Sep 302013

I haven’t attempted to compile a round-up of noteworthy findings in several days, so I’ve had to ruthlessly cut what interested me or this post would have been longer than a reticulated python. Even truncated, it’s as long as a boa constrictor. And everything in here is awfully bloodthirsty, right up until the final item.

ELIRAN KANTOR AND ICED EARTH

Is that a fuckin’ brutal album cover up there or what? It’s the latest cover art by Eliran Kantor, who I watch like a hawk because he’s so damned good, and it graces the 11th album by Iced Earth, which is planned for release by Century Media in January 2014. With a grisly cover like that and song titles such as “Democide”, “Cthulhu”, and “Parasite”, in addition to the title track, this could be very interesting.

Speaking of brutal, how ’bout a new Deicide track?

Sep 302013

Near the end of every year since this fetid site sprang to fecund life in the fall of 2009, we’ve done two things (and we’ll do them again this year): We’ve compiled a list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs, and we’ve published lots of lists of the year’s best albums. Our best-album lists come from our regular staff, assorted guests, and many readers, but we also have a tradition of re-publishing lists announced by what I call “big platform” web sites, most of which don’t limit their content to metal (which is why they’re big).

One of the “big platform” sites whose lists we’ve regularly published is MSN Entertainment, which boasts over 23 million unique visitors to the site every month, narrowly edging out NCS in audience size. Since we started paying attention, the MSN lists have been compiled by seasoned metal writer Adrien Begrand. Last year MSN rolled out his Top 50 in segments during the week that ended December 21. This year, they appeared in one fell swoop — today.

This may have something to do with the fact that Begrand is leaving MSN Entertainment, and today marks the end of his “Headbang” column over there. On the other hand, he confidently states: “Although it’s two months early, we music writers are already very nearly through the year, and of the few releases I haven’t heard, they won’t alter my list dramatically at all, especially the top 30, which is ironclad.”

Sep 302013

I’ve been waiting for Blodsgard’s debut album for a long time. When I saw the title and the fantastic cover (conceived by the band and executed by Mark Cooper), I smiled. I wanted something monumental, and it seemed this was Blodsgard’s intent, too.

All told, the album is the result of five years’ of work that included extensive re-writing, re-arranging, and re-mastering. Four of the songs originally appeared on the band’s superb 2011 EP Solve Et Coagula (reviewed here), though they have been re-mastered for the album. Under a different name (“Mitt blod flyter”), the closing track also appeared in 2011 as part of a special limited release that we helped distribute (informally labeled A Taste of Future Darkness), though it has been changed in subtle ways. As far as I know, the other three tracks haven’t previously been made publicly available.

Even if you’re familiar with Solve Et Coagula, Monument will surprise you in its variety and in the extent to which Blodsgard’s sound has continued to evolve. And if this will be your first exposure to Blodsgard, something very special is waiting for you.

Sep 302013

I’ve been waiting for Blodsgard’s debut album for a long time. When I saw the title and the fantastic cover (conceived by the band and executed by Mark Cooper), I smiled. I wanted something monumental, and it seemed this was Blodsgard’s intent, too.

All told, the album is the result of five years’ of work that included extensive re-writing, re-arranging, and re-mastering. Four of the songs originally appeared on the band’s superb 2011 EP Solve Et Coagula (reviewed here), though they have been re-mastered for the album. Under a different name (“Mitt blod flyter”), the closing track also appeared in 2011 as part of a special limited release that we helped distribute (informally labeled A Taste of Future Darkness), though it has been changed in subtle ways. As far as I know, the other three tracks haven’t previously been made publicly available.

Even if you’re familiar with Solve Et Coagula, Monument will surprise you in its variety and in the extent to which Blodsgard’s sound has continued to evolve. And if this will be your first exposure to Blodsgard, something very special is waiting for you.

Sep 302013

(TheMadIsraeli is in catch-up mode, reviewing five albums in this one post. You’ll find music from all the albums at the end.)

Welcome to power hour, the thing I do when I try to catch up on shit I should’ve reviewed long ago. It’s called power hour not because it’s an hour of music, but because it’ll take you a fucking hour to read the shit.

Sometimes we miss things here at NCS, and often enough I feel like an asshole for doing it, especially when I’m the guy who would normally cover the stuff we miss. So this is my attempt to reconcile. Five reviews in one, baby, deal with it.

As such though, I thought I’d make this themed, so it’s the thrash power hour. Let’s start with a relative newcomer…

Sep 292013

This is a piece of news that warms my cold black heart, a true Cinderella story, except there’s nothing pretty about New York’s Artificial Brain — a New York space-death-metal band that includes vocalist Will Smith (Buckshot Facelift, ex-Biolich), Revocation guitarist Dan Gargiulo, and some other mutants who apparently still wish to remain nameless.

