Jun 082017

 

Not for the first time, I had a discussion with a few of my NCS comrades at Maryland Deathfest about how much stuff I post most days. I think their feeling was that 4 posts a day at NCS should be considered adequate, and that more tends to result in reader/listener overload. While I think this is good advice for my exercise of editorial discretion, and undoubtedly would help relieve the frenzied stress levels of my daily existence, the sad fact is that I… just… can’t… fucking… help myself! I see or hear something that gets me excited, and I feel an apparently irresistible compulsion to share it.

And so, while today I’ve already posted an album review and plan to post three premieres (one of which is a full album, accompanied by a review), I also decided to compile this round-up. On the bright side, two of the following 10 items(!) only consist of artwork and news — and I could have made this soooo much longer, but I’m saving some new discoveries for this weekend.

INCANTATION

I was gob-smacked the first time I saw Eliran Kantor’s artwork for the cover of Incantation’s new album. Even now, seeing the piece with the band’s name and the album title on it, my gob is still smacked. The first single from the album has also proven to be a gob-smacker. But before we get to that, here’s Eliran Kantor’s explanation about the inspiration for his painting on the cover of Profane Existence:

Apr 212017

 

A long time ago, and for many years, I used to regularly write a feature called EYE-CATCHERS in which I tested the hypothesis that cool album art tends to correlate with cool music. There’s no sense in that proposition, if you think about it, yet the experiments I conducted proved the proposition more often than they disproved it.

Like many other older features here, that one fell by the wayside, for reasons I can’t explain. And I’m not really reviving it on a regular basis today. But it came back to me when I listened to the following songs for the first time last night and this morning.

DISBELIEF

This first song isn’t really entirely in keeping with the original concept behind EYE-CATCHERS, which was to explore music by bands I knew nothing about based solely on the artwork. In the case of Disbelief‘s new song, I had a recommendation from fellow NCS scribbler Grant Skelton, and so I would have checked it out regardless — but as soon as I saw the artwork by Eliran Kantor, that sealed the deal.

The original piece is above, and even in the final cover with the band’s name and album title visible, it’s still largely un-obscured, which proves that someone had their wits about them:

Feb 142017

 

I was tempted to name this post “Eye-Catchers“, especially since I haven’t written a post in that series for years, but since I was already quite familiar with most of the bands whose new artwork caught my eye, they didn’t really fit the theme of that series. But the new artwork is damned appealing, and so is the promise of new music from these groups.

And that’s how this post begins — with eye-catching new artwork for four forthcoming albums. Following that, I want to recommend advance tracks from four other forthcoming releases, which themselves also include eye-catching cover art.

ANTROPOFAGUS

The first piece of attention-grabbing artwork I’ve collected here (above) was created by the Chilean artist Nekronikon for the new album by Italy’s Antropofagus. Entitled M.O.R.T.E. – Methods Of Resurrection Through Evisceration, it will be released May 12 on CD via Comatose Music and on vinyl via Everlasting Spew Records.

Dec 142016

immolation-atonement

 

For this mid-week round-up of new discoveries I have news about the next Immolation album, excellent advance tracks from three albums coming out early next year, and a full stream of one fine album released yesterday. This collection of items is heavy on the death metal, and it’s also heavy on eye-catching cover art.

IMMOLATION

In a September interview Immolation’s Ross Dolan explained that the band’s new album was finished except for the mixing, that the artwork was done except for a few inside pieces, and that the album would be released early in 2017. I haven’t seen any official announcements about the album since then, but yesterday Bristol Deathfest (here) and UKEM Records leaked some news and the cover art (above) by Pär Olofsson: The name of Immolation’s new tenth studio album is Atonement, and the release is expected on February 24, 2017.

Sep 142016

frozen-gate-behind-the-dark-ice

 

(In this post DGR reviews the debut album by the Swiss band Frozen Gate.)

Occasionally some questions will arise as to how the NCS reviews process works. To be honest with you, the answer is fairly simple — we’re pretty freewheeling. We try our best to keep up with recent and relevant releases but often the authors of the site are pretty free to write about whatever strikes our fancy, which is why you’ll occasionally see reviews for albums that came out anywhere from the beginning of this year to two years ago on this page. If we think our readers will like it, we’ll write about it.

But, there are occasional quirks in this system that can often bring about discoveries: In this case it is that I am a giant manchild, who at his “wizened” age will still occasionally check out albums if the combination of cover art and album name strikes my fancy or in this case, amuses me.

