Islander

Jul 182017

 

In the right hands, and shaped with the right spirit, seemingly simple musical structures can become intensely evocative and even spellbinding. In fact, the ability of a piece of music to carry the listener away in a waking trance, where the mind conceives its own visions under the influence of the sound, may become even stronger with simplicity — if the songwriting and the execution are as good as they are on the self-titled album by the Finnish atmospheric black metal band Kval.

The album by this one-man project was first released under the name Khaossus in 2015, but it has been re-recorded for this release under the band’s new name, adorned as well in new artwork (by Moonroot Art). It will be released by Hypnotic Dirge Records on July 27th. This 43-minute work is composed of four long songs, interspersed with three minimalistic ambient tracks. Of those four long tracks, “Kuolonkuu” is the last one — and it’s the one we’re premiering for you in this post.

Jul 182017

 

Not for the first time, I find myself wondering about the use of the term “cold” to describe black metal that’s hot enough to melt lead, hot enough to put a fever in the blood, the heat of unchained human violence run rampant.

This time, that wondering was prompted by the wondrous track you’re about to hear, a scorcher named “Der Tronen Blender, Vender Vi Oss Mot Mørket” by the Norwegian black metal band Nattverd. It will appear on their debut album Vi Vet gud Er En Løgner (We Know God Is A Liar!), which is projected for release in September by Darker Than Black Records.

Background information about Nattverd is scarce. They are a two-person band that began in 2010, consisting of guitarist/bassist Atyr and vocalist Ormr, with session drums on this track performed by Serpentr. An earlier version of this song appeared late last year, but what you’re about to hear is the final mixed and mastered album track.

Jul 182017

 

(In the second installment in a week-long series of interviews, Andy Synn talks with members of the Norwegian band Endolith, whose 2016 debut album he reviewed here.)

For the second in this interview series on some of the “unsung heroes” of 2016, we’re travelling to Tromsø, Norway, to discuss Metal and metaphysics with progressive death-groovers Endolith, who released their fantastic debut album, Voyager, in December of last year.

******

First question – nice and simple – how are you guys doing at the moment?

Frode: Hello, we are doing fine. In fact we’re actually in the middle of writing our sophomore album, and we’re more than halfway through. We’ve been working continuously since the release of Voyager and it’s looking good!

Spirits are high, and we feel that we are honing our sound further, trimming some of the fat that may naturally accumulate on a debut album, and making perhaps more cohesive material.

Jul 172017

 

(Andy Synn brings us this first in a week-long series of interviews, and today’s initial installment is a discussion with vocalist/guitarist Andreas Schmittful of Germany’s Phantom Winter.)

One of the great things about being a part of a blog like NCS is being able to write about whatever bands/albums you find interesting, with little to no editorial interference, and no real pressures with regards to deadlines or being made to stick to a certain party line.

And that’s not something I take for granted.

Like the man said, “with great power comes great responsibility…”, and, for better or for worse, I have a platform here which means my voice reaches a lot further, and a resounds a little more loudly, than it would do otherwise.

And since I’m going to be rather busy this week due to a combination of day-job and band-life demands, I thought I’d take this opportunity to use that voice and draw attention to a handful of artists whose albums were, through no fault of their own, largely overlooked in the celebratory orgy of 2016’s End of Year listfest… beginning with Germany’s own Phantom Winter.

Jul 172017

 

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of Slavic Blasphemy, the first groundbreaking album by Zaraza, a duo now divided between Québec and Ecuador. Six years after their full-length debut they released a second album, No Paradise to Lose. And now, a long fourteen years later, they have brought forth a third one, Spasms of Rebirth, a name that could be considered a description of their own reemergence.

The new album is being released today — July 17th — and to celebrate this dire occasion we’re premiering a song from the album named “Wulkan“, a track that entwines and mutates elements of sludge, doom, and industrial metal into a nightmarish shape capable of thoroughly chilling the blood.

Jul 172017

 

(DGR takes over round-up duties again, with this collection of new songs and videos from eight bands.)

