Islander

Jan 222015

Lupus Lounge (a division of Prophecy Productions) has announced that on February 27 in Europe and March 3 in North America it will release the new album by Germany’s HelrunarNiederkunfft. Today we bring you not only a premiere of one of the new songs — “Devils, Devils Everywhere” — but also a chance to download the song for free.

The new album marks a change for Helrunar, both in their lyrical focus and in their sound. Conceptually, the new album addresses historical subjects, described as the narrative of “European people on the threshold between the Middle Ages and modern times, surrounded by superstition and fear, torn between religion and the Enlightenment”.

Musically, the Helrunar duo have also branched out from their pagan black metal roots, and “Devils, Devils Everywhere” is a good introduction to the way in which they have incorporated new elements.

Jan 222015

quilts made of metal shirts by Ben Venom

(Here’s an opinion piece by Andy Synn.)

It seems like we often (and deservedly) praise bands for having a multitude of influences, for having a multi-faceted and varied sound, for achieving synthesis of diverse and disparate elements and using them to create a unique core identity for themselves. Heck, one of the key ways (although far from the only way) in which Metal progresses is by incorporating new sounds and influences, new styles, into the core genre, so it’s not surprising that we often laud those bands who bring something new, something fresh and exciting to the table.

After all, lack of breadth and variety in a band’s influences often does tend to lead to repetition and stagnation. If your band is happy to describe yourselves as “like Meshuggah” for example, then it’s odds-on that you’re probably just going to sound like a lesser-copy of the Swedish cybernauts. Just as if you’re a Thrash band and your only influences are other Thrash bands – and usually that means going back to the same tapped-out well as every other band – it becomes less and less likely that you’ll be pushing the genre forward, rather than simply rehashing or reworking what’s gone before (not, let me add, that there’s always anything intrinsically wrong with that).

Yet we also have to be careful about praising bands with too many influences wholesale. It’s certainly possible for bands to go overboard with their disparate influences and styles, and end up a directionless mish-mash of bits and pieces of other bands, which never really cohere into a greater whole.

But that’s not the only potential problem bands face when trying to weave together their influences and inspirations…

Jan 212015

 

(Grant Skelton provided these confessions.)

(Author’s Note: This article is not intended to be persuasive. It was written neither in support of filesharing nor against it. Instead, it recalls my experiences with filesharing and how those experiences shaped my consumption of music as both an art and a product.)

My family bought our first computer in 1998. I was 13. We had AOL 3.0 (You’ve got mail!). I spent most of my time on the PC playing games that a person my age probably had no business playing. Educational games like Postal, Doom, Blood, and Duke Nukem 3D kept me from completing many a homework assignment. Chat rooms were another productive and beneficial investment of one’s time.

I was still a burgeoning music fan in those days. My CD collection was sparse, and my ears were still very conditioned to ’90s grunge rock provided by local radio stations. I genuinely liked grunge, and I still do. But I always wanted something… more from my music. I wanted something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I wanted the grunge to be angrier, faster, meaner. I wanted music with more aggression. Something with fire and venom.

Jan 212015

 

(Austin Weber introduces our premiere of a new song by the Czech metal band Heaving Earth.)

The Czech Republic has been churning out plenty of killer metal bands for a long time now. One can only speculate as to why, but that’s not really pertinent, so let’s move along. I thought that I had explored every nook and cranny of their metal scene, and yet alas, I somehow entirely missed out on Heaving Earth. It only took one early-released song sent to my inbox from a PR firm,“Doomed Before Inception”, to hook me in and become eager for their soon-to-be-released record, Denouncing The Holy Throne.

While their band name comes from the Morbid Angel song of the same name, and the band is indeed certainly steeped in early death metal influences, they come across with a sound all their own. Boatloads of killer serrated riffs are an integral part of the Heaving Earth experience, yet it’s their subtly erratic nature, off-kilter hairpin turns, and mountain-sized heaviness that keeps me coming back. That, and the way they come across as very dark and foreboding, very much in the mood and feeling that some of the most fucked-up and disturbing black metal channel so well.

Jan 212015


Brothers of the Sonic Cloth

 

I’ve commented before about the enormous flood of stream premieres, new album announcements, label signings, and other metal news that has been unleashed since the beginning of the year. But yesterday may have reached new heights of ridiculousness in terms of the number of noteworthy things I saw in a single day.

