(Our brother Leperkahn continues to shoulder the burden of rounding up news and new music during my vacation from that task.)
Attempting to do Islander’s job is WAAAAY harder than I ever would’ve thought it to be. Luckily, unlike the last stream dump, this one has a bit of a theme, namely that they’re all full-album streams.
The NCS camp in general has expressed widespread approval for Stench’s new album Venture – we even went as far as to premiere a track from it here . It’s now streaming in full at Decibel here. I think at this point we’ve said our part on this one – now it’s your turn to voice your opinion.
The album is slotted to come out October 7th via Agonia Records – look for it at this location.
(We welcome guest contributor Gorger, who explains himself and the objective of this new series as follows… )
Let me start off with a short presentation of myself. For almost a year I’ve been running a Norwegian metal site with a focus on reviews of metal releases. The site is split into two forms of reviews. There are the standard reviews, where I listen a plethora of times before writing a medium-long, moderately indept description with a dice-scaled rating, and then there are what I call “Impressions”, where I listen to an album a few times before writing short and somewhat impulsive description with a classification as Approved (V), Dissapproved (X), or Intermediate (VX).
Like Islander, I know what lack of time is. I have a wish of making a parallel, English-language version of my site, but that ain’t happening any time soon. When Islander told us all he’d be leaning back between two loud-speakers and enjoying some full albums for a change, I decided this was a perfect time to both give something back to this enlightening site and also do a “pilot” of English translations, to see how that would work. I plan to present 16 releases from the past two months over three posts, and the criteria are these:
-Only albums that have not earlier been presented in any way at NCS.
-Only music that fits the NCS profile (i.e., no clean singing)
-Only music that fits the NCS concept (i.e., only recommendable releases)
We are all excited to see which records will be reviewed by our host. In the meantime (yes, time is mean indeed) I hope you’ll find something interesting here. For those with Scandinavian linguistic skills, check out Gorger’s Metal.
I’ll put it all in chronological order. Now, let’s get started, shall we?
(Our interviewer KevinP produced the following fascinating discussion with Semjaza, the main man behind the Greek black metal band Thy Darkened Shade, whose new song “Saatet-ta Renaissance” we premiered earlier today — here – and whose new album will be released on October 31 by W.T.C. Productions.)
K: So we are coming up on the release of your second album. For those people who heard the debut, what can they expect, and for those completely new to the band, what are they going to experience?
S: The experience depends on the eye of the beholder, however, I am sure that those with hearts of Fire will experience the same Luciferian energy invoked for the debut, but this time we are even closer to the source, the Waters of Nun. The manifestations of the Devil are many and His names countless, we will capture as many as possible in our albums.
K: I’ll admit to not being all that interested in lyrical content (for the most part) but that seems to be a huge part of what you are doing here.
S: Yes, our art is not one-dimensional since we invoke Chaos. A synthesis of lyrical, musical, and visual art amongst others that can be translated into mantras, sigils, postures, and invocations for those who have the will to gaze beyond their mundane life and evolve. In fact, we are aiming to express our black flames sonically. It is therefore, a mirror of ourselves and represents the will of our Gods as we experience it.
(Leperkahn brings us this piece of breaking news.)
I have another roundup I’m working on right now, but before that I thought I’d let y’all in on a quick bit of breaking news, namely that Godflesh are now streaming their reunion album via NPR, their first album in 13 years.
I myself have just started to understand and appreciate the beast that is Godflesh (as in, it finally clicked for me when I was reading their Decibel cover story and listening to their new EP Decline and Fall), but I’m sure most of you have more history with the band than I do.
Anyway, if you dig it (which you should – I’ll reserve judgment until I have time to listen to all of it myself, but I’m pretty confident they’ll knock it out of the park), you can preorder it on Amazon here, or wait until it comes out on October 14.
On October 31, 2014, W.T.C. Productions will release Liber Lvcifer I: Khem Sedjet, the second album by Greek black metal band Thy Darkened Shade. In due course, you will hear much more about this album at our humble site. For now, it is enough to say that it’s absolutely stunning — one of the year’s best.
Today we have two teasers for you: In this post we bring you the premiere of the album’s eighth track (of 11) — “Saatet-ta Renaissance” — and then a bit later today we will bring you a fascinating interview with the band’s main man Semjaza, an interview that will significantly affect the way you hear the music. But the music comes first.
“Saatet-ta Renaissance” is one of this massive album’s longest songs. As it moves from entrancing acoustic strumming and choral chanting into an abrupt explosion of blistering fretwork and blasting percussion, you may experience a feeling of disorientation — and that feeling may be enhanced by the warm bounding bass notes and the rocking back-beats that come next, or by the variance between primal clawing growls and clean-voiced proclamations that give life to the lyrics.
(As explained over the weekend, I’m taking a 10-day hiatus from rounding up new song and video premieres in order to focus on reviews, but fortunately we have at least one volunteer stepping up to fill the void. Here’s a post by Leperkahn that focuses on two recent premieres.)
Hey guys! Since Islander is taking a sabbatical from daily round-ups, I figured I’d take a stab at being his fill-in for a few days here, or at least until I realize that my problem sets won’t do themselves and Wealth of Nations won’t read itself. This shall serve as part 1, with future parts coming at likely very irregular intervals. If you feel like I’ve overlooked something that the peoples of the NCS universe should be cramming into their ears, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyway, herein we have two new song premieres, from opposite corners of both the globe and the metal spectrum.
