Mar 312014

Here are a handful of new songs and videos I found this morning that I thought were worth passing along.

WRONG

I got interested in this new two-man black metal band because the vocalist and drummer is Phlegeton from the excellent Spanish metal band Wormed. His partner, who plays guitar, bass, and piano, goes by the initials DP and is a member of The YTriple Corporation and Neverdie. Their second album, Pessimistic Outcomes, is coming out in April.

In January I featured a Wrong video for a song from their first album, and what I found today is a just-released video for the new album’s title track. The song is slow-moving and depressive, with squalling tremolo guitars and methodically pummeling percussion that moves between rock beats and rolling thunder. Incorporated within this bleak, atmospheric music are two contrast points — ugly, distorted, bile-spewing vocals and eerie, ethereal piano notes.

Mar 312014

I’ve been unable to check the NCS in-box for a few hours. In more plain-spoken English, what this means is that the intrepid NCS pigeon aeronauts who deliver our metal-oriented mail were distracted by some old dude with popcorn on a park bench. I’ve tried to reason with them about the importance of prompt deliveries, but if you’ve ever tried to reason with a pigeon, you know it’s a daunting task.

Anyway, they finally made it to the NCS HQ, and one of the missives caught my eye immediately: The mighty Meshuggah have announced that they will be returning to NorthAm this summer “to celebrate their 25th year of musical deviance with festival appearances, Canadian dates, and clubs that will fill to capacity.”  Opening for them (on all but the two festival dates) will be North Carolina’s Between the Buried and Me.

For people lucking enough to reside within striking distance of any of the following 12 cities, this is strikingly good news:

Mar 312014

(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Poland’s Virgin Snatch.)

I wonder how many people who read this site even know who Virgin Snatch are. They’ve always been a band who’ve never gotten due recognition despite being one of the most killer and consistent death-thrash bands out there, especially considering their particular sound, which has always stuck out to me. I always felt like these dudes were the ultimate intersection between Carcass and Testament.

Sounds fucking silly, I realize, because to some people those two sounds would have absolutely no hope of blending in with each other. Virgin Snatch, though, have managed to do it, and as a result I don’t think there is another band who sound like them. We Serve No One is the bands fifth full length and it’s every bit as filthy and violent as any of their albums.

Mar 312014

(In his 45th Synn Report, Andy Synn looks back at the discography of Denmark’s Horned Almighty.)

Recommended for fans of: Mayhem, Aura Noir, Goatwhore

Time for something beautifully filthy, brutally heavy, and just downright nasty.

Horned Almighty are a four-piece Satanic coven from Denmark who deal in a ragged, ugly form of Black Metal which melds raw thrash intensity with a Satyricon-esque sense of groove, and a primal punk-ish passion for perversion. There’s even a hint of Death Metal to the band’s sickening sonic synthesis – their gargantuan guitar tone and booming bass lines are delivered with the same crushing, tank-track aggression of early Obituary – while the bowel-shaking, gut-level heaviness of the band’s low-end rumble is pure Celtic Frost.

With four albums of malignant musical menace already under their collective belt, the band are currently in the studio laying down the foundations for their next full-length World of Tombs, so now seems like the perfect time to introduce you all to their brand of balls-to-the-wall blackened misanthropy.

Mar 312014

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the UK’s Ageless Oblivion, which was released March 17.)

It’s been some time since we’ve checked in with the boys from Ageless Oblivion. After rattling more than a few cages with their stellar debut Temples of Transcendent Evolution, the band have now returned with their sophomore release Penthos, expanding on and redefining their esoteric, atmospheric death metal delivery into something utterly malevolent.

Way back in August 2012 I had the (dubious) pleasure of interviewing AO guitarist Dave Porter, during which we touched upon the ongoing process for this album. His response was illuminating, stating that:

So far the songs have been a lot more focused on creating a mood and a vibe of tension/release. We’re focusing a bit more on melody… in the hypnotic or generally claustrophobic sense… we’re aiming to write the darkest and most vicious record we possibly can.”

And I’m more than happy to tell you that the band have done exactly what they set out to do. This is a phenomenal album, in the truest sense of the word.

Mar 302014

For those of you who, like us, were overjoyed at the 2013 comeback of West Virginia’s Byzantine, we bring you more joyous news. We received the following notification yesterday:

“According to Chris Ojeda, frontman for Byzantine, the band has begun writing material for album 5, due out early 2015. Ojeda states, ‘We have been playing some regional shows in support of our last album and, although it’s been a blast, we really need to buckle down and see how we can keep the momentum going from our last record. I was looking to putting out an EP with a few new songs, a few old songs rerecorded and maybe a cover to release this year but the rest of the guys were pushing hard for another full length of new music and they are right.’

“This album will be recorded late summer of this year and will be once again partially funded through Kickstarter. Next week, Byzantine will be releasing a very limited Vinyl release of their last album complete with brand new artwork. Pre-orders are still being taken through www.byzmerch.bigcartel.com.”

Early 2015 is a long way off, but it’s both a relief and an expectant pleasure to learn that Byzantine are forging ahead with another album. Their self-titled comeback was so very strong, and in case you still haven’t discovered it, listen to this:

Mar 302014

Greetings and salutations, and welcome to another edition of THAT’S METAL!, in which I assemble for your (potential) enjoyment images, videos, and occasionally news items that I think are metal, even though they’re not metal music. For this installment I have eight items.

ITEM ONE

Clark Little is 44 years old. He lives on the North Shore of Hawaii. He is a surf photographer. Armed with a Nikon D300 camera and a fish eye lens encased in a waterproof box, he goes where the surf is breaking and takes amazing photos, usually from inside the tube of the waves. His camera takes pictures at the rate of 9 to 10 frames per second, but he still doesn’t have long to make his shots before the waves bury him. The results are spectacular.

In the one above, Little captured a large wave while lying on dry sand as it broke to create a “shorebreak barrel”. Seconds after the shot, he was washed up onto the beach — his whole body covered in sand. In this next photo of a backlit wave on the West Shore of Oahu, the wind was blowing strongly offshore, creating a mist flying off the top of the wave.

Mar 302014

I’ve got some other goodies lined up for you on this day of rest, but while I finish messing with those I thought I’d bomb you to smithereens with some Bombs of Hades and then let Psychotic Gardening prune your vines.

BOMBS OF HADES

Bombs of Hades are one of the bands I included on a list of the best Swedish-style death metal being recorded by newer bands over the last five years, and if you haven’t heard them before you’re about to find out why they belong on that list. They have a new album on the way entitled Atomic Temples and yesterday they started streaming one of the new songs — “Omens” — and it’s great.

As many of you know, I have a long-standing love (some might call it a crippling weakness) for this kind of metal, despite the fact that it’s music that MUST fit a certain mold or it loses its identity. With other styles of metal, sub-genres can be spliced together, filigrees and embroidery can be added, experiments can be performed, growth and innovation can occur. But with this kind of old-school, d-beat-driven Swedish death metal, there’s simply a right way to do it or a wrong way. Bombs of Hades do it the right way. They keep the faith, they carry the torch, and it’s smokin’ hot.

Mar 292014

This is the second round-up of newly discovered music for this Saturday. One just wasn’t enough for what I found yesterday.

CONDUCTING FROM THE GRAVE

My comrade DGR rightly praised this Sacramento band’s self-titled 2013 album in a review last September. And how, we wondered, might the band follow up that monster of a disc? Well, now we have our answer: by covering a West Coast rap song from 1994 by Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. I’m not lying.

Actually, “Natural Born Killaz” is a pretty natural choice for a metal cover if you think about it. To quote The Font of All Human Knowledge: “The song has satanic and occult undertones and covers such subjects as mass murder, Sarah Connor from the Terminator films, Al Cowlings’ tight bond with O. J. Simpson, schizophrenia, Charles Manson, the attack on Reginald Denny during the Rodney King riots, strychnine poisoning, flagellation in Singapore, Jeffrey Dahmer, Kurt Cobain’s suicide and psilocybin mushrooms.”

Mar 292014

Yesterday was a bonanza for me, like Santa got lost on Christmas Eve and wound up in a roadhouse in Amarillo and pulled out of his blackout drunk only yesterday, just long enough to drop these three presents down my non-existant chimney while he puked his guts out all over the reindeer. Or something like that.

VALLENFYRE

I get all tingly in my nether bits thinking about Vallenfyre’s new album, Splinters. A Fragile King (2011) was such an auspicious debut, and it’s such welcome news that this all-star band decided to follow it up with another album, which is now scheduled for release by Century Media on May 12 in Europe and May 13 in North America. Yesterday brought the premiere of the album’s opening track, “Scabs”.

The combination of screeching feedback, massive guitar and bass tone, and crisp, rapid-fire percussion grabs you within the first half-minute — and the song just gets even better from then on. The writhing guitar melody, the truly titanic chugging, the cavernous vocals, the obliterating drumwork — it all combines to exert a powerful, primal appeal, and an atmosphere drenched in bleakness. Fantastic song.

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