Saturday may seem like an odd day to open the flood gates on new music at our site. Page views usually drop precipitously, which I guess proves that lots of people are visiting our site at work or school rather than at home. Or maybe lots of people are just too hungover to put heavy music in their heads. Anyway, I do this as much for myself as for anyone else, so on we go….
I paired the two bands featured in Part 1 for obvious reasons, and in Part 3 I’ve collected new stuff from bands who have no trouble getting attention but I’d like to mention anyway. In this middle part I’ve picked more underground names, with a lot of variety in the sounds (though I’ve siphoned off the black metal for tomorrow’s Shades of Black post).
Actually, I don’t yet have any full songs to share from this first band, only a teaser, but I have high hopes based on the people behind the project.
(In this post Wil Cifer reviews the new album by San Francisco’s King Woman.)
King Woman’s full-length debut has the kind of thick, dream-like haze cast over it that makes the mood much darker and heavier than what we got from their previous EP. Like many albums that I sing the praises of, this one tickles the sweet spot of my taste buds, and once again proves you don’t have to adhere to typical metal trappings in order to be heavy.
Kristina Esfandiari allows some of her backing vocal tracks to move into more of a scream. And there is weight to the guitars, which often carry the dense distortion of doom. By the second song, it sounds to me that this album is going to take them to the next level of recognition.
(Today we present the premiere of a video and song from the Belgian band Marche Funebre, and Grant Skelton provides the following introduction.)
Belgian death/doom band Marche Funèbre (a name presumably derived from the Chopin composition of the same name) will release their new album Into The Arms Of Darkness on February 20, 2017 via Moscow Funeral League. Into The Arms Of Darkness was produced by Markus ‘Schwadorf’ Stock. The creepy, nightmarish cover art was created by Brooke Shaden Photography.
No Clean Singing is proud to present an exclusive premiere of a video for the album’s first advance track, entitled “Lullaby Of Insanity.”
As I made my way through the enormous list of new songs and videos that I’ve been compiling since last weekend, a certain shape began to suggest itself to me — the shape of a tasty metal sandwich. And with that shape in mind (and a gnawing hunger in my guts), I selected and organized the following 8 songs.
For this playlist of mostly brand new things we begin harsh and heavy, then segue into a block of Exceptions To Our Rule (the one about singing), and then move into the other side of the sandwich where total war on the senses lies in wait again. You’ll also find some very eye-catching videos in here, along with a broad assortment of music that struck my fancy — with only truncated commentary from yours truly.
According to a press release, “The End is a concept album about a human being travelling across the lands as the world begins to end…. Each song represents different events during the ending process, and as they unfold the being feels as himself is becoming god, or death itself. By the end of the album this being by all means becomes god and rules over the wasteland left behind.”
(TheMadIsraeli is the author of this review of the new album by Odd Logic.)
I always try to put some serious thought into why an exception to the rule should be an exception to the rule here at NCS. I confess that sometimes it really comes down to the fact that I just like the album, and fuck the rules and the site and blah blah blah, but for the most part I believe there is an integrity that the NCS brand, as it were, has an obligation to maintain. I’ve basically boiled it down to three things that help me decide what a good exception to our rule is. Any one, or a combination, of these three:
A: The music is sufficiently heavy without extreme metal vocals.
B: The music is extreme in either virtuosity, progressiveness, pretentiousness, or eccentricity, despite the absence of harsh vocals.
C: The writing of music around clean vocals offers definitively different avenues of instrumental expression. Any band that really understands and gets this on a transcendent level is an exception.
Tacoma-based Odd Logic are B and C but not A. Effigy is their 7th record.
I took a break yesterday from my rollout of this year’s Most Infectious Song list but am back at it again today, and every day this week, barring a meteor strike. For those who have just blundered into this evolving list for the first time, you can check out the previous picks and an explanation for what the list is about by clicking this link.
Some days I include two songs in the installments of this list, and sometimes three, which is what I have today. This is another instance when this particular grouping made sense to me, but I don’t pretend that I have good sense so you be the judge. And if the inclusion of clean vocals in this collection rubs you the wrong way, be patient. Tomorrow I’m returning to much nastier fare.