Switzerland’s Frozen Gate released their debut album Behind The Dark Ice earlier this month and I came about it whilst scrolling through my various resources for recent releases. In this case the cover art for Behind The Dark Ice caught my eye — mostly for how stark it is. It can best be boiled down to just the band’s logo with a crest and some dark blue paint-brushing, evocative of a frigid land. It’s bare bones but it manages the job of matching its name sake of Behind The Dark Ice. I just had to have a look — while having no idea what sort of music Frozen Gate put out.

May 032016

Bosch-christs descent into hell

 

(Our old friend from New Zealand and occasional guest writer Booker brings us a collection of new releases discovered through their cover art, along with some very entertaining words.)

“You should never judge a book by its cover”, or so the saying goes. No doubt most of us try and do the same with our approach to metal. Yet somehow, in amongst all the diversity of music out there, the community of metal musicians seems to self-organize; just like some drops of T-1000 liquid metal coming together to form a greater terrifying machine, different minds and souls from across the world end up uniting in their artistic endeavours and adorning their albums with specific, identifiable, cover themes. For the most part, seeing a cover with a certain “typical genre X” album art style can lead you to a fair idea of what aural treasures lie inside, but sometimes they can come out of left field and surprise you. We shouldn’t judge albums by their cover, but let’s be honest: we might say we don’t, but we all do. Like masturbation.

Once upon a time back in NCS history, Islander ran a series called “Eye Catchers” dedicated to albums that hooked you in with their artwork (and other tasty aspects). As I was perusing Bandcamp for delicious new audio treats, I realised that I too was basing my decisions of what to listen to by inadvertently succumbing to the artwork, like a moth to flame. So I figured, the hell with it, let’s see where this folly-filled exercise leads me…. and after a few surprises, and some fails, here’s a few highlights I’d like to share.

Mar 022016

In Mourning-Afterglow

 

I wasn’t able to compile a round-up of new things for yesterday, which means that I’m now up to my eyebrows in news and music that I’d like to share, or I would be if I had a head. But figuratively speaking, I do have more items worth spreading around than I have time or space to compile. Therefore, I’ve chosen somewhat randomly. But the first two choices were compelled not only because I’m a big fan of both bands but also because the artwork for both is stupendous.

IN MOURNING

Today Sweden’s In Mourning revealed details about their new album, including the magnificent cover art that you see above, which was created by the magnificent Kristian “Necrolord” Wåhlin. The name of the album is Afterglow and it will be released by Agonia Records on May 20.

Dec 142015

Ripper-Experiment of Existence

 

You may have noticed that we’re now hip-deep in year-end LISTMANIA, and that tide will continue to rise from now into the New Year. This means that we won’t have quite as many new-music round-ups as we usually do, but I’m still going to try to squeeze a few in as time permits — including this one…

… which includes lots of eye-catching artwork as well as ear-catching music, but not many of my usual descriptions (because I’m hurrying).

RIPPER

The Chilean band Ripper turned a lot of heads last year (including mine, wherever I left it) with their debut album Raising the Corpse, and now they’ve got a new one on the way named Experiment of Existence. The advance track from the album that premiered today is a superior ass-kicker.

Nov 192015

Annihilist- Vol 1

 

(Andy Synn reviews the debut EP of Australia’s Annihilist.)

Never underestimate the value of good album art. After all, first impressions DO count.

For every cheesy cgi monstrosity, for every uninspired and multi-hued “cosmic” abortion, for every generic “war is bad” post-apocalypse or totally brutal “I’ve never been consensually touched by a woman” guts-n-gore album cover, there’s something far more interesting and eye-catching out there, something that stands out from the pack and practically yells “check this out!”

Such is the case with Australian metallurgists Annihilist and their debut EP Vol. 1.

Sep 032015

Autopsy-After the Cutting

 

I find myself in Alaska this morning, preparing for a day of toil for my fucking day job. This means that posts on our putrid site will be scarce today. I’m also behind (again) in putting together round-ups of news and new music. Before I have to immerse myself in what I’m paid to do, I thought I would at least compile a selection of things I spotted over the last couple of days — and this selection is based principally on the attractiveness of the album art.

AUTOPSY

As announced yesterday, the almighty Autopsy have two new  things headed our way. First, on November 13 Peaceville Records will release a jumbo set entitled After the Cutting that includes four discs “full of classics, new tracks and previously unheard rarities from deep within the band’s own archive”. This special release will also include “an expansive book penned by Dennis Dread recounting the career of the gore legend, featuring unseen photos and exclusive artwork”.

Wes Benscoter again handled the Autopsy artwork for After the Cutting. As you can see, it’s sick.

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