Islander

Apr 162014

As anyone who has spent any time at our site well knows, I get enthusiastic about new musical discoveries on almost a daily basis, but rarely am I left pop-eyed and gape-mouthed in genuine wonder at a band’s achievements. But that’s what happened when I heard the two songs that we have the privilege of premiering today. And it didn’t happen just once — it has happened every time I’ve heard this music (I’ve heard one more song from the same album — and the same thing happened when I heard that one).

The band are from Belarus and their name is Serdce (a word that means “heart” in English). They released three albums between 2003 and 2009, and their fourth — entitled Timelessness — will be released for the first time by the cult Finnish label Blood Music this June. The album includes 10 songs, and what we have for you today are the 8th and 9th tracks — “Quasar” and “Newborn” — joined together as a single stream.

Apr 162014

(Austin Weber reviews the new album by a band we’ve been following for a long time — Canada’s Archspire.)

When Archspire burst out of nowhere with All Shall Align in 2012, it set a new benchmark for blazing extreme death metal, following in the footsteps of previous speed-, technicality-, and songwriting-pushers such as Cryptopsy and stretching the boundaries of death metal to a place that seemed to make a surprising number of people uncomfortable. Regardless, they impressed a lot of people, and their follow-up, The Lucid Collective, has been greatly anticipated. It certainly delivers, acting as a dream of death mirroring our often collective sleepwalking through existence.

Archspire have always flashed glimpses of a love for Origin and Spawn Of Possession, but they have also made the style their own, giving it brutal legs with which to stand and stomp angrily, and managing to give each track its own unique flow and structure. If Brain Drill was Origin-influenced death metal done to excess (in the opinion of some people), then arguably Archspire are a band who have learned all the things that Origin did right, while not being a rip-off of them at all.

An album like The Lucid Collective is not merely music, but a testament to the human will and ability to achieve incredible and nearly inhuman things through hard work, determination, and focus. Every member of the band performs at an astounding level, not in an effort to impress the listeners with vapid showboating, but with a purpose. Collectively, Archspire form an interlocking mass of arresting malevolence that looms large over the shredscapes and techdreams of noodlers everywhere.

Apr 162014

Agalloch – photo by Veleda Thorsson

These are things I noticed over the last 24 hours that I thought you might want to notice as well.

AGALLOCH

When I found out that Agalloch was going to play a special show at Highline in Seattle on May 17 with YOB and Wounded Giant, I didn’t crow about it on our site. I can be pretty boorish when I want to be, and even when I’m not trying to be, but even I recognized it would be a dick move to express my joy about something I could see but the vast majority of our readers couldn’t. But now, finally, Agalloch has announced an official tour — Serpens In Culmination.

No doubt, the news will still be painful to fans who aren’t within reach of one of the stops, especially people who are also fans of Obsidian Tongue, Vex, and Jex Thoth, because those bands are also appearing at select stops on this tour. But on balance I feel okay about posting this news. Here’s the first part of the schedule, as announced late yesterday by Agalloch and Profound Lore:

Apr 152014

Little more than two weeks ago I discovered the existence of Psychotic Gardening — not the wildly popular pastime in many mental institutions but the band from Winnipeg, Canada. The occasion was the band’s release of a music video for their staggeringly heavy cover of Death’s “Open Casket” from the Leprosy album — and I frothed at the mouth about how good I thought it was.

One thing led to another, and here we are premiering an original Psychotic Gardening song named “Origin of the Infection”. Like the “Open Casket” cover, it will appear on the band’s forthcoming album Hymnosis, which is due for release on May 13.

Based on the interesting spin this band put on “Open Casket”, you could make an educated guess that they would be talented songwriters as well as skilled performers, but “Origin of the Infection” removes the guesswork.

Apr 152014

Metal is such a diverse genre of music that you would need an enormous number of axes to diagram the spectra of its manifold characteristics (I’m using “axes” as the plural of “axis”, not that electrified thing you use to shred up a storm of notes or the implements you use to cleave the skulls of your enemies). On one of these axes I imagine two extremes at either end:

At one end there’s deeply somber, glacially paced atmospheric music, with few if any riffs and a pall of gloom and grief hanging heavy like a fog. On the other end — well, that’s where you’ll find Rocket Propelled Chainsaws: the place where you party ’til you vomit and mosh ’til everyone’s on their way to the emergency room with sirens screaming.

I found out about this band because it includes guitarist Sean Corkum, who’s also in a band I’ve written before named Eldritch Flamethrower. Obviously, either Sean hangs out with people who’ve got a gift for coming up with awesome band names or he’s got the gift. Either way, Eldritch Flamethrower and Rocket Propelled Chainsaws are mighty fine names.