In fact, yesterday brought so damned much cool stuff that I’d either have to write a half-dozen posts or do what I’m doing here instead — just funneling streams, links, artwork, and news blurbs your way with a minimum of commentary. The bands are presented in alphabetical order — all 18 of them. In most cases, you can enlarge the cover art and photos by clicking on the images in this post.

Jan 202015

We now come to Part 23 of our list of 2014′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here.

In most of the installments of this list, I’ve tried to pair songs together that have something in common. Not today. Not only are these two songs unlike each other, they’re both unlike anything else I’ve selected for this list so far. But they’re both damned infectious, so there’s that.

TREPALIUM

When I first saw and heard Trepalium’s video for a single named “Moonshine Limbo” off their 2014 EP Voodoo Moonshine, I got the biggest grin on my face.  It still makes me smile — and want to jump! — even when I’m in the midst of a truly shitty day.

Jan 202015

 

(I think DGR has reviewed every release by Chicago’s Mechina. They released a new album this month, and like the sun rising in the East and setting in the West, DGR now reviews it.)

Mechina are a band whose growth has been one of the most interesting to watch over the past few years. Few bands have been quite as ambitious as they have been with their music. Few have completely ignored whether or not they were going to be successful, and just went big anyway, but that is exactly what Mechina have done during their time as artists.

Starting out as a full band before eventually becoming the studio project of a couple of producers in the Chicago area, Mechina have already banged out a whole arc of albums — a conceptual trilogy told over three full discs and a smattering of singles — that have archived a whole universe constantly at war, ending with planets left barren and whole populations destroyed, played out over the soundtrack of an industrial/symphonic death band with a taste for eight-and-up-string poly-rhythmic guitar playing.

Over time, the band’s production has grown leaps and bounds, and as they’ve adopted characters into their story and adapted a new vocalist into the fold, they’ve created enough lore in their universe that someone actually took the time out of their day to try and establish a wiki site to keep track of all of it, one that I’ve already used liberally. While we haven’t quite hit Bal-Sagoth levels of craziness, I imagine Mechina could be reaching that point soon enough with their sci-fi, planet-destroying antics.

Jan 202015

 

(KevinP turns in another edition of his new NCS interview series, Get To the Point, and in this installment he talks with Nikos Panagiotopoulos, bass player for the Greek bands Universe217 and Lunatic Medlar.)

 

K: I was all set with my first question being “hey you had a busy 2014 with the Universe217 Ease EP & Lunatic Medlar’s debut album, Finely Tuned Machine, then I noticed the latter was in 2013. Sooo, I guess, I’ll go with “what are your plans for 2015″?

N: Universe217 will do a 4-way split with some good friends (Agnes vein-Allochiria-Hedvika) and also planning on finishing our next LP (which we have already started recording). And maybe some re-releases from our earlier material.
As for gigs, we are hoping for some European dates. We have almost finished our Greek tour for our EP Ease and our label, Van Records, already booked us for their Acherontic Arts Fest this coming May.

 

K: The songs for the 4-way split and for the upcoming full-length, can you give us some idea what to expect based on your prior material?

N: It’s more minimal/monolithic and has a colder vibe. We didn’t do it on purpose but I think we have less of that Balkan eastern element of our prior works. We didn’t lose it but you can hear it less.

Jan 202015

 

Scars Divide are a Swiss band whose self-titled debut EP was released by Tenacity Music roughly 11 months ago. Today we bring you the premiere of a video for its opening track, “All That We Need”. And it’s a reminder that apart from the entertainment that well-made videos provide, they can also serve as an introduction to excellent music that some folks might have overlooked when it was initially released.

Which is an indirect way of saying that I missed the EP when it came out — and now I’m glad that I found it, thanks to this video. I hope you’ll feel the same way after you see and hear it.

Jan 202015

 

This is a collection of recent music I heard over the last 24 hours that I want to recommend. As the post title suggests, the music is loosely connected by elements of black metal — and I do mean “loosely”, especially in the case of the first song.

URFAUST

I first learned of the Dutch two-man band Urfaust when our long-time supporter Utmu wrote about them in a guest post two years ago, a post I would commend to people who are new to Urfaust. Even today, I’ve still only dabbled in the band’s previous recordings, but enough to recognize that their approach to black metal is highly distinctive.

More than four years have passed since their last album, but Germany’s Ván Records is now poised to release a new 12″ vinyl EP from the band. Entitled Apparitions, it features painted artwork by ThornyThoughts Artwork.

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