Mar 312013

Thanks to a tip from Happy Metal Guy, I learned this morning about an interesting status that went up on the official Facebook page for Encyclopaedia Metallum – The Metal Archives:  They have now reached 90,000 bands listed in the database.

That’s a really impressive accomplishment for one of the most useful sites on the web for lovers of metal, and I thought congratulations were in order. So, CONGRATULATIONS!

In that same FB status, Metal Archives also identified the band who became their 90,000th addition to the band database — a new 3-man outfit from New Brunswick, NJ named Senobyte. Yesterday, Senobyte released a two-song demo, which is now listed on their Metal Archives entry, and both songs — “Pumpkinhead” and “The Beyond” — happen to be available on Soundcloud. So, of course, I had to check ’em out. After all, this is history in making!

And guess what? Senobyte have really got something good going on.

Mar 312013

To those of you who celebrate the day, whether for pagan or Christian reasons or just because you like watching kids hunt for Satan’s nuts in the shrubbery, Happy Easter.

It’s time for another edition of this series, in which we collect photos, videos, and news items that make us exclaim, “Shit! That’s metal!”, even though they aren’t music. In today’s installment we have seven items.

ITEM ONE

The first item is the photo above. It’s a weird kind of woodpecker called Jynx torquilla, colloquially known as the wryneck. Why is this metal? Well duh, because this bird fuckin’ knows how to windmill!

Only problem is that it seems to have only one speed — blazing fast. It would probably draw stares at a stoner/doom show.

Okay, it would probably draw stares at any metal show. I bet if it were bigger it would clear out a pit in a hurry though.

The Font of All Human Knowledge provides this additional info about the wryneck: “These birds get their English name from their ability to turn their heads almost 180 degrees. When disturbed at the nest, they use this snake-like head twisting and hissing as a threat display. This odd behaviour led to their use in witchcraft, hence to put a “jinx” on someone.”

Mar 312013

(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Tampa’s Dark Sermon.)

Metalcore is a pretty dead venue for the most part at this point.  When the majority of a genre has resorted to knocking off elements from djent in order to maintain any credibility, you know your style is knee-deep in irrelevancy.  That’s why I’m surprised by the debut of Dark Sermon, called In Tongues.

Dark Sermon are a sinister, ravaging band.  Heavy influence taken from The Black Dahlia Murder, Bleeding Through, and At the Gates manifests itself in a sound that definitely comes off more early/mid 2000’s.  The riffs are technical, dark, and draped in an old-school Swedish overcoat, drawing strength from the darker melodic bands of that scene, such as the aforementioned At the Gates, old Arch Enemy, and even Carcass.  The vocals of frontman Johnny Crowder fall between a John Pettibone (of Himsa fame) bark and Trevor Strnad-styled high-pitched shrieks.

“The Shepard’s Staff” wastes no time in establishing the modus operandi of these guys: pedal-point riffing in the Gothenburg tradition accompanied by artillery fire in the form of blast beats and over-saturations of double bass.

Mar 302013

On this lazy Saturday morning, I found these items of interest while surfing the waves of our metallic ocean.

GHOST B.C.

I’m still having trouble typing “Ghost B.C.” instead of “Ghost”. And as if legal problems with their original name weren’t enough bullshit to endure, this Swedish band seem to have encountered fresh new bullshit in getting the CDs produced for their new album, Infestissumam.

According to Spin.com, release of the album has been delayed from April 9 to April 16 because four different U.S. compact disc manufacturers have refused to print a piece of artwork (shown above) that was destined for the deluxe version of the album. More from Spin.com:

“We kept on getting turned down because of the CD art, which is basically a 16th century illustration of an orgy,” a source close to the band told SPIN. The NSFW illustration, inspired by the work of Gustave Dore, showcases what looks like a forest nymph orgy, but it’s the religious iconography at the top that convinced manufacturers to turn off the printing press.

Mar 302013

(photo credit: Brooklyn Vegan)

This is a journal of an impromptu musical experience that made me think of the ocean.

There is a venue in Seattle called The Black Lodge. Other than someone’s back yard or basement, it’s probably the most underground metal venue in Seattle. It’s BYOB and the calendar of shows spreads mainly by word of mouth. There was a show planned there for the night of March 26, but within the preceding 24 hours or so there was a change, and the bands scheduled to play there were added to a pre-existing line-up at a different venue, The Highline.

Not knowing anything about the original Black Lodge bill or about the last-minute change (the word did not reach my mouth), I was simply interested in seeing the bands who were already lined up for The Highline, which included Today Is The Day and Black Tusk. I showed up with two friends and discovered to my amazement that the first two bands I would be hearing were Ash Borer and Aldebaran (we got there too late to catch the opening act, Fight Amp).

I would have killed your mother to see those two bands had I known they were in town. Your mother was spared, and I got to see them anyway. It was an experience I’ll remember for a long time. I wish I had brought my camera, but like I said, this was an impromptu experience.

