Oct 212014

 

I’m pathetically late in reviewing this split. My shame is magnified by the fact that I first heard the album months ago and knew from the first listen that it was one of the best I’d heard all year. It still is.

Each of these bands — Mexico’s Majestic Downfall and Australia’s The Slow Death — contribute three long songs, collectively totaling more than 67 minutes of doom.

MAJESTIC DOWNFALL

The first of Majestic Downfall’s songs, “The Dark Lullaby”, is full of contrasts and is impressively dynamic, both in its pacing and in its changing moods. It joins together massive guitar tone and huge, brutish bass hammers with light, ringing acoustic guitar harmonies. It incorporates melodies that are both entrancing and drenched in sorrow. It pairs gargantuan roars that come up from some bottomless abyss with harrowing howls that convey sensations of intense anguish. Slow, skull-splitting riffs and gut-punching drums cohabit the song with ripping tremolo- and blastbeat-driven storm fronts. And in the song’s second half, you’re treated to a squalling guitar solo that will seize your attention, followed by a heavy guitar motif that wouldn’t be out of place in a Scandinavian-styled melodic death metal anthem.

Oct 212014

 

I got carried away with a lot of rifftastic death metal malignancy in yesterday’s round-up’s, so I thought I’d move in more varied directions today. The following new and newish songs are among those I found in my trawling through the interhole yesterday, after siphoning off the effluent that would sicken you, plus one find by my comrade in arms Austin Weber. Prepare for brain spasms and spinal trauma.

SUNBURSTER

I enjoyed the hell out of this Philadelphia band’s last release, the 2013 EP SolarBipolar (reviewed here). Just to give you a flavor of my reaction to it (and because if I don’t quote myself, who will?), here’s an excerpt from my review:

This is the kind of music that will give your neck muscles a real workout while dosing you with a narcotic addictiveness that will pull you back for another hit, and another. I know. I have plenty of other things to do, but I’ve been jamming this little three-song smasher over and over again.

Oct 142014

 

Here’s a rather large selection of new songs and videos released in the last few days that I decided were worth your time — and who better than me to decide how you should spend your time?  Exactly.

I’ve arranged these offerings in alphabetical order by band name. It’s quite a varied selection, so I’m hoping everyone will find something to like.

BLOODBATH

We’re now two songs into the ramp-up for one of the most highly anticipated extreme metal releases of the year — Grand Morbid Funeral, the first album by Bloodbath since 2008. The second song, “Famine of God’s Word”, was revealed yesterday through a lyric video. I’m of two minds about the song.

On the one hand, the instrumental music is just downright vicious — a brutally heavy, galloping, squalling, skin-flaying, gut-punching romp, with an eerie lead guitar melody that floats through the song like a phantasm.

Oct 102014

 

Prepare yourselves for a big departure from our normal fare as we present a full-album stream of Be All End All, the new release by Norway’s Manes.

You would be hard-pressed to find a band who have led as many diverse musical lives at Manes. At the time of the band’s genesis in about 1992, and through the release of their 1999 debut album Under Ein Blodraud Maane, they were a black metal band. And then there was a hiatus — until the second album Vilosophe was released in 2003. It sounded nothing like what the band had been creating prior to the break, and it defied categorization. More releases followed, including a third album (2007′s How the World Came To An End), and then another hiatus followed.

Now the band have, in effect, begun a third life with Be All End All, which will soon be released by Debemur Morti. This follows a two-song single named Vntrve released at the end of the summer (reviewed here), and it’s the first full-length from the band in seven years.

Oct 072014

 

(DGR reviews the new Scar Symmetry album.)

Heavy metal’s fascination with space is a long and storied one, especially in recent years as the mass media has become engrossed in science, with a half-million shows that all seem to boil down to, “Check out how awesome this shit is!”, as voiced by Morgan Freeman or breathlessly delivered by popular physicists.

Few bands, however, have tackled these subjects with the consistency and exploratory excitement of Scar Symmetry, having now released six albums covering a variety of subjects dealing not only with space in its physical form but also the philosophies of the universe, the science fiction aspects, and even a healthy dose of futurism — as recently provided by the group’s newly released sixth disc The Singularity (Phase One: Neohumanity), which will henceforth be referred to as Singularity.

Oct 032014

 

(In this post we present KevinP’s interview of Tim Charles, violinist and clean vocalist of Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris, whose new album Citadel will be released on November 7 (November 11 in the U.S.). You can listen to two of the new songs while you read, here and here.)

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K:   So would this be the first interview you have done where the name of the site is diametrically opposed to your position in the band?

T:  I guess so! But despite the name of the site, you guys have always shown NeO great support over the years regardless, and so I’m very happy to be chatting with you today about our new album.

 

K:  We are coming up on the release of that album, Citadel, on Nov 7.  What would you say is different and/or what were you able to accomplish this time around as compared with Portal of I?