I’ve been following this band for more than two years, writing about their first three-song EP, their first music video, and their latest two-song offering that appeared last spring — about which I frenetically penned these words:

“Imagine an alien stew consisting of cutting/blasting black metal, pummeling death metal, cosmic guitar digressions, rubbery bass-lines, roaring grisly bears, and shrieking ice giants. Also, gang vocals and a bit of Gorguts-like tech frenzy. And unstable tempos.”

Last spring I had heard that Artificial Brain was going to record a full-length album with Colin Marston that undoubtedly would include additional manifestations of sonic dementia. Today I learned not only that the album has in fact been recorded but also that it will be released by Profound Lore. Details follow in this message we received from the band:

Sep 292013

Welcome to another edition of THAT’S METAL!, in which we collect images, videos, and occasional news items that aren’t music but are nonetheless metal. We have nine items in this installment.

ITEM ONE

Let’s start with a couple of astronomical items. The first one (which is sort of an update to a December 2012 item) is staring at you from the top of this post. Nicknamed “The Rose”, it’s a photo of the eye of a gigantic spinning hurricane at the north pole of Saturn, taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Nov 27, 2012. The eye of this storm has been measured at a staggering 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) across. Two planets the size of Earth could fit within the hurricane as a whole.

When the Cassini spacecraft arrived in the Saturnian system in 2004, this pole of the planet was tilted away from the sun and in darkness. The last time Saturn’s north pole was photographed in sunlight was in 1981 via NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, but at that time the observation geometry didn’t permit a detailed view of the poles, so this more recent imagery is a first.

Sadly, the colors in this photo are “false”, though they’re quite beautiful. Spectral filters sensitive to wavelengths of near-infrared light were used, with red indicating low clouds and green indicating high ones. More information is available in the following April 2013 video, as well as at this NASA web page.

Sep 292013

It would be very difficult to describe the attraction of FŌR’s new EP Blakaz Askǭ Hertô to anyone who is not already convinced about the power of blackened death metal and susceptible to the apocalyptic atmospherics that the style is capable of creating. It would be flat-out impossible to do that for anyone who is not already far along the left-hand path of extreme metal in general. Despite these challenges, I shall forge ahead.

Nothing played with a guitar and bass is truly devoid of melody — every string does represent a note. But FŌR have tuned the instruments so low, have so ramped up the distortion levels, and have made such abundant use of repeated tremolo-picked chords and feedback that what most people would call “melody” has been banished to some inaccessible netherworld. The songs are usually dominated by horrific grinding noise, occasionally segmented by massive hammering riffs that brutishly bludgeon like the ultimate hammer of doom.

The dense shroud of guitar and bass radioactivity is monolithic, impenetrable, suffocating, like a slow-moving mass of corrosive static. It’s a nearly relentless assault on the senses that reaches its apex in the 10-minute closing track “Lineage of the Amorphous”, in which one chord after another is struck in slow progression and the droning, fuzzed-out feedback just hangs there with the roentgen levels in the red zone until the the pick hand attacks again.

Sep 292013

We’re actually going to have a “THAT’S METAL!” — BUT IT’S NOT MUSIC” post today, but we’re beginning with something on the flip side of that, using a title that I think BadWolf originally coined for something else we posted that doesn’t fall within our usual ambit. We don’t do this often, because we know people don’t usually come here for non-metal music. Also, I almost never listen to anything but metal. But I did yesterday.

One of the blogs I follow is written by fellow Seattle-ite Gemma Alexander. Yesterday she wrote about two live performances she caught on Friday night at Seattle’s Decibel Festival, “a world class celebration of underground and experimental electronic music”. Her vivid description of what she saw and heard (which I highly recommend) intrigued me so much that I went in search of music by the two performers — Nils Frahm from Germany and Ólafur Arnalds from Iceland.

Later, having spent more than an hour immersed in the music of both, I decided I ought to share what I found, because it’s pretty amazing.

NILS FRAHM

Nils Frahm is a Berlin-based contemporary/experimental composer whose principal instrument is the piano — and an assortment of electronic effects that transform the sound. I gather that in his live performances, Frahm improvises and experiments, in essence creating new works using his recorded music as the template. Here’s how Gemma described what she witnessed:

Sep 282013

Holy fuckin’ shit on a stick!

I just came across a professionally filmed video of a bunch of teen-aged (and sub-teen) music students recording a cover of Tool’s song “Forty Six & 2” from their 1996 Ænima album. It’s ridiculously impressive. The vocalist and the drummer are especially amazing to watch and hear, but all of the kids really kick the hell out of this song.

Their instructor is a dude named Aaron O’Keefe who teaches at various music academies in Ohio. He’s obviously doing a fantastic job.

Yes, this is an Exception to the Rule round here, but one that’s completely justified in my humble opinion. If there’s ever a School of Rock sequel, Jack Black could save some time: Here’s your cast, dude.

Watch this next:

© 2009, 2016 NO CLEAN SINGING Banner design by Dan Dubois, background design by groverXIII. Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha