My UK-based comrade Andy Synn alerted me to an event and an accompanying music compilation that he and I thought would be worth your attention. First, the event:
On September 26, 2015, a festival called Hordes of Belial will have its 6th Verse — its sixth installment since the festival began in 2010. It will take place at Beat Generator Live in Dundee, Scotland, and it will feature 15 extreme metal and hard rock bands on two stages.
To help promote the festival, its organizers (Critical Events) have released a “pay what you want” digital compilation featuring music by 13 of the bands set to appear this year. The music spans a range that includes thrash, death/sludge, prog, brutal death, doom, and other genres as well.
(Here’s the latest installment of KevinP’s series in which he runs down his list of the best releases from the preceding month.)
August was been absolutely stacked with quality releases, which caused me to make a few hard choices (i.e., cuts). A few albums worth your time that didn’t make the list were from: Krisiun, Ogotay, and Sources of I. Also, I went back and forth on the ranking between numbers 2-5, and really, depending on my mood, I could change them up, that’s how much I enjoyed all of them. This month’s numero uno though was head and shoulders above the rest, and released by a perennial NCS favorite.
5. Creeping – Revenant
This is the third full-length by this New Zealand trio and the first one I’ve heard by them. Why exactly are these kiwis not more well known? That kinda baffles me. Black doom with a healthy dose of death metal goodness thrown into the mixture. It’s grimy, it’s dark, and it’s just a visciously good album.
(We welcome back New Zealand-based metal writer and broadcaster Craig Hayes, who brings us this interview with Elise Gregg-Schofield of New Zealand’s Cephalopod, whose new EP was released this summer.)
Losing the primary songwriter from any band often means the demise of said band is sure to follow. However, although New Zealand metal band Cephalopod lost one of its key founding members a few years back, the group has ended up making a giant compositional leap on their new EP, A Bad Case of Unreality. The band’s last release, 2012’s Materialization, featured plenty of high-energy thrash mixed with vocalist Elise Gregg-Schofield’s howls. But when it came time to record A Bad Case of Unreality, Cephalopod clearly had a whole new set of goals.
Not only is A Bad Case of Unreality is more complex and adventurous release than Cephalopod’s previous EP, but Gregg-Schofield’s vocals are far more dynamic, too. Far from sounding like a band recovering from the exit of a key songwriter, A Bad Case of Unreality finds Cephalopod revelling in new energy and renewed enthusiasm. The EP sees Cephalopod inject intense layers of intricacy into ten-tonne pandemonium on “Ape Brain” and “Loose Teeth”.\, while “Blue and Righteous” and “A Bad Case of Unreality” dig into brutal technical mayhem like Cephalopod have never done before.
All up, A Bad Case of Unreality presents a band that’s free to experiment with a wider range of influences and creative inspirations. No Clean Singing recently caught up with Cephalopod vocalist Gregg-Schofield to discuss A Bad Case of Unreality, and those changes in the band’s sound and attitude.
(Wil Cifer reviews what may be the final studio album by a band named Iron Maiden.)
Iron Maiden is right behind Black Sabbath when it comes being one of the most revered classic metal bands of all time. This is for good reason, as they have maintained tons of integrity over the years, even if they did break down and use keyboards and made the poor choice of trying to replace Bruce with Blaze. Line-up changes and tweaks to nuances in their sound aside, in the bigger picture of their legacy, they have never really whored themselves out by appearing on American Idol, which sadly is something Rob Halford cannot say. So for me the bar is held really high when it comes to this band, and if you have any questions as to my devotion, all I need say is that I have The Number of the Beast album cover tattooed on my left forearm… what do you got? So I have been upping the Irons since 1984.
Going into this album, the trepidation I had in regard to how it would uphold their legacy was due to the Dickinson’s much publicized battle with throat cancer and how that would affect his voice. Then there was the cowbell-infected lead single off the album, “Speed of Light”, which might have quelled my fears of “will Bruce still have it” and replaced them with “will this album be filled with cheesy rock n roll”?
Mgła ‘s new album Exercises In Futility crept up upon us, like some stealthy night creature. One day, not long ago, there was simply an announcement out of nowhere that it was finished and would be released, and a song appeared. And then this weekend it pounced for all to see (and hear).
The album was to be streamed publicly for the first time on the day of its release, but then some asshole leaked it, and the band then promptly decided on Saturday to upload all of it for streaming on YouTube. The cause may have been deplorable, but the action was like a gift to those of us who relished their first two albums and have been impatient to hear this one.
I encourage you to read the lyrics before listening to the album. Apart from the insights they provide into the music itself, they are as fascinating, as well-formed, and as harrowing in their poetry as what you will hear.
One reason I’m perpetually far behind in my planned reviews is a tendency to unexpectedly and impulsively get caught up and carried away by new music. That’s what happened this afternoon.