I’m going to start with some “Mass Darkness“, which will be found on Arktis, the latest solo album by Vegard Sverre Tveitan, aka Ihsahn. My colleague Andy Synn wrote our review of the album, characterizing it as “easily the most gleamingly melodic, intimately accessible… and, yes, poppy, album that the ever-adversarial artiste has put his name to thus far”, while “still very much a Progressive album underneath the glitz and glamour”.
As you can see, this is the fifth installment in our unfolding list of last year’s “Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs“. As you can also see (or will soon discover), not all of the songs in this installment are extreme, or even metal, and there’s a lot of clean singing as well. Feel free to harumph and harang in the Comments, but I could not get comfortable with the idea of looking back at the most infectious songs of last year without including all of these, and I also found a pleasing kind of twisted symmetry in combining them in a single post.
To see the other selections for the list so far, as well as an explanation of what criteria were used in making it, go here.
From my perspective, it’s not worth debating whether Ghost are a metal band or not. There are good arguments to be made on both sides. What I think is beyond debate is the band’s ability to craft immensely catchy songs, and not the kind of cotton candy fluff that makes you sick to your stomach after the fifth or sixth time you’ve heard it, which seems to be true of a high percentage of catchy pop songs. Also, they continue to praise the Devil, and I give them horns up for that. Whether the praise is calculated or sincere is a subject we can debate on another day, or not at all.
Well, here we are at the mid-point of an odd week, a week that falls between two big holiday weekends in a year when both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on Saturday nights, enhancing the opportunity for revelry. Lots of people are having to work this week, but it feels like no one really has their heart in it. Others are on vacation. The usual flood of PR e-mails has slowed to a trickle; most of metal blogdoom is snoozing. As the new year rapidly approaches, people are beginning to fantasize about 2017 being better than 2016 and wondering what other well-loved celebrities will be cut down by the Grim Reaper in the few days before it arrives.
Obviously, we’re still forging ahead during this limbo week, and I thought I’d provide a forecast of what lies ahead at our site.
LISTMANIA will continue into the new year. This week we’ll finish rolling out the year-end lists by NCS contributors Grant Skelton and Wil Cifer and we’ll post year-end lists from our old friend SurgicalBrute and from three more invited guests — Johan Huldtgren (Obitus), Ken Sorceron (Abigail Williams), and Seb Painchaud (Tumbleweed Dealer).
And then LISTMANIA will continue next week with some big brutal lists compiled by our old friend Vonlughlio from the Dominican Republic, as well as lists from a few other invited guests that I’m anxious to see. I trust that I’ll also receive the annual Not-Metal List from ex-NCS slave BadWolf (aka Invisible Orange’s editor Joseph Schafer) along with Andy Synn’s list of favorite 2016 songs. And undoubtedly there will be a few other LISTMANIA surprises before next week ends.
With the soaring popularity of the latest albums by Crypt Sermon and Khemmis, the stage seems well set for the advent of Among the Ruins, the new album by Finland’s Altar of Betelgeuze. It’s set for release by Transcending Obscurity Records on March 10, and today we bring you the premiere of its immersive title track.
Altar of Betelgeuze consists of bassist and growler Matias Nastolin (Decaying), guitarist and clean vocalist Olli “Otu” Suurmunne (ex-Decaying), guitarist Juho Kareoja, and drummer Aleksi Olkkola (Sclerosis, ex-Cardinals Folly). Their first album, an excellent one named Darkness Sustains the Silence, was released by the Memento Mori label in early 2014.
I’ve been immersed in compiling LISTMANIA features the last few days, but at the same time I’ve been noticing the appearance of new songs, many of them from albums headed our way in the new year. I’ve rounded up 9 of them here that I’ve enjoyed, with a range of metallic styles. I organized them sort of like a bell curve, with things starting hard and then getting more melodic in the middle, and then descending again into increasing ugliness and violence by the end.
Also, serious question: Should I divide collections of this length into smaller parts and spread them out over the day? Or does it matter?
I’m afraid that if I googled “lock up” these days, I’d get stories about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The world obviously needs to grind again, and the real Lock Up is here to help us do that.