Islander

Feb 052016

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(KevinP reviews two Florida shows this week by Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris as part of their in-progress U.S. tour.)

I always bemoan the fact that Florida gets the shaft when it comes to tours, whether it’s from US bands or groups from the rest of the world. So when Ne Obliviscaris announced they were coming to Florida, for not 1 but 2 shows, I was tickled pink (to say the least).

Anyone who has known me for more than 5 seconds is aware I have no interest in Butcher Babies or Cradle of Filth, but hey, you can’t really expect a new band on their first US tour flying over from Australia to do a headline jaunt right off the bat.

Upon further inspection of the tour dates, there was a gap in the schedule, conveniently due to the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise leaving out of Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, February 4th, and returning on Monday, February 8th.

Feb 052016

NCS Best of 2015 graphic

 

(Year-end lists… you just can’t kill em’. But Andy Synn has made a habit of crowning our annual LISTMANIA series with one final offering — his selection of the last year’s top songs — and this year is no different.)

Did you REALLY think I was done with lists? Are you really that naive? Oh, how foolish are those who are most willing to be.. umm… fooled. Or something.

Yes, it’s no secret I enjoy making lists, and as such have a particular fondness for the end-of-year period here at NCS, not just because it lets me indulge my numero-erotic list-making proclivities in full (and in public, no less) but also because I sincerely enjoy reading and debating all the other lists we publish and reference and, in the process, discovering bands I’d otherwise overlooked.

The hardest list to pull together though is the list of my favourite songs of the year. Not because of any hard-fought pretence of objectivity (there’s none of that here), but because there’s simply so many options to choose from, with my initial list coming in at well over 100 entries, each drawn from albums across the length and breadth of my Great/Good/Disappointing lists of last year.

But, finally… finally… I managed to whittle it down to the ten selections you’re about to encounter.

I’m not suggesting these are the definitive “Best” songs of the year by any means, they’re just ten tracks which have burrowed their way under my skin and into my brain the deepest.

So, without further ado…

Feb 052016

Horrified Of Despair artwork

 

The UK quartet Horrified released an impressive debut album in 2014 by the name of Descent Into Putridity. As the album’s name implies, the music was the kind of nasty, primal death metal that paid its respects to the likes of Autopsy and Pestilence. They’ve now completed work on a second full-length entitled Of Despair, which was mastered by Damian Herring (Horrendous) at Subterranean Watchtower Studios and will be released by Stormspell Records on March 25.

As you’re about to hear (and as you might even guess from the style of the album’s eye-catching cover art), the band have broadened their musical horizons since their debut, taking inspiration from such Scandinavian greats as Dissection, Unanimated, and Sacramentum.

The band’s vocalist/guitarist Dan Alderson described the band’s musical approach for the new album in this way:

Feb 052016

Beastwars 2016

 

This week’s flood of scintillating new metal hasn’t crested yet. The last 24 hours brought even more electrifying new songs. I’ve collected five of them here for your listening pleasure.

BEASTWARS

I’m afraid I’ve reached a slavish level of devotion to the music of New Zealand’s Beastwars. I couldn’t be happier that 2016 will bring us a new album. The new one is entitled The Death Of All Things, and it’s the last installment in the post-apocalyptic trilogy the band have been constructing through their music.

Feb 052016

Ketzer-Starless

 

(Wil Cifer reviews the new album by Germany’s Ketzer.)

This German band’s third full-length continues to defy genres. It varies on a song-by-song basis as to what shade of darkness these guys are bringing. From the more blackened death metal roar of riffage that is “When Milk Runs Dry” to the punk influence permeating the thrashy moments of almost black ‘n’ roll. It’s the attention to detail and aversion to following a formula that elevates this album above the dozens of other metal releases still sitting in my in-box. The solos are very melodic and add to the song rather than just litter them with shredding.

Ketzer are most often thought of as a black metal/thrash hybrid, though their bassist plays a much larger role in their sound than the bulk of black metal bands. At times this creates almost a groove without conforming to mainstream metal.