The end-of-the-week news flood was insane, as we have settled well into summer now and a lot of bands are either gearing up to hit the road or are already out making numerous loops on the festival circuit. Of course, this also means that there are a lot of albums in the hopper, getting ready to come out within weeks, or you’ll start seeing a lot of press for albums set to hit when the first leaves of fall drop.

That’s how you wind up with posts like this SEEN AND HEARD that helped kick off the weekend — not even counting our own fuel that we added to the fire, and the one that you’re reading now, which is basically just a gigantic dragnet for bands that had premieres elsewhere throughout the tail end of last week, or just blasted that thing right out to the world to see.

This episode of SEEN AND HEARD is eight (!) bands deep and skews death-metal heavy, so prepare yourselves for a lot of gigantic grooves, growled vocals, enough blasts to reach gunfire status, and enough chainsaw guitar destruction to fuel the planet.

Jul 162017

 

(In April the French band Gorod released an EP that they had prepared for distribution on a European tour. DGR finally caught up with that EP, and now turns in this detailed review.)

Heavy metal is often at its most fun when it feels like the artists behind it have lost their minds. There’s something about a musical genre oft-described as an explosion of catharsis having a creative explosion of its own and going nuts.

It’s not easy to stay reserved when you know that a band has set out to try something that is completely out of the norm for them, and such is the case with France’s frenetic tech-death titans Gorod and their recent thrash experiment EP, Kiss The Freak, which the band wrote and recorded in a very short window before going out on a European tour that saw them hitting the road with the likes of Havok, Warbringer, and Exmortus. Gorod themselves described it this way:

Jul 152017

 

I’m sure it’s obvious to most people who visit us, and perhaps painfully obvious, that I listen to a lot of music, flitting like a hummingbird amidst the fecund and constantly flowering garden of metal in search of nectar, nightshades, and sharp thorns. And although dark new delights never seem far away, some of them are so arresting that they freeze me in my flight, locked into the embrace of what I’m hearing. That was the effect of Хиус (Heeus), the new album by Neverending Winter, which is being released today.

The album is so creative and so captivating that it caused me to reflect again on the happenstance of location as it affects the global reach of a band or an album.

Neverending Winter are located in Tomsk in Siberian Russia. They lack the visibility that a substantial label or professional PR representation might provide. Because of their remote location and low public profile, it’s unlikely they would be able to mount tours across Europe, much less North America, and that in turn will likely make it even more difficult for them to attract the backing of organizations that could help expand the global reach of their music — although I have no idea whether they even have such ambitions.

Jul 152017

 

(Andy Synn’s band Beyond Grace released their debut album, Seekers, one week ago, and almost immediately it became available for download on pirate music sites. In this post, Andy shares some reactions to those events and questions what to do about it.)

As some of you may be aware, my band recently released our debut album (I’ll stop going on about it eventually, I promise).
What you might not be aware of is that fact that the album leaked online for illegal download the same day it was released… something which, let’s be honest, isn’t exactly an uncommon occurrence these days.

The thing is, I’m really not sure how to respond to this unfortunate turn of events. There’s several options available to me/us right now, but I’m just not certain what the right move is.

Jul 142017

 

Well, that didn’t last long. Two days ago, when I posted the last SEEN AND HEARD round-up, I announced a plan to post other shorter-than-usual compilations of new music both yesterday and today. Having failed to post one yesterday, that means I’m now back to serving up a more typical groaning smorgasbord of new stuff, enough to challenge the most gluttonous of listeners. Et voila, music from nine bands!

POISON BLOOD

Poison Blood is a collaborative effort by Jenks Miller (Horseback) and vocalist Neill Jameson (Krieg), the latter of whom is a valued contributor to NCS. We’re told that these two came together as fans of each other’s work and a mutual appreciation for Beherit’s classic Drawing Down the Moon LP and the experimental deathrock of cult UK act Rudimentary Peni“.

I confess that I haven’t yet listened to all of their self-titled debut EP — which will be released on August 11 by Relapse — but I’m really enjoying the two tracks that have surfaced so far in the run-up to the release date. The first of those is “The Scourge and the Gestalt” and the second is “Deformed Lights“.

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