T:  When we first started writing Citadel we didn’t have any meetings to discuss the direction of the new songs. We simply just did what we’ve always done and write music until we were happy with the song. Personally we were very proud of Portal of I and we loved the songs, so when it was so well-received, that gave us a lot of confidence to forget about the outside world and just back our own judgement and have faith that as long as we love the new stuff then the public will enjoy it also.

We definitely noticed that there were some new sounds being explored, but honestly it wasn’t really until the end when it was completely done that we realised it was actually quite a bit different.  It’s still very much NeO, but honestly I’m not sure we could create 2 albums the same if we tried! It’s always been in our nature to explore and move forward musically, and to me Citadel just sounds like another step forward.

I guess one other difference between the albums is that Portal of I was more akin to 7 separate stories, all related to each other, that when put together create an album. This new album, however, was created in a more conceptual way with the music largely flowing continuously from start to finish and hence is more one unified piece.

Sep 112014

 

(In this post our man in the UK, Andy Synn, reviews a live September 4 performance in Islington by the collaboration between Devin Townsend and Ché Aimee Dorval known as Casualties of Cool.)

Last Thursday I was lucky enough to see Casualties of Cool, the world’s finest proponents of Ambient Canadian Space-Country, perform a gorgeous, mesmerising set at The Union Chapel in Islington. And it’s taken me a while (I have been somewhat busy/ill in the intervening time) but I’ve finally got round to penning some thoughts about the experience.

To start with, for those of you who don’t know, the venue itself is pretty magical, a beautifully apportioned and enclosed chapel with rows of pews on ground level before the stage (and pulpit) and several more on balconies up above. The stained glass windows and hanging wrought-iron chandeliers add a touch of weight and worth to the surroundings, while the candles flickering in alcoves in each overhang only enhance the warmth and beauty of the place.

When it came to the show itself… well, there’s a reason this was sold under the title Casualties of Cool, and not under Devin’s own name. Because for once this really wasn’t a Devin Townsend show.

Sep 102014

I’ve fallen behind in completing some reviews (one in particular) that I had planned to post on Monday of this week. Partly, this is the result of how many new music premieres and press releases of interest I’ve found this week. The last 24 hours have been no different. What follows is a sextet of such things.

THE MONOLITH DEATHCULT

One of this site’s favorite bands made this statement yesterday:

“We have some exciting news! To bridge the gap between TETRAGRAMMATON and our forthcoming album we decided to record some tunes from our first album The Apotheosis. This because The Apotheosis is sold out and we simply aren’t in for an ordinary repressing. We will release it as an EP+ some cool rare recordings we collected through the years. The title of the EP will be BLOODCVLTS & DEATHCVLTS.

At the moment we have no idea how and who will release this EP. Maybe it will be on vinyl, maybe on CD or maybe only on Itunes and Spotify. Stay tuned!”

Sep 082014

In this round-up to begin our new week here at NCS, I’ve brought you a trio of recommended videos I spied yesterday plus news of a free music sampler from Napalm Records that’s worth checking out.

DECEPTIC

I discovered this first video via a link sent by our friend “deckard cain“. It’s for a song named “Ocean”, which appears on the debut album (The Artifact) by a band from Gothenburg, Sweden, named Deceptic. deckard wrote that the music reminded him of Textures, Scar Symmetry, and Soilwork, and after I heard the jolting song I thought that was a good summing up of stylistic references.

But the video as a whole is really what landed it at the top of this post. It was made by Igor Omodei, and it is truly a feast for the eyes, with both excellent camera work and editing of the band footage and superb animation and visual effects. I had a smile on my face all the way through, and then my eyes really popped wide in the final 30 seconds. Kudos to Mr. Omodei.

Sep 022014

Next month Grimoire Records will release a split entitled Crawling Mountain Apogee, with new songs from two talented bands — Myopic from Maryland and Torrid Husk from West Virginia. Invisible Oranges recently premiered the Myopic tracks, and today we’re bringing you the two long songs by Torrid Husk that appear on the split.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had the pleasure of premiering a Torrid Husk creation. Last May we premiered an excellent music video for “Cut With Rain”, a song from the band’s last EP, Caesious. Caesious was my first exposure to the band’s music, and as impressive as it was, these two new songs prove that it was no fluke. They mark a further step ahead for a band who are proving themselves to be an emerging bright star in the firmament of melodic black metal from the U.S.

The music is dramatic and dynamic. It storms in a torrent of cascading riffs and blasting drums. It rings with shining guitar melodies and howls in its discordance. It drifts moodily and crashes like a river in flood. The instrumental work is tremendously impressive at every station, and the songs are filled with great vocal variety as well, from clawing shrieks to deep roars to impassioned yells to soaring clean vocals.

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