eating howler monkeys as: “Bullying, Don’t, Definitely.” We slapped them around a little bit, and they came up with this slightly less steamy pile of rancid eggplant puree: “Just Say No to Bullying!” The howler monkeys have been fired.)

Now, if you think that’s a strange change of focus for a band that thus far has mostly sung about…something, well, you’re not entirely wrong. However, there is a method to this madness. (Ummm…a dim glimmer of a reflection of a method.)

Nov 292012

RXYZYXR and I go back a ways, back to their four-song instrumental demo in 2010 called Geometrical Metal, though I didn’t discover it until first being caught up in the videos they made for two later songs — “Denial of Death” and “Polar Knights” — which I wrote about in July 2011. By that point, the instrumentalists in the band (whose precise overseas locations are still not clear to me) had joined forces with a talented Florida-based vocalist named Tommy Wills.

Earlier this month RXYZYXR finally released a full-fledged debut album, and by full-fledged I mean 13 songs and nearly a solid hour of music, including those two songs that first grabbed me back in 2011. Continuing to shun vowels, the band have named the album LMNTS, and it’s available on both iTunes and Bandcamp.

When I first heard the band’s music, I began comparing them favorably to the likes of Textures and CiLiCe, whose vocalist Daniel de Jongh moved over to Textures and made his debut with that band on 2011′s wonderful Duality. Having now heard LMNTS, the comparison is even more apt, and yet RXYZYXR have integrated more stylistic variety into their music than even those comparisons would suggest.

At the core of RXYZYXR’s music is the kind of Meshuggah-influenced polyrhythmic pummeling that fellow blogger Angry Metal Guy once delightfully termed “high-IQ-riffage”. The unpredictable, unstable rhythms are heavy as lead and yet bound and dart like cheetahs in a high-speed chase.

Nov 292012

(Here is Part 2 of an extensive guest review by Rob Watson that began yesterday [here]. The music can again be found at the end.)

Last time, I got to grips with the opening three tracks of Window to the World. However, these first three songs may be difficult to appreciate if you are not an avid fan of the intimidation, claustrophobia, and general evil that enters into the sound of a lot of modern metal (a band that exemplifies this approach to sound are the Australian death metal outfit Portal). When I listen to the former half of Window to the World, I almost feel as if oxygen is gradually being sucked from the music, so that soon there will be no fresh air to breath and I will be unable to remain in the narcotic wasteland that has been carved within the music. Fortunately, much of the second half is pure melodious oxygen, fulfilling, magnificent, and blossoming with a totally different character than the first.

This metamorphosis of sound begins with ‘The Sanest Sentence’, which is probably the most in-depth song on the album compositionally. It begins very gently, as though it is barely there at all. The development of the music is like what you might see at dawn on a cold morning from within a wood, the light slowly penetrating the foliage. It is rather like a revelation, of sorts: A new corridor within the synaptic networks of the mind is being explored by this gentler, more graceful side to the band’s work.

Unlike many of the motifs and riffs that have gone before in this album, it has a strongly rooted harmonic structure. The chromatic, jarring style of the earlier parts of the album, which resembled classical composers such as Stravinsky or some of Shostakovich’s more aggressive compositions, has been replaced by something more akin to Ravel or Debussy. The immense beauty and simplicity of pieces like ‘Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte’ or ‘Prélude à l’ Après-midi d’un Faune’ display a similar character to the opening of ‘The Sanest Sentence’, as do certain themes from video game soundtracks, especially those composed by Nobuo Uematsu (the Final Fantasy series is the most famous of his game soundtracks).

Nov 292012

One of these days I may have to actually buy a Scion vehicle. The debts of gratitude just keep mounting, and I do like to repay my debts. Scion A/V’s latest gift to metalheads is a brand new EP by Arsis named Lepers Caress. It will become available for free download next Tuesday at the Scion A/V web site.

I got wind of this yesterday when a couple of my NCS comrades started talking about a Nov 27 interview of guitarist/vocalist James Malone and bass-player Noah Martin that appeared at Hardrock.RVA. In that interview, Malone said: “You can expect the Scion EP very soon and for Unwelcome to come out early next year.  I wouldn’t compare either to Starve… but you will not be let down.  This much I can promise.”

