I pride myself on having a breadth of knowledge that is very wide and very shallow. Sure, I could burrow deeply into particular subjects, and then be able to talk about 2 or 3 things in depth. You know people like that, don’t you? They bore the shit out of you, am I right? Broad and shallow, that’s the way to go (except when it comes to metal, about which I of course have near-encyclopedic knowledge).
For example, I know that statisticians have ways of reaching conclusions about large populations of items or people based on a small sampling of data. They have mathematical formulas for gauging the reliability of the conclusions based on their sample size. And that’s all I know about that. If I knew more, I’d probably bore the shit out of you.
I applied a sampling technique to the two compilations that are the subject of this post, because I didn’t have time to listen to all the songs. I’ve concluded that both comps are hot shit. I have no idea whether the conclusions I reached are valid. Fortunately, you can listen to all the songs before deciding whether to spend your hard-drive space on them — and that’s all you’ll have to spend, because they don’t cost money (unless you want to throw some cash at them out of the goodness of your coal-black hearts).
Today’s e-mails brought news of a just-released digital sampler of music by the reliable Dark Descent label that’s available on Bandcamp for “name your own price” — and it includes a killer line-up of bands on the Dark Descent roster and songs from brand new or forthcoming albums. So, when I label this post “free shit”, I certainly don’t mean to discourage financial contributions toward this label’s praise-worthy work.
After the jump you can stream the entire sampler and find a link to the Bandcamp page where you can acquire this gem for yourself. But first, here’s the line-up of bands, most of whom we’ve previously lauded here at NCS:
Baltimore-based A389 Recordings is hosting a music festival on January 15-17, 2015, to commemorate its 11th anniversary. The show will take place at three Baltimore venues (Sidebar Tavern, CCAS, and Metro Gallery) and will feature performances by 20 bands. The awesome poster for this year’s festival (above) was created by Human Furnace of Ringworm.
To help promote the festival and to salve the wounds of those who will be unable to attend, A389 has made available a free digital compilation called the A389 MMXI Anniversary Bash Soundtrack with songs from all the bands who will be performing at the festival. The soundtrack includes brand new tracks by Ilsa and Genocide Pact, as well as music from Noisem, Full of Hell, Magrudergrind, In Cold Blood, Weekend Nachos, and many more.
I used to write an annual Christmas rant at this site. The first one I wrote, creatively entitled “FUCK CHRISTMAS”, still gets a few hundred new page views around this time every year despite the fact that it’s now more than four years old. I haven’t changed my mind about what I wrote four years ago, but I also don’t really have anything new to say. I guess I’ve also mellowed — somewhat — and now spend more time focusing on things that genuinely are worth celebrating during this season instead of things that turn my stomach. And so it will be today.
In an early display of marketing acumen (to be repeated in many other ways, both before and since), the Church created the festival of Christmas by co-opting and incorporating many of the traditions of various pagan celebrations that had occurred around the time of the winter solstice for many centuries before the birth of Christ. Celebrations of the birth of the Sun, for example, became celebrations of the birth of the Son. And in our time, of course, commerce has successfully co-opted the celebration of the Son, drowning it in an orgy of gift-giving.
But putting all that history to one side, we still have things worth celebrating today that have nothing to do with the traditional trappings and calculated origins of Christmas — time spent with family and friends, and of course, metal! And for me, it seems appropriate to celebrate with some excellent pagan metal, plus a compilation of Anti-Christmas music that costs nothing.
(Austin Weber brings us the premiere — and a free download — of a new song by The Universe Divide from Atlanta, Georgia.)
In their heyday, Canvas Solaris were an instrumental act of considerable skill and prowess, taking a death metal, jazz, and prog-infused path of constructing instrumental metal music that was far ahead of its time. It’s been a few years since that group bit the dust in 2011, though the band is writing new material, but that is a long ways away from coming to life.