Apr 142014

You might think that having posted 23 very recent song and video premieres over the weekend (here and here), I’d be fresh out of new material to toss your way. But you would be wrong.  Here are four more that surfaced over the last 48 hours that I’ve been enjoying, and the music is so varied — including two exceptions to our Rule — that I’m betting you’ll find something to like as well.

KAMPFAR

As I previously reported, on May 27 in NorthAm (and May 23 in Euope) Season of Mist plans to release a special 2-disc compilation entitled One And All, Together, For Home. The project was initiated by Drudkh’s  Roman Sayenko and it will consist of 17 songs by eight excellent bands performing traditional song interpretations from their native countries, cover versions of folk songs, or the use of themes and melodies from their musical heritages in original compositions. All of the songs will appear exclusively on this release.

I’ve already streamed the track by Primodial (here) and today I bring you the song contributed by Norway’s Kampfar.

The song is called ”En Hymne Til Urd” (A Hymn for Earth)”. Here’s the band’s explanation about the song:

Apr 142014

This morning I saw a positive Facebook mention about this band by Patrick Bruss (Crypticus), who knows a thing or two about old school death metal. Sentience is a one-man death metal band from Woodland Park, New Jersey, formed only this year by guitarist/vocalist Matt Moliti (ex-Dark Empire). He has recorded a three-song demo entitled Beyond the Curse of Death — and here’s what really caught my attention: It was mastered by the legendary Dan Swanö, who had this to say about the music:

“One of the best SweDeath projects I have come across in the last 20 years. The perfect blend of all the highlights from the Swedish scene from 89 to 91. Truly awesome!”

I mean, shit, that’s some very high praise, given the source! And who am I to disagree with someone like Dan Swanö when it comes to old-school SweDeath? And in fact, I don’t disagree at all.

Apr 142014

(DGR reviews the new second album from Canada’s Unsacred Seed.)

Recently I’ve found myself playing with the idea of opening my reviews and articles with a description of how I found each band. Putting it politely, I’m probably a total idiot for doing so, yet I feel like I’m upholding some sort of noble cause by showing that sites like this one don’t entirely rely on whatever PR an agency leaves on our doorstep. Not to say that it doesn’t help to have such assistance, if not just to keep us from going out in public and looking like fools — but I do believe that by showing that there are other paths to getting noticed, perhaps it will demonstrate that putting a little faith in the universe and casting yourself out there can get you noticed. If not, at the very least it makes the process feel a little less “monied”. Maybe it’s just a sense that surfing the net to try and find music is a worthwhile and rewarding venture, one that doesn’t depend on just letting folks shovel stuff in front of you — although, come to think of it, that notion pretty much undermines the purpose of a site such as this.

In the case of Unsacred Seed, however, I cannot remember for the life of me how I found them. I think it may have been a random forum discovery, one of the many devoted to archiving much of what was released in 2013, where one of the band members was sharing his own work — their debut disc for “name your own price”. Thus, I wound up following the band, not only out of personal curiosity but also because I enjoyed that debut disc quite a bit. When I heard they had a followup in the works, that made things more exciting.

Before we really get to the meat of this meal, allow me to state that there are three things that I absolutely love about Canada’s Unsacred Seed:

Apr 142014

Belgium’s Aborted will be delivering their new monstrosity Necrotic Manifesto via Century Media on April 28 in Europe and April 29 in North America (available for pre-order here). Last month we featured the album’s title track, and today the band unveiled a lyric video for yet another song — “Coffin Upon Coffin”.

The song delivers flensing riff flurries and brutish hammering, machine-gun percussion and a blistering solo, multisyllabic linguistics and vocal excretions that will leave scars on tender skin. The video also makes Par Olofsson’s  grisly cover art come to life.

In other Aborted news, the band have been uploading the results of a horrific photoshoot to Facebook, and after you listen to the new song after the jump, you can gaze upon their modified visages, which strangely seem like fitting improvements upon the faces that nature gave them.

Apr 142014

Sólstafir – photo by Gediminas Bartuška

(In this post Andy Synn voices his opinion about the most important unifying factor in all great metal.)

Ok, so, hyperbolic title aside, this is an issue I’ve been thinking about for some time.

The question of why.

Why I love the sound and fury of metal. Why I love certain bands and not others. Why I love this genre, over any other. What it is, beneath all the noise and chaos and bloody-minded catharsis, that truly connects with me.

In many ways it’s something instinctive. Or at least it feels that way. Sometimes it seems like there’s no rhyme or reason behind it. Yet it’s also something that seems ripe for analysis and self-reflection. Something that says just as much about me as it does about metal.

So, in pseudo-analytical fashion, I’ve been attempting to identify some sort of underlying factor that contributes to my love of metal as a whole. Something that explains my love of the genre in its varying forms, from the live performance to the recorded art, and something which explains why it stimulates me not only to wax lyrical about the genre here at NCS but also to create lyrically in two bands of my own.

Something vital.

Something fundamental.

And that something is simple.

Passion.

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