Turns out we didn’t have to wait long for confirmation about that EP, because the official announcement came out this morning. The reference to Unwelcome is about the next Arsis full-length, which was written by Malone and Martin and recorded this past August. And in related news, Arsis will be setting out on a Scion-sponsored tour this December, and they’ll be playing new songs from both the EP and Unwelcome.

As for what the new music will sound like, the interview contained this additional preview from Noah Martin, which includes references to previous Arsis releases A Diamond For Disease (2005), We Are the Nightmare (2008), and Starve For the Devil (2010):

Nov 292012

News flash: Kroda have just put their brand new previously unreleased live album up on Bandcamp.

Long-term NCS readers will know about Kroda because we’ve written about them so often at NCS (their 2011 album Schwarzpfad was probably my favorite black metal album out of all the ones I heard last year, and I included a song-stream from the album on our list of the 2011’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs).

As previously reported at this site, Kroda recorded a live album at a concert in Moscow on April 14, 2012, planning to release it in the form of a combined CD and DVD under the title Live Under Hexenhammer: Heil Ragnarok!.  Last month, we streamed one of the tracks from the new live album, an awesome cover of a song called “Noregsgard” by the Norwegian band Storm (which included Fenriz of Darkthrone and Satyr of Satyricon) from Storm’s 1995 Nordavind album.

Just minutes ago, however, Kroda made public a new Bandcamp page and are now offering Live Under Hexenhammer for digital download. It’s a monster release, consisting of about 100 minutes of music, with live performances not only of original Kroda songs but also covers of songs by Summoning, Absurd, and the aforementioned Storm. The entire album is available for $8.99, and the songs can be downloaded individually as well.

And of course the entire album can now be streamed.  We’re planning a review of this release, which Kroda were nice enough to let us hear in advance. But you won’t have to take our word for it. Listen for yourselves after the jump: Live Under Hexenhammer kills.

Nov 292012

While awaiting the rollout of our own series of posts devoted to the year’s best metal, I continue to keep an eye out for year-end lists published by what I’ve been calling “big platform” web sites. By “big platform” sites, I mean those that have web traffic which greatly exceeds even the biggest metal-only sites. By definition, this means that they cover music or other forms of entertainment beyond metal. They may not be as trve as the sites that are completely devoted to metal, but I have fun watching what they say in their year-end posts, in part because their articles are written for a broader audience.

This year I’m including a year-end metal list by a “big platform” site that wasn’t included in our round-up last year. It’s called Loudwire.com, and it’s the national music website covering active rock and heavy metal of the Townsquare Media Group. Townsquare Media says that it’s “the largest music focused advertising network online consisting of over 1,500 music sites and reaching over 60 million people each month”. It also owns 250 radio stations, including 18 “active rock” radio stations nationwide. Loudwire has over 585,000 Facebook fans and reports that it receives more than 1.2 million unique visitors per month. This means that it edges out NCS traffic by a hair.

Yesterday, Loudwire published its staff list of the 10 Best Metal Albums of 2012. Though I wouldn’t agree with all the picks on the list (e.g., I don’t think Lamb of God’s Resolution is one of the year’s 10 best metal albums), I wasn’t surprised by most of the albums on there. I think we will see most of them on a great many lists this year. But there were two exceptions: Woods of Ypres seemed like an unusual stylistic choice, given what else is on the list, though I’m not criticizing the pick because I haven’t heard the album, and I wouldn’t have guessed the album that Loudwire picked for No. 1. Here’s the list:

Nov 292012

We’re getting closer and closer to the onset of full-throttle year-end listmania at NCS. Really close. So close I can smell it, and I mean to tell you, it smells so much better than I do.

Which reminds me that if you haven’t donated to us, free of charge, your own personal list of favorite releases during 2012, then please GO HERE and do that in the comments, so that I and other readers can leech off your recommendations. Seriously, I don’t know about anyone else, but I read those lists, and I particularly keep an eye out for albums or EPs that seem to be getting repeat attention.

But this post isn’t about getting lists of the year’s best releases, or even about our upcoming series of posts on the subject. No, this post is about a different kind of list: The Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs of 2012. And as usual, we’d like your help.

In case you’ve forgotten, or you’ve become an NCS reader since this time last year, here’s what this is about:

To repeat, this isn’t a list of the best metal albums of the year. It’s not even our list of the best individual extreme metal songs of the year. Though some of the songs might actually be among the best of the year, creating that kind of list isn’t the objective. That would tax my brain way too much, and frankly this is the time of year when devoting serious effort to anything makes me queasy.

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