Jan 162018

 

I had originally planned to get a SHADES OF BLACK post ready for today since I couldn’t do it on Sunday (or yesterday), and I might still finish it before I turn into a pumpkin today. But instead I decided to begin this Tuesday with a collection of other things I spotted over the last 24 hours in the midst of the flood of new metal that’s been rushing out on a daily basