Jul 212017

 

(In the fifth and final part of a week-long series of interviews by Andy Synn, he talks with Scott Mellinger of the Pittsburgh band Zao, whose late-2016 album The Well-Intentioned Virus was reviewed by Andy here.)

Last, but by no means least, in my retrospective on some of 2016’s unsung heroes we have a band who are probably the most well-known out of all five, though still nowhere near enough in my estimation!

After a seven year break Zao returned in 2016 with The Well-Intentioned Virus, their tenth/eleventh full-length album (depending on whether or not you count the 2003 re-recording of All Else Failed), which proved to be one of the finest slabs of music the band had ever produced.

Now, a little over half a year later, I wanted to catch up with the band and welcome them back to the land of the living, as well as grill them on their time away, and what it took to produce an album which may well go down as their magnum opus.

Jul 202017

 

(Continuing his week-long series of interviews focusing on un-sung bands with stellar 2016 albums, Andy Synn today talks with guitarist Piotr Chmielecki of the Polish band Koronal.)

Fit to bursting with twanging, tensile riffs and gigantic, gigawatt grooves, Flicker Away, the debut album by this powerhouse Polish quintet, rapidly rocketed its way to the top of my “most listened to” list soon after I discovered it at the tail-end of 2016/start of 2017.

In fact I loved it so much that I was more than happy to state that I actually preferred it to the new Meshuggah album, The Violent Sleep of Reason… an opinion which I still stand by today!

But whether you’re onboard with that statement or not, I ‘m pretty certain that you’ll still agree when I say that Flicker Away was (and is) one heck of an album, and one which definitely deserved a lot more praise and attention than it actually received.

So, with that in mind, please give it up for Koronal!

Jul 192017

(In the third installment of Andy Synn’s week-long series of interviews, he talked with members of the Vancouver BC band Riftwalker — guitarist/vocalist Miles Morrison, bassist/vocalist Spencer Atkinson, and drummer Zan Petrovic — whose 2016 album Andy reviewed for us here.)

Progressive/Technical Death-Thrash combo Riftwalker wowed a number of people with the release of their debut album, Green & Black, in October last year – and I can only imagine that number would have been even higher if that band hadn’t flown under the radar quite so much.

But right now we have an opportunity to correct that (at least a little bit) by bringing the band another dose of well-deserved attention!

Jul 182017

 

(In the second installment in a week-long series of interviews, Andy Synn talks with members of the Norwegian band Endolith, whose 2016 debut album he reviewed here.)

For the second in this interview series on some of the “unsung heroes” of 2016, we’re travelling to Tromsø, Norway, to discuss Metal and metaphysics with progressive death-groovers Endolith, who released their fantastic debut album, Voyager, in December of last year.

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First question – nice and simple – how are you guys doing at the moment?

Frode: Hello, we are doing fine. In fact we’re actually in the middle of writing our sophomore album, and we’re more than halfway through. We’ve been working continuously since the release of Voyager and it’s looking good!

Spirits are high, and we feel that we are honing our sound further, trimming some of the fat that may naturally accumulate on a debut album, and making perhaps more cohesive material.

Jul 172017

 

(Andy Synn brings us this first in a week-long series of interviews, and today’s initial installment is a discussion with vocalist/guitarist Andreas Schmittful of Germany’s Phantom Winter.)

One of the great things about being a part of a blog like NCS is being able to write about whatever bands/albums you find interesting, with little to no editorial interference, and no real pressures with regards to deadlines or being made to stick to a certain party line.

And that’s not something I take for granted.

Like the man said, “with great power comes great responsibility…”, and, for better or for worse, I have a platform here which means my voice reaches a lot further, and a resounds a little more loudly, than it would do otherwise.

And since I’m going to be rather busy this week due to a combination of day-job and band-life demands, I thought I’d take this opportunity to use that voice and draw attention to a handful of artists whose albums were, through no fault of their own, largely overlooked in the celebratory orgy of 2016’s End of Year listfest… beginning with Germany’s own Phantom Winter.

Jul 112017

 

(On June 9th Agonia Records released In Death, the latest album by the Swedish black metal band Svartsyn. As always, it was all the work of Ornias, this time aided again by the drummer Hammerman. Norway-based Karina Noctum was able to put questions to Svartsyn, and she brings us the results of the dialogue here today.)

 

Svartsyn is a Swedish one-man band that started in 1991 under the name Chalice, renamed Svartsyn three years later, and ever since it has stayed true to the cold and dark Black Metal sound. Svartsyn is at the lifeless heart of Black Metal.

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I think Svartsyn style is kind of trance-inducing, pretty dense. How do you achieve this sound?

I follow my instinct of how I want my sound. I work very hard to achieve this sound.

Jul 102017

 

(After a hiatus in which Comrade Aleks was writing a book about doom, he returns to NCS with this very engaging interview of Cory McCallum, bassist of the Canadian band Olde, whose new album is headed our way next month.)

Olde (first known as Corvus) have provided their crushing down-tuned rumble since 2014. Olde’s place of origin is Malton of God-blessed Ontario… The band is big, they play as a quintet: Doug McLarty on vocals, Chris Hughes and Greg Dawson (who’s known also as a sound producer) play guitars, Cory McCallum is the bass player, and Ryan Aubin is the drummer, coming from Sons of Otis.

Their first record is a full-length album named simply I. Hypaethral Records released it as a 12” vinyl on November 12, 2014. Olde’s debut was a damn focused, tight, and fierce blend of doom and stoner with violent sludgy vocals. They kept well the balance, but they don’t identify the band with any of those things (though their songs contain elements of each). They just tried to write heavy riffs, heavy parts, heavy songs. They aimed for that, and they got it…

Olde’s second full-length Temple is going to be released by STB Records in August (it follows the band’s Shallow Graves EP, released last August). We made a decision to do this interview with Cory McCallum to bring you much information about this release.

Jun 062017

 

(KevinP brings us this interview of Enrico Schettino, guitarist of Italy’s Hideous Divinity, whose superb new album Adveniens was reviewed by us here and is available now via Unique Leader.)

 

K:  How does it feel to exceed expectations with the new album for the second time?

E:  It feels good indeed, if this is what people truly believe. I mean, to exceed expectations sometimes looks like the only way in death metal nowadays. Competition’s insane. And also, people’s judgments leave you disoriented.  This is our life, sometimes we are at ease with the pressure, it compels us to push the envelope.  Some other times, we decide to take a deep breath, a step back, and do our thing:  rewrite, relisten, erase, rewrite. “Ad libitum”.

In other words, I really didn’t know what “expectations” were!  Too many different awkward ideas about how a band should sound today.

Jun 022017

 

(We present Argentinian writer Matías Gallardo’s interview of Oskar J. Frederiksen, vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the Danish band Slægt, whose excellent debut album Domus Mysterium was released on May 5 by Ván Records.)

 

If you already know Denmark’s prodigal sons Slægt then you are aware of the amazing tunes they’ve been putting out since their formation in 2011. If not, then you should know they initially started as a black metal band with ties to the traditional sound of the genre, but mutated into a completely different beast with 2015’s EP Beautiful and Damned, a surprising collection of songs that mixed the dark atmosphere of black metal with the electricity of classic heavy metal heroes like Iron Maiden or Denmark’s coolest granddads Mercyful Fate.

After signing with German cult label Ván Records, this year saw Slægt taking their music to a new level with Domus Mysterium, an album that blends sophistication, aggression, and melody in equal parts and should grant this four-piece a place amongst the most exciting new bands in the extreme metal scene. Oskar J. Frederiksen is the lead vocalist, lyricist, and rhythm guitarist of the band and he kindly answered the following questions for NCS.

Jun 012017

 

(KevinP returns to NCS with another edition in his series of brief interviews, this time talking with guitarist Mikka Lammassaari from the Finnish band Wolfheart, a perennial NCS favorite whose latest album Tyhjyys was released earlier this year and reviewed here.)

 

K: This is now the 2nd album you’ve been a part of after Tuomas [Saukkonen] handled all the duties himself in the debut, Winterborn. So has your role changed since Shadow World?

M: This is a pretty common misconception, since I was already contributing the guitar solos on Winterborn. On Shadow World my role expanded a bit as I wrote a couple songs and was more involved in the guitar recordings.

On the new album Tyhjyys, I had to step back a little bit because my little baby boy was born and I wanted to shift focus more towards life at home. I still managed to squeeze in the founding of one song and got to write the guitar solos, so I´m very pleased with that.

So my role actually got a bit smaller on the new album, but Tuomas did amazing work writing the songs and recording guitars, so all went well.

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