I was just about to start writing something I’ve been meaning to write for a long time when I noticed that a friend had sent me a link to a stream of a forthcoming EP entitled Pedicabo Mundi by a band from Providence, Rhode Island, named Sangus. I decided to delay my other project just long enough to listen to the EP’s first song. I mean, that first track was less than three minutes long — how could that hurt?
Man, that first song hit me like a lightning bolt, and with all my nerve endings twitching like mad, I damned well couldn’t turn away, now could I? And so I listened to the rest of the EP, and then listened again, and then began flailing away at this write-up.
These THAT’S METAL! posts have become so irregular that I’ve taken to counting the weeks that separate them in order to quantify the extent of my shame: The last one was five weeks ago. It isn’t that I’m disinterested, it’s that they really do take me a long time to put together, and I’m usually caught up in the throes of metal music during free time on the weekends and often have trouble pulling myself away from listening and writing about that. But here we are again at last, with a large collection of images and videos that I think are metal even though they’re not music.
I’ve written about the corpse flower before in this series, but it’s worth a return visit today. The scientific name of these enormous plants, which have grown to heights of more than 10 feet, is Amorphophallus titanum. I can’t imagine why that name was chosen, can you?
The corpse flower can take eight to 20 years to initially bloom, and they may not bloom again for another seven to 10 years, so it’s kind of a big deal when it happens — and this month it has happened (and is happening) twice in U.S. botanical gardens.
1984 wasn’t as bad a year as George Orwell imagined. The Canadian death/thrash band Slaughter was formed in that year. In 1987 they released their only studio album, Strappado. They released additional new music the next year and then disbanded. As far as I can tell from my researches, they recorded nothing new in the studio until briefly re-forming in 1995-1996 to record a cover of “Dethroned Emperor” for a Celtic Frost tribute album. The first songs in this backward-looking post come from Strappado.
The next song in this post was recorded by the Finnish band Slugathor. The song was recommended by our friend SurgicalBrute. Interestingly, I thought of Slaughter only because the autocorrect feature in my word processor insisted on converting “Slugathor” to “Slaughter”. Sometimes autocorrect is your friend.
Anyway, Slugathor were born in Finland about 15 years after Slaughter, and you can certainly tell the difference that 15 years makes. The song that SurgicalBrute recommended, which is one hell of a song, is “The Smoke” and it comes from the band’s third and final album, Echoes From Beneath (2009).
It’s been an interesting Saturday here in blogville, and by “interesting” I mean “fucked up”. I knew I wouldn’t have much time to write today because of other personal obligations, and what I did write got wiped out, not once but twice, due to loss of power caused by a very blustery day in the area where I live.
The wind blows, branches come down on power lines, and everything dies. Of course, I wasn’t doing a good job saving my work before my computer expired, twice. So this post is very late and it isn’t as fulsome as I intended, but it will have to do. (Thanks to “M” for the tips on these two bands.)
I’m quickly recommending some music from two contrasting black metal bands. Nebula Orionis is the first of these. They are a duo from Tolyatti, Russia — instrumentalist M42 and vocalist/lyricist Hated Being.
(In this post Grant Skelton reviews the new album by Germany’s Ahab.)
I am someone who is relatively new to the Ahab fold. NCS reader blend77 recommended the band to me last year when I was just beginning my descent into the subterranean mausoleum of doom metal lore. Ahab’s 2006 debut The Call Of The Wretched Sea remains their crowning achievement in the minds of many. Nevertheless, I began my exploration of their music with The Giant, the band’s third album released in 2012. From there, I worked my way backward to their 2009 offering The Divinity Of Oceans. I finished with The Call…, which I mentioned above.
Ahab loyalists are aware of the band’s devotion to nautical and marine literature. But if you’re new to Ahab, then you might like to know that their albums are each based on books relating to the ocean. As a writer, this fact immediately enticed me about the band’s music. You see, sometimes metal is like a Z-grade horror film. Sometimes you just want to lay back on your couch, turn on the television, and zone out. You’ve got your trusty go-to food-and-beverage combo while you’re enamored by Transdimensional Transgendered Zombies From Planet Squiddleboxtoastmeat or some other nugget of modern cinematic camp. Plenty of metal bands cater to that particular appetite and I’ve enjoyed my share.
But Ahab needs to be absorbed and mulled over. You certainly can listen to them passively as background noise. But to do so results in an insipid listening experience. That would cause you to miss out on all that Ahab have to offer, particularly on their new album The Boats Of The Glen Carrig. It is an album that must be plunged into headfirst without hesitation. You must follow them on their descent into aquatic oblivion, much like the fate of their namesake. The further down you go, the less you will see. The less you see, the more you will find.