Jul 082014

(DGR wrote this review of the new album by Origin.)

Origin are a band who have some miles on them. In my case, they landed on my radar ‘long about the time Headbangers Ball gave their video a spin back in 2008 — I think? — and since then I’ve attempted to keep my eyes on them. However, the group stick to a pretty solid new-album-every-three-years schedule, so it wasn’t until 2011 that I got to really swoop into the whole zeitgeist of fandom with them after the release of Entity. With Entity, Origin really planted both feet on the ground as one of the bands who were going to take the concept of tech-death and push it to its very limits. Instrumentally, the whole album was a frightening affair — filled with a combination of technical pyrotechnics and insane speed capable of leaving listeners slack-jawed. That the album was essentially a three-man affair made the whole thing even more insane.

The issue with that album, though, is that for all its incredible playing and stunning technicality — believe me, it was insanely challenging from the first note of the over-the-top “Expulsion Of Fury” — it became something of a morass. You couldn’t really tell which song was which after a while, as one wall of notes after another came crashing down around you. Part of that could be written off, because it feels like the very purpose that drives Origin’s existence: to be the “most”. If they were going to go a full blown tech-death route in 2011, then Entity was going to be the “most” tech-death you could pack into one disc, and the result was a dense obsidian slab of it.

That’s why, with Entity as background, I became so interested three years later about Origin’s new disc Omnipresent. Where would the band going after something like Entity? Could they line up with earlier releases? Could they match Antithesis and its endless replay back in the Headbangers Ball 2.0 days on MTV2? All of these questions were valid, plus you now have the presence of a dedicated vocalist within the band. Surprisingly enough, on Omnipresent, Origin reign it in a bit . The stunning guitar playing, progressive writing, and insanely technical aspect of the band are all still present, but now you can actually distinguish just what the hell is going on, and in that sense Origin have created some of their most enjoyable music to date.

Jul 082014

Three years have passed since the release of Schwarzpfad, the last studio album by Ukraine’s Kroda, which remains one of my all-time favorite pagan/black metal albums. The year 2012 brought us a live album (Live Under Hexenhammer: Heil Ragnarok!) and last year Kroda released a compilation (Varulven) that included several departures in style, including two cover songs, but I’m still feeling a yearning for an album-length work of new songs. It appears my wish will be fulfilled.

I’ve been in contact with Kroda’s Eisenslav, and he has disclosed that a new full-length album is being created, under the title GinnungaGap-GinnungaGaldr-GinnungaKaos. As for the meaning of the title, GinnungaGap is the name in Nordic mythology of the vast primordial abyss from which the cosmos was created and into which it will fall again at the time of Ragnarok — the source of runes and magic, the source of wisdom and titans, and at the same time the source of evil and chaos. An epic name for what we hope will be an epic album.

Eisenslav was also good enough to share with me three promo tracks, which I have permission to share with you. These are untitled at this point and without vocals — and when the album recording begins, the music will be completely re-recorded with live drums, vocals, and traditional instruments. But to these ears they sound really good already. The music is soul-stirring and sweeping, both heavy and atmospheric (especially in an almost meditative passage in the third track), with memorable melodies and surging power.

Jul 072014

Collected here are assorted news items and new music that I like to share, beginning with breaking news about… US!


A year and a half ago we launched NO CLEAN SINGING’s very own Bandcamp page and released our first compilation of music in cooperation with Grind To Death. The title was The Only Good Tory and it featured 46 tracks  from 46 UK bands on the cutting edge of grind, powerviolence, harsh crust, and fast core. Actually, I don’t know why I’m writing in the past tense because that compilation is STILL available on Bandcamp and it’s still free.

And now, a year and a half later, we’re about to do it again. Once again, the lion’s share of the work has been done by Alex Layzell, the man behind Grind To Death and Kydoimas Records — whose releases can be found here. This new compilation is entitled HOLD FAST! and features artwork by Mark Rennie, which you can gaze upon at the top of this post. It includes 20 tracks by 20 kickass bands.

The compilation will become available for FREE download tomorrow on our Bandcamp page, and it will come with a downloadable zine that in itself is a work of art (more details about that tomorrow). Later, the comp will become available on tape with the zine included in hard-copy form.  Here’s the track list:

Jul 072014

Here are two North American tours announced this morning that are worth mentioning.


In our first post this morning I included a report from Metal Hammer based on an interview with Gojira’s frontman Joe Duplantier that the Gojira would be touring with Mastodon this October. There were no further details then, but there are now.

In addition to the pairing of Mastodon and Gojira, the tour will also include Norway’s Kvelertak and it will include dates in both the U.S. and Canada. A pre-sale for tickets and a limited number of VIP packages will become available this Wednesday, July 9, at 10 a.m. local venue time. General sales will begin on July 11.

Here’s the schedule (sadly for me, they’re skipping Seattle this time):

Jul 072014

Boston’s Fórn hit our radar screen about a week ago when Invisible Oranges premiered “Dweller on the Threshold”, the first advance track from the band’s forthcoming new EP, The Departure of Consciousness. I’m still trying to recover from that obliterating experience; the recovery has taken longer than originally predicted because just when I feel about ready to get out of bed, I go back and listen to the song again. I’m going to be bed-ridden for a lot longer, because I’ve also been listening to a second song from the EP, which we have the good fortune of sharing with you today in this premiere.