Feb 042016

Gorod-A Maze of Recycled Creeds

 

Yes, we are now into February and this list isn’t finished yet. I suppose I really ought to give serious thought to wrapping it up, but I have sooo many more attractive candidates still sitting in front of me. Maybe this weekend I can force myself to assemble the final tracks and reach a conclusion next week.  If you have any strength and willpower that I could rent for cheap, let me know.  I promise I’ll give ’em back on Monday.

GOROD

In his review of Gorod’s latest album, Andy Synn declared that “A Maze of Recycled Creeds is right up there with the best the band have produced… and it brings that memorable weirdness factor back into the band’s music with gusto,” helping “to give the album a brash and bold sense of character that makes it stand out from the crowd.” I certainly concur. I can also see the sense in the words Andy chose when he characterized the song I’ve chosen for this list as a “sexy jazz-prog shimmy” with “nimble, furiously funkified Tech-Death riff work”.

Feb 042016

Tombs-All Empires Fall

 

This is called Part 2 because it follows another round-up that I posted on Tuesday. I intended to post this second half either later that same day or yesterday, but my fucking day job shoved those plans aside without so much as an “Excuse me, asshole”.

In the meantime, of course, I found more stuff that got me excited, making this post longer than originally planned and also providing fodder for a further follow-on post. Barring another rude interruption, I’m hoping to get that ready for tomorrow (it might come under the heading “Shades of Black“). As for the length of this one, just bookmark the motherfucker and make your way through it as time permits. You really ought to sample everything here.

TOMBS

This is one of the songs that reared its head after I had originally planned to post this collection. Actually, it didn’t just rear its head — it kicked down the door, busted up the furniture, and then set the place on fire.

Feb 042016

Mantar-Ode To the Flame

 

Those who set their clocks by the appearance of our first morning posts are going to be late all day today, because we’re getting a late start on this Thursday. In fact, I’m still not finished with what I had planned for our first post. But to tide us over until I’m finished, I have something else of great interest to share:

The German band Mantar have completed a new album named Ode To the Flame that will be released by their new label Nuclear Blast on April 15. As you can see, they decided to go in a very simple direction with the cover art, especially by comparison with the eye-catching and indelibly memorable cover art for their debut album Death By Burning. They do have an explanation for that:

Feb 032016

Sacrilegium-Anima Lucifera

 

Twenty years is a long time between albums. In such a span of time, musicians grow and mature as people, and inevitably the lives they’ve lived and the changes in their thinking will work their way into their music. That doesn’t mean the history no longer matters — for some bands it’s still a living, breathing part of who they are now, as people and musicians.

Twenty years ago the Polish black metal band Sacrilegium released their debut album Wicher, and on March 18 of this year, Pagan Records will release their second full-length, Anima Lucifera — a title that refers to a line from a poem by Leopold Staff (excerpts of which have also been used in the new Sacrilegium tracks). Leaving aside a single from the album that appeared last year (“Angelus“), it’s the first new music from the band since about 1999.

What we have for you today is a sign of where Sacrilegium stand today, a reflection of their past and their present, as we premiere a song from the album called “Venomous Spell of Fate“.

Feb 032016

Altarage-NIHL

 

Altarage come from Bilbao in the Basque Country of Spain, a region of the country with a rich and fascinating history. Metal-Archives lists 138 active metal bands from the Basque Country, including such names as Virulency, Cerebral Effusion, Extirpation, Horn of the Rhino, The Rodeo Idiot Engine, and Knives — to name a few I know of and have written about. But I don’t know of any who sound like Altarage. And even when you leave that land far behind and lift your eyes to farther horizons, Altarage still stand out.

Their debut 7″ EP, MMXV, was released by Iron Bonehead last September, and even at only two songs long, it was an impressively powerful eye-opener. To sum up what I thought about it when I heard it last summer: “This is primitive, poisonous, electrifying music from a band that’s now squarely on my radar screen for the future.” We didn’t have to wait long for more. In just a few weeks, Iron Bonehead will be releasing the band’s debut album, NIHL, and we now have a track from the album named “Batherex” that embraces world-eating destruction with a voracious hunger.

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