Jan 312014

We proudly bring you the 16th Part of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two I’m announcing today, click here.

In different ways, both bands we’re featuring today have their tongues in their cheeks — but their music also has the capability to tear yours out and use it for a bookmark.

THE MONOLITH DEATHCULT

I suppose our adoration for TMDC knows no bounds — or so one might think from the volume of words we’ve spilled about their new album, Tetragrammaton. For example, these words by our reviewer Mr. Synn:

“Their music is dark, oppressive, and brutal – but also relentlessly energetic, knowingly pompous, and impressively self-aware…. Right from the start you can tell that this is the sequel to the superfluously awesome Triumvirate. Yet it’s more than just a mere carbon copy or continuation. Everything that album brought to the table is still there – the ostentatious synths, the audacious symphonic pomposity, the back-breaking death metal brutality, the darkly intelligent lyrical themes and vicious vocal hooks – yet twisted and reworked just so to provide a new experience, a newly refined recipe for disaster…. 

Jan 312014

photo by Veleda Thorsson

Mark your calendars: About one hour ago, this statement appeared on Profound Lore’s Facebook page:

AGALLOCH will release their glorious fifth full-length album The Serpent & The Sphere on May 13th (North America)….  The album was recorded and mixed by legendary producer Billy Anderson, the result being the band’s most enormous sounding album to date.”

That is all.  Is that not enough?

Jan 312014

(In this post you’ll find Austin Weber’s review of the new album by Canadian/Swedish band Culted.)

In the heart of winter, doom metal often makes for a great soundtrack to the season, as both the cold and doom have a common nature — they both desire to choke the life out of you. This is where Culted come in. They are a group of talented Canadians with a vocalist based in Sweden who together have utilized the internet to collaborate and give humanity top-notch doom that swells with an intense aura of bleak misanthropic rage.

The artwork certainly draws you in quickly, its imagery of a cloaked figure peering out at decay providing a visual glimpse into the crawling cold punishment explored on Oblique to All Paths. This is unsettling doom, bound in a sense of torment that seeps from every note and scream. Oblique To All Paths is sludgy, sometimes drone-y, and graced with piercing black-metal, reverb-soaked screams. Culted have a tendency to dress up the desolate proceedings in soundscapes that capture a morbid and mellow Swans-esque feel. This being a doom record, there are copious amounts of reverb and feedback swirling around, which only serve to magnify the deliciously suffocating and quite tripping duality conjured on Oblique To All Paths.

Jan 312014

(In this post TheMadIsraeli enthusiastically reviews the new, second album by Pennsylvania’s Fisthammer.)

Now this is some no fucking mercy shit right here.  Fisthammer (dat name) play some no-nonsense, frigid, piercing, putrid death metal.  Calling to mind Carcass, Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Hate Eternal, Immolation, some old At the Gates, and Origin, their sophomore album Infallible is indeed, for lack of a better term, infallible.  This Downingtown, PA threesome are a death metal titan to be reckoned with.  Summoning all that is sinister and alien, Fisthammer’s sound is that of third-world torture, absolute fucking carnage laid bare with explosive fury.  The riffs are tasty, the vocals putrid and waste-covered, the drumming unrelenting, technical and filled with detail.  Combine this with progressive tendencies, and Infallible may find itself as a first candidate for defining albums of 2014.

The first bit of physical abuse comes in the rather proggy opener “Arithmos Tou Therou”.  Eerie chords, tremolo-picked on classical guitars, ring in, before the introduction of a riff that sounds like a funeral procession.  The drawn-out intro sets the tone perfectly, before Fisthammer assault you with a blistering volley of tremolo-picked guitar interplay.  The guitar work is pronounced yet intricate and shows an insane level of sophistication.  Guitarist and vocalist Max Svalgard has the gift of the riff, on top of his bestial roars from hell itself, driving the music.

Jan 312014

This is a collection of new songs and videos I discovered over the last 24 hours. Some of it, but not all, is black metal. I’ve used that “Shades of Black” label again because there’s a lot of dark, malevolent power in all the music — and a lot of evil fun to be had, too.

LOATHING

I heard from this Polish band two weeks ago, with the news that their debut album We Are the Hunt was set for release on January 20. I dicked around and failed to pounce on it, but yesterday I did discover both a lyric video for “Warspite” and a second song from the album, “I Rot Inside”. They’re both supremely good, and although I’m now very interested in hearing the whole album, I’m so behind in writing reviews that I at least wanted to make sure I said something about these two songs.

I suspect that many Polish death metal bands get tired of being compared to Behemoth or Hate, or maybe they’re flattered? I do mean to flatter Loathing with those references, although I don’t mean to suggest they sound exactly like either of those other magnificent bands. Their music does convey a similar kind of demonic majesty, the huge booming riffs and spine-shaking drum beats thundering with titanic might, the occult melodies writhing like freed serpents, the deep vocals roaring with malignant power (and howling with passion in the second song).

Jan 312014

(BadWolf reviews the debut album by a Dutch black metal trio known as Fluisteraars, which was released a few days ago by Eisenwald.)