What people familiar with that group may not know, is that two of its members, guitarist Chris Rushing and bassist Gaël Pirlot, have been crafting a new instrumental metal vision in their latest group, The Universe Divide. The band previously released an impressive EP in 2011 called Dust Settles on the Odontophobes, and they certainly carry over some of the aggressive nature of Canvas Solaris that is missing from a lot of instrumental metal.
(In this 6th installment of a multi-part piece, Austin Weber continues rolling out recommended releases from his latest exploratory forays through the underground. Previous installments are linked at the end of this post.)
￼￼Let’s start off this installment with the technical death metal band Dungortheb, a French group from the world of Lord Of The Rings that I’ve been a fan of for years. Somehow, in spite of being a massive fan of their first two albums, Intended To… and Waiting For Silence, I failed to realize they had a new record out until recently, when I was checking out the roster for Great Dane Records on Metal-Archives. Seeing their name on the roster inevitably led me to click on the Dungortheb page on M-A where I saw the new album. Luckily I was not too far behind, as this latest release, Extracting Souls, just dropped on August 30th of this year.
Not only is it a continuation of their heavily lead-focused, melodically entrenched, often mid-paced death metal style, but it’s quite an evolution as well. Extracting Souls sees an influx of ￼Death- and Coroner-style thrash influences seep into their sound, giving their latest a Gory Blister-type headbangable take on technical death metal.
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.
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.
Here are a trio of randomly chosen new things I discovered over the weekend.
Ilenkus are five men from Galway, Ireland, whose second album The Crossing will be released on vinyl on September 15. The album is available for pre-order on Bandcamp along with a stream of one song, which can be downloaded now if you make the pre-order. I wrote about that song — “Over the Fire, Under the Smoke” — back in July. It hits hard right from the beginning, with big Mastodonian riffs, attention-grabbing drum rhythms, and clawing vocals. The high-voltage music flashes with jolting, progressive-minded lead-guitar flurries — and then takes a sharp left turn into something dreamlike and drifting before building again, with a rising sense of urgency, into a high burn and then a cooling-off period. Impressive guitar work and an equally impressive rhythm section make this song stand out.
Late last week Ilenkus released a music video for the song, which has racked up over 22,000 views in short order. In a nutshell, it shows one of the band’s three rotating vocalists, Chris Brennan, walking along a Galway pedestrian thoroughfare on a busy day. The camera stays focused on him, and he stays focused on the camera as the crowd flows around him. He’s singing the song as he walks — and from the looks he gets, I’m pretty sure he was actually shrieking and growling the words at full volume rather than lip-syncing (though we’re hearing the studio track in the video).
Here are a trio of discoveries I made last night and early this morning that I believe will be worth your time.
The next album by Britain’s Winterfylleth, The Divination of Antiquity, will be coming our way via Candlelight on October 7 (October 6 in the UK). I’ve been very eager to hear the new music. The first single from the album, “Whisper of the Elements”, was released on August 5, and this morning a lyric video for the song got its premiere.
The music is beautiful, intensely melodic and atmospheric, more so than anything the band have done before, and the nature-cenric lyrics well suit the dramatic emotional power of the sounds. Listen next…
I intended to finish this collection and post it yesterday, making it Part 3 of a big Wednesday round-up of news and new music, but the old fucking day job interfered, and so I’m beginning our Thursday with it. This collection is a bit different from the usual “Seen and Heard” because it includes a couple of items at the end that aren’t new — I’ve just been really drag-ass in bringing them to your attention.
I first came across Hetroertzen last May when I impulsively decided to explore (and write about) some of the releases by an underground Swedish label named Lamech Records. The band are originally from Puerto Varas, Chile, but are now located in Sweden. They have completed recording a fifth full-length album, entitled Ain Soph Aur. It’s currently projected for release on December 6, 2014, in a variety of formats by Lamech Records, Terratur Possessions, and Amor Fati Productions.
In recent days, two songs from the album have been made available for streaming — “Blood Royale” and “The Rose and the Cross”. Both are long pieces, in the seven-and-a-half minute range, and both are very good.