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

Here are a trio of randomly chosen new things I discovered over the weekend.

ILENKUS

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).

Aug 152014

Here are a trio of discoveries I made last night and early this morning that I believe will be worth your time.

WINTERFYLLETH

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…

Aug 142014

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.

HETROERTZEN

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.

Jul 242014

The people at A389 Recordings may have temporarily lost their minds, but their lost sanity is our gain. First, at the A389 webstore all orders are 25 percent off this week with the following code: A3892014MIXTAPE. Second, all downloads at the label’s Bandcamp site are set to free/pay what you want for the week as well.

And third, A389 has released a free mixtape that includes more than 50 tracks by a host of excellent bands — and many of the tracks are brand new.

I don’t recognize the names of all 50+ bands, but I sure do recognize a lot of them, and it’s a great list — the kind of list that makes you eager to explore the names of the bands you don’t know.

May 202014

In our continuing efforts to make you aware of high-quality free metal, we bring you new free shit from the dependable Hells Headbangers label. Today, the label made available on Bandcamp a free digital compilation of music from 21 bands, including brand new and upcoming songs from these groups:

Midnight
Children of Technology
Gouge
Barbatos
Nunslaughter
Cemetery Lust
Sacrocurse

Fans of the underground arts will also recognize many other names on this vile offering (the track list is at the end of this post), including bands as diverse as High Spirits and Inquisition.

May 182014

For those who may be unaware of Misantrof ANTIRecords, it’s a nonprofit organization headed by Daniel Vrangsinn of Carpathian Forest that among other things distributes music for free download, allowing the artists to keep all rights to their own music. Misantrof’s latest release is Oriental Flavors, a free compilation of songs by 19 metal bands from countries across the Middle East. The comp was assembled in collaboration with Middle Eastern Mayhem and Mohareb Records, and it’s also available from Misantrof as a limited 2-CD set for fans who prefer a physical format.

Making extreme metal and getting it noticed is a challenge almost everywhere, but as Vrangsinn observes in his introduction to Oriental Flavors, doing that in certain parts of the Islamic world can be downright dangerous to the welfare of the bands. But as this comp demonstrates, metal lives and grows in even the most inhospitable places.

The music is described by Misantrof as a mix of black metal, death metal, thrash, “and other kinds of lovely extreme metal from extreme people, for extreme people!” Of the bands on the comp, I was previously familiar with only one — Tunisia’s Barzakh, who were included in a series on North African metal that I wrote almost four years ago (here).

I only discovered the existence of Oriental Flavors this morning (it has just been released), so I haven’t had a chance to listen to all of it yet. But I have taken the liberty of uploading three tracks to our Soundcloud so I can stream them for you here, as a sample.

Apr 302014

Your humble editor has fallen down on the job. Due to a variety of personal and work-related interferences I haven’t been as diligent as I would like in spotting and writing about new developments in the wide world of metal over the last couple of days. With luck, I can do some catching up today, beginning with this collection of items that I thought were worth your attention.

INCANTATION

How many times have you seen Incantation’s name as a reference point for releases by new death metal bands? Dozens of times? Hundreds? I know I’ve used them many times myself in attempting to capture a certain kind of sound in writing about the music of more recent groups. And now we have new music from Incantation themselves.

But before getting to that, is that album artwork cool or what? It’s by the phenomenally talented Eliran Kantor, whose work we’ve praised frequently at this site. We’ve obtained a hi-res version of the cover, which you can see in all its glory by clicking on the image above.

The album’s name is Dirges of Elysium and it’s due for North American release by Listenable Records on June 24. The song that premiered yesterday is named “Carrion Prophecy”, and man, it’s a monster — monstrous pounding riffs that ooze radioactive sickness, monstrous abyssal growls, and an atmosphere of monstrous menace. When the song begins to gallop and race, heads will bang hard, and when it descends again into a pit of decay and depravity, you may feel tumors begin to thicken your organs.

Apr 092014

MISCELLANY is probably the most irregular of the regular features at NCS.  Though I’ve found that it’s a good way to discover new music, I often let weeks or months go by before revisiting the series. But this week there will be an unusual burst of activity. I have the 65th edition today, and both the 66th and 67th editions are in various stages of completion. With luck, I will post them over the next two days — three in a row!

Here’s how the game works: I pick bands whose music I’ve never heard, usually focusing on under-the-radar groups whose names I’ve never heard before either. The selection process is random; for these three editions of the series, I tended to focus on bands who’ve written us recently. I try to limit my listening to a song or two and then write my impressions, while streaming what I heard so you can form your own opinions. I don’t know in advance whether I’ll like the music, so there’s an element of surprise involved (good or bad). For this listening session I investigated the music of three bands.

NIHILO

Nihilo are from Switzerland. They’ve released three EPs, as well as a previous full-length (2010′s Concordia Perpetua). In March of this year they released a new album entitled Dum Spiro Spero, which features cover art by Paolo “Madman” Girardi, and was a promising sign, all by itself.

Mar 212014

(In this post DGR takes us on a globe-hopping tour of recent releases that fall within the varied realms of doom.)

It’s hard to believe that it is already March. Of course, I say that every year because February feels like a bullshit month with its short amount of days, but still. Sacramento has decided to park its hot ass right at about eighty degrees for the next week or so, yet I still find myself feeling bleak and down. Maybe it was the promise of grey skies and rain, but I found myself surfing the web seeking out doom in all its various forms and today I’d like to share with you some of the discoveries that I made.

A couple were found by just wading through circles on Facebook and by the random band button on Metal-Archives, which is always an interesting experiment in its own right. You could probably do a whole feature on that some day with the right amount of time and investment. As I wrote this over the past week or so, I kept adding more and more bands that I was coming across and wanted to talk about, so I apologize if this gets a little too verbose, but I figured it might be worth it to concentrate a bunch of smaller reviews into a post than spread out a bunch of giant tomes on a group of really good EPs.

Plus, maybe we’ll expose people to multiple groups in this one post. On top of that, I’m going to add in a little mini-review of an artist we’ve covered before in one of our ‘free music’ updates — as they released a new album earlier this year and it’ll be a good change of pace from all the roiling waters and restless seas you’re about to get dragged through. If anything, the tempo change will probably be appreciated.

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