I’ve lived through ups and downs with lo-fi long-form black metal. On the one hand, the millennial USBM style, particularly the work of Krieg and the Lurker of Chalice record, made powerful inroads for black metal into my musical library. I’m also an absolute sucker for anything resembling the ten-plus-minute Tolkien worship of Summoning. On the other hand, I was never all about the blown-out Burzum style, and I prefer crusty Darkthrone to their earlier stuff (though I’ve been spinning that Ravishing Grimness quite a bit in this icy, polar weather). So imagine my surprise when an old-style euro black metal release, by Dutch trio Fluisteraars, comes across my desk and usurps my Behemoth listening. What I found has made the perfect companion to my past few days of sub-zero drives into the office.

Dromers, the first Fluisteraars record, consists of three extended tracks—in fact, the promo listed the songs in the style of an LP, with “De Doornen” taking up all of side A, and “Kudeddier” and “Wortels Van Angst” taking up side B. Add to the mix a folksy, almost Enslaved riff style, and a super-creepy cover, and I was hooked.

Jan 302014

Welcome to Part 15 our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two I’m announcing today, click here.

LANTERN

This Finnish duo’s 2013 album, Below, was one of the year’s best — and most astonishing — surprises. At one level, it is dank, moldering, primitive, highly destructive death metal with an overhang of catastrophic doom. In fact, when I wrote about the album’s first advance track, it was in a post entitled “Horrific”. And yet there is so much more to it than a recapitulation of old-school crypt-born precedents. The music often evolves in unpredictable ways, with strange guitar interludes and off-balance drum rhythms, and the atmosphere is often completely otherworldly, as if we are being treated to death metal from a parallel dimension different from our own.

The production quality is murky and obscure. The vocals become vehement proclamations of damnation when they’re not howling with ghastly malevolence. As TheMadIsraeli put it in his review, “The music of Lantern is really, at its core, an esoteric roar from a cavernous abyss.” And yet I think many of the songs are also strangely infectious. I wouldn’t go so far as to cay they’re “catchy”, but they exert a strong magnetic attraction that has drawn me back to Below many times since first encountering it.

Jan 302014

I’ve been meaning to write about this EP by Seattle’s Ocelot Omelet for months, and finally kicked myself in the ass hard enough to get it done (I blame my delay on fear of suffering a hamstring injury). It’s different in some ways from most of the music we cover at NCS, but despite my tunnel-visioned, metal-only approach to what I usually consume, I’ve enjoyed it so much that not writing about it would be… immoral.

The EP is entitled Present In the Dark and it consists of three songs, one of which simply has a question mark for its title. I know some people find genre labels useful, but when I try to think of them in this case, a question mark is what comes to mind first, because trying to affix labels to this music isn’t easy. But to make a stab at it, I’d say it’s like a mash-up (and a seamless one) of throwback psychedelia, sludgy stoner doom, and progressive rock, swimming in a dark narcotic haze.

“Out of the Frying Pan and Into Another Frying Pan” is the catchiest and most “accessible” of the three songs — at least after the squeal and drone of feedback and the squalling, shrieking sounds of the guitar in the song’s intro. After that, the music really starts to roll, with fat sludgy riffs and drum and bass lines that you can feel in your spine.

Jan 302014

These dudes may wear black veils, but they are not Black Veil Brides. Make no mistake about that. Their name is Wrong, they’re a black metal band who hail from Madrid, Spain, and they have recently released an official video for a song named “They Look At Me”. I discovered it via Terrorizer, and I’ve quickly become enthralled by it. Wrong explain the concept behind their music as follows:

The universe of Wrong focuses their concept on a post-apocalyptic and dystopian earth, where the few people that remain after a devastating earthquake in the core of the earth, struggling for survival in the most disheartening misery between death, sickness, wild clans, cannibalism and savagery, the vision of a dystopian and gray future where the worst stories of human decadence are narrated through obscure passages only for the wandering, abandoned and the wretched souls.

“They Look At Me” is both chilling and beautiful, both sorrowful and vitriolic. It has a vivid, compelling bass line that makes its presence known almost immediately; a sweeping, melancholy melody that insinuates itself into the memory; moments of ravaging tremolo evisceration and assaulting blast-beats; entrancing keyboard notes that come and go like wraiths; and a vocalist who sounds like a rabid wolf.

Jan 302014

Noctem are from Valencia, Spain. Their 2011 album Oblivion was a favorite of this site (Andy Synn reviewed it here and named it to one of his lists of 2011′s top albums). Noctem are now ramping up for the release of a new album entitled Exilium, which will be available in North America on March 3. Last week we featured an advance track from the album named “Eidolon”, which has been streaming on SoundCloud, and now the band have also provided a worm-ridden lyric video for the song.

I’ve been spinning this song a lot since first hearing it. To quote what I wrote about it last week, it explodes with percussive ferocity, bestial roars, and winding riffs. Equal parts thunderous death metal and ripping melodic black metal, the music has an air of monstrous grandeur counterbalanced by a dark, swirling guitar melody — and it includes a brief, surprising acoustic interlude. It’s a riveting listen, and the track is such a grabber that I’ve already added it as a candidate for our list of 2014’s “Most Infectious Songs”.

In the words of frontman/songwriter Beleth, “‘Eidolon’ talks about the ancient Sumerian demons Thamuz and Ereshkigal, which is the queen of the underworld; destruction of the earth and proclamation of a self-destructive and anti-Christian ideology”. Gaze upon the lyric video next and let the music infest your head. 

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