A few weeks back France’s Trepalium unleashed upon us “Moonshine Limbo” (featured here), a glorious little ditty that was easily the best swing jazz/metal combo I’ve heard since Diablo Swing Orchestra’s last album back in 2012. It came replete with a bitchin’ horn section and the first time I’ve ever truly heard scat-screaming. I mention this because the group have now released the second song from their forthcoming EP Voodoo Moonshine, “Fire On Skin”.
The song is perhaps a bit less overtly jazzy than the title track – I didn’t hear the aforementioned bitchin’ horn section this time – but the arrangement and progression of the song is still rooted pretty firmly in jazz territory, only remaining death metal because of the instrument choices and Cédric Punda’s eviscerating roars. The jabbing verse riff in particular gave me the sensation that I was in the ring with Muhammad Ali at his prime, jolting left and right with each nasty hook the chugging riff planted into my sides.
The French band Zapruder made their advent two years ago with an EP named Straight From The Horse’s Mouth, and now they’re on the verge of delivering their debut album Fall In Line. The album’s title is an exercise in irony, because Zapruder plainly aren’t falling in line and they don’t want you to either. You’ll understand what I mean as soon as you listen to “Cyclops”, one of the nine tracks from the album that we’re premiering in this post.
Listening to “Cyclops” is akin to leaping on an infernal merry-go-round that’s spinning erratically (and dangerously), with flame-eyed horses bolting up and down like pistons in an engine with a mind of its own. Dissonant squalling chords mingle with skin-melting shrieks and cavernous roars, wind-shear speed gives way to a pounding dirge, knee-capping percussion coexists with almost ethereal reverberating lead guitar eeriness. It’s unpredictable and unrelentingly intense music.
Both violent and cloaked in an aura of doom, “Cyclops” is heavy as hell and a fascinating and harrowing ride from a band who follow their own line.
(DGR wrote this review of the debut album by Black Crown Initiate from Pennsylvania, which will be released tomorrow — Sept 30.)
It feels like music moves in ten-plus-year generational cycles, especially when it comes to heavy metal. This seems stupidly obvious, but the fact that it still continues unabated is pretty spectacular — because it allows people to sit around and prognosticate like true intelligentsia when it comes to even the most banal of subjects. You’ll have discs that come out right about the time a new generation can pick up on it and have their minds blown. In turn, they draw heavy influence from that specific time frame, and when it becomes their own turn to take the stage, it’s like watching the previous cycle re-incarnate, combined with some of the current sounds that are popular. And so, the sound iterates, especially in the case of heavy metal, as things move incrementally in different directions.
The past few years. especially, have really put the various spectra of death metal into the spotlight as both tech-death and progressive death have seen numerous new entries from young bands, groups who over the past decade have taken in so much of what began in the early aughts and now seek to put their own mark on it. Reading, Pennsylvania’s own Black Crown Initiate are one of those bands who have seemingly had the stars align for them. They are a young band who succeeded in finding the almost perfect combination of songwriting talent, musicianship, and artistic bravery to stretch well beyond their own genre conventions and managed to make quite the loud entrance with last year’s EP Song Of The Crippled Bull. You could tell, especially by our own review, that if Song Of The Crippled Bull was anything to go by, Black Crown Initiate were going to have a lot of heat behind them.
And so, we find ourselves looking to the band’s label debut, The Wreckage Of Stars, and if you haven’t quite figured out where this introduction is heading yet, let’s summarize it for you: There is a reason you’ve probably been hearing a lot about Black Crown Initiate over the past year, and if Wreckage Of Stars is anything to go by, you’re going to be hearing a hell of a lot more of them in the years to come.
Shiva Rudrastakam by the Nepalese band Dying Out Flame is one of the most unusual, most inventive, and most instrumentally accomplished metal albums you will hear all year. It fuses together elements of death metal reminiscent of bands like Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel, Suffocation, and Behemoth with classical Hindu melodies and sanskrit chants. But it is far more than a stitching together of disparate musical traditions for the sake of creating a curiosity. It represents an authentic union of the creators’ passions, one that succeeds in finding an unexpected harmony in all these divergent ingredients.
An informative Decibel interview of the band’s co-founder, vocalist, and bass-player Aabeg Gautam reveals that the band’s name refers to the last phase of the burning of a corpse in the open air, an ancient Hindu sacrament designed to release the soul from the body after death, with fire acting as the medium between man and god. In the same interview Gautam calls the band “the instruments of Lord Shiva”. But even without these disclosures, the extent to which spiritual themes have inspired and fueled the band is abundantly evident in the fiery music itself.
The songs are impressively dynamic, ever-changing in ways that are fascinating rather than jarring. There is no doubt that the band could have recorded an album of pure death metal, both written and performed with an exceptional level of skill: In every song after the introductory track they unleash powerful torrents of brutal fret-burning riffs and hyper-active percussion with jaw-dropping flair. Yet this is only one facet of an intricately layered and vibrantly multi-textured work.
As explained here, I’m taking a 10-day hiatus from searching for and writing about new song and video premieres, in order to make time for reviewing some albums I absolutely need to say something about. Before doing that, however, here’s one last batch of new things I found over the last couple of days that I thought were worth sharing.
Germany’s Bethlehem, whose debut album may or may not be responsible for that amorphous genre label “dark metal”, have a new song up for streaming, the name of which is “Ein Kettenwolf greint 13:11-18″. All I really have to say about this depressive ballad is that I’d listen to more rock music if it sounded like this. Warning: clean singing to come…
The song will appear on the band’s sixth album Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia (fear of the number 666), which is their first in about five years. It will be released by Prophecy Productions on Oct 10 (Oct 14 in the U.S.) and is available for order here.