The song you’re about to hear is “Suffering In the Eternal Void”. Chiming like bells, the slow, melancholy melody at the song’s beginning catches hold very quickly. Five or six minutes of that could prove to be thoroughly hypnotizing. But just as the music has succeeded in gently pulling you into its embrace, it then  tightens its grip and drags you bodily into a pit of deep, suffocating doom. That seductive melody becomes a crushingly heavy dirge, though no less seductive — this misery is mesmerizing. And the vocals, they sound like sulphuric acid eating through steel, or like some shrieking poltergeist that has become your companion for this slow fall into the void.

Yet another powerhouse song from a band whose name deserves to be spread like a plague.

Jul 072014

I spotted some news items over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth sharing, and the following four happened to all come from France, so I’m bundling them together here. There’s some new music at the end, too.


According to a brief interview with Joe Duplantier backstage at the Sonisphere festival reported by Metal Hammer yesterday, Gojira will be embarking on a tour with Mastodon in October and will then be going straight into the studio to begin recording their sixth album for release in 2015. To listen to the audio of the brief interview, go here.

UPDATE: The Mastodon-Gojira North American tour has now been confirmed. Norway’s Kvelertak will also be on the tour, and the schedule can be found here.

And then, about an hour ago, Gojira began streaming a video on YouTube called “Summer Fest Part 1″ with clips from some of their European festival appearances so far this summer, set to some slow, quasi-psychedelic instrumental music. Watch that next.

Jul 062014


The new album by Spectral Lore (III) has more facets than a passion-cut diamond, and it shines just as brilliantly. So much care and craftsmanship have been devoted to its creation that it’s one of those rare metal albums that rises to the level of a work of art — except it’s only partially a metal album. And therein lies much of its appeal.

With a run-time of almost 90 minutes, it’s the longest album I’ve listened to in years, which is one reason why this review comes later than I had originally planned. It’s also not an album that can be fully appreciated by listening to a track here and a track there, as time permits. It’s best heard as a whole (at least as I hear it — I have no inside knowledge about the artist’s intentions). Each song brings its own rich rewards individually — indeed, most songs are themselves dramatic sagas in sound — but when you listen without interruption from start to finish, you feel as if you’ve discovered secrets hidden from the eyes we use to observe our daily lives, as if the surface layers of our routine existence are being peeled back to reveal something more profound. The music seeks transcendence, an escape from the crushing weight of the world and its manifold tyrannies, and it comes very close to finding it.

The album is divided into two parts, denominated “Singularity” and “Eternity”, with four songs in Part I and three in Part II. With the exception of the album’s first song “Omphalos” (which is “only” 7 1/2 minutes long), the individual pieces are epic-length works ranging from roughly 11 minutes to more than 16.

Both within and across the songs, the music ranges from the vast and panoramic to the introspective and intimate. It moves from passages of disorienting dissonance to explosions of well-choregraphed mayhem, from warlike gallops to moments of shining benevolence and the glow of hopefulness. But whether the music is storming like a maelstrom, with blasting drums and ravaging waves of guitar distortion, or shimmering like a sun-lit stream, it’s almost always dense and richly textured, often to the point of being senses-flooding in the richness of its construction.

Jul 062014

I hang my head in shame: Almost two whole months have passed since my last THAT’S METAL! post. Even by my own lazy standards, that’s pretty terrible. I have excuses, but they’re not very good ones. I’ll just keep them to myself and get on with it.

Because so much time has passed and I’ve collected so many items, this will be a super-sized edition. And if you’re stumbling into this series for the first time, it’s devoted to images, videos, and news items that I think are metal even though they’re not metal music.


As usual, we begin with a photo. Actually, the first six items in this collection involve photos. The first one is above. It was taken by Russian photographer Denis Budko inside a cave near the Mutnovsky volcano in Kamchatka, Russia. The unusual visual patterns were created as snow inside the rock tunnel melted. Here are a couple more (and still more images can be viewed at Neatorama, which is where I found them). Fire + ice = metal.


Jul 062014


The news in this post is guaranteed to elicit a chorus of FUCK YEAHs from old farts like me, as well as younger farts who know what’s up: it appears that both Faith No More and Pink Floyd are recording new music.


On Friday, July 4, the reactivated Faith No More performed live at Hyde Park in London, wearing the garb of priests. According to eye-witnesses, they played two new songs, one at the conclusion of their regular set (right after “Ashes To Ashes”) and a second at the end of their two-song encore (the first of which was “We Care A Lot”).

A variety of fan-filmed videos have surfaced, highlighting the new songs. Most of the videos aren’t very good, but I’ve gathered up the ones I’ve seen so far and have embedded them after the jump.

It stands to reason that if Faith No More are playing new songs, they will soon be recording new songs. Am I right? Yes, I am right.

More details can be found here and here.

Jul 052014

Happy Fourth of July Hangover Day. Hope none of you American readers lost any fingers in a gunpowder accident, put out an eye with an errant sparkler, or lit off a bottle rocket in your ass. I have some news items and new metal for you that I spotted over the least 24 hours. This is a big collection, but what else have you got to do?


Striker are from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Metal Archives says they are a power metal band. This means the odds are very high that I won’t be able to stand their music. However, the cover art for their new album City of Gold is so goddamned awesome that I may be forced to listen to at least one song whenever the first advance track appears. You can click the image above to view a larger version of the piece, which is by one of my favorite metal artists, Berlin-based Eliran Kantor.

The album is due from Napalm Records on September 9 in North America (Aug 29 in Europe, September 1 in the UK). If anyone can give me a reason to bury my prejudices and listen to a Striker song, I will try to keep an open mind.

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