Mar 292013

Time for another round-up of new music. What grabbed my attention this morning were the following new songs from Shade Empire (Finland), Deathember (Sweden), and Moss (UK), plus a small video announcement by Behemoth (Poland).

SHADE EMPIRE

Shade Empire are a Finnish metal band whose massive, 74-minute-long fourth album — Omega Arcane — will be released by Candlelight Records on May 3 in Finland, on May 6 in the rest of Europe, and  sometime in June in North America.

June is so far away that it might as well be Pluto, but although patience will be tested, I’m absolutely convinced the wait will be worthwhile. Why? Because Shade Empire have just released an official video for an edited version of the album’s first single, “Ruins”, and it’s really impressive.

The song is scathing, sweeping, and soaring, a riveting mixture of styles that include elements of black metal, melodic death metal, and doom, with orchestral touches that enhance the drama rather than clog the arteries with cheese. Fans of bands such as Insomnium and In Mourning would do well to pay attention — especially because the video itself is just as magnetic as the music. Beautifully filmed and edited, it’s a badass feast for the eyes.

Mar 292013

It’s been way too long since we checked in with Demonic Resurrection’s frontman Demonstealer. The dude always seems to have about 1,000 things going on at any given time, and I’ll get to one more of his endeavors at the end of this post, but the main draw here at the beginning is his on-line cooking show Headbangers Kitchen and his latest guest from the incomparable Gojira.

If you’re not familiar with Headbanger’s Kitchen, it’s Demonstealer’s outlet for his culinary impulses. And whether you do or don’t discover something you might want to prepare for your own consumption, it’s fun to watch because Demonstealer often lures members of other metal bands into his kitchen in Mumbai, combining interviews with cooking. In the latest (14th) episode, the guest is Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier, who Demonstealer snagged during Gojira’s first visit to India several months ago.  And the dish that Demonstealer whipped up for Joe? The Heaviest Chole Bhature in the Universe!

I’m not an aficionado of Indian food. Hey, I grew up in Central Texas: a plate of Tex-Mex enchiladas smothered in chopped onions and sliced jalapenos or a slab of brisket served on wax paper is my go-to comfort food. So chole bhature was a discovery for me. But the chole seems to be prepared with green chile and onion, so it can’t be bad, can it?

Mar 292013

(Beginning late last year, TheMadIsraeli embarked on an assessment of the music of Kataklysm. For more details about what this is all about, check out his introduction to the series here. Previous installments can be found via this link. And today we have the wrap-up.)

So, it’s time to finally wrap up the first edition of “Higher Criticism” by coming to my final conclusion about Kataklysm.  It was an interesting experience for me to listen through this discography, especially since the last two albums were completely unknown territory to me.

So let’s establish how these summary conclusions are going to go — because I don’t intend to stop with Kataklysm.  I present general opinions on the band as a whole, how they have evolved, how I think the future looks for the band.  I then decide if there are particular albums from their discography, very select ones, that are worthy of being deemed essential listening.  With that said…

Kataklysm have remained an oddity to me.  I began this expedition, as much as I didn’t want to initially, because an ex-girlfriend told me this was one of her favorite bands.  Ever.  From what I had heard, such an opinion sounded completely and utterly unfounded to me, and writing for NCS finally gave me a platform and excuse to dig into this music. 

Mar 282013

There’s a song in this little round-up of new stuff that’s an outlier on this site. To make it go down easier, I’ve sandwiched it in between two slices of festering filthiness. You’re welcome.

IMMOLATION

One week ago Immolation debuted the title track from their forthcoming album Kingdom of Conspiracy, which will be discharged on May 14 by Nuclear Blast. I wrote about it then, praising it as a song that sinks its teeth into your neck but transfixes your attention while you bleed out with shifting dynamics and the effective incorporation of infected melodies in the midst of bludgeoning riffage.

Yesterday the band released a lyric video for the song, and while I would have selfishly preferred a new track, this one can stand being heard again (and again). Here’s the new lyric video for “Kingdom of Conspiracy”:

Mar 282013

(photo credit: Astrid Gjersøe Skåtterød)

Andy Synn, beloved NCS writer and intrepid foreign correspondent, is currently attending the Inferno Festival in Oslo, Norway (damn his eyes). Late yesterday afternoon your humble editor received a message from Andy with a couple of scoops about one of our favorite bands, Keep of Kalessin.

First, Andy reported that KoK had debuted a new song and video — “Introspection” — at Inferno. This explains the meaning of the cryptic countdown that has been going on for the last week at KoK’s Facebook page (more about that in a minute). Andy described it thusly: “Epic song. Epic video. Crushing drum sound. Awesome riffs and melodies.”

Second, Andy relayed that KoK’s vocalist Thebon has parted ways with the band and that the man pictured above — KoK’s guitarist, songwriter, and composer Arnt “Obsidian C” Gronbech — has stepped up to become the new vocalist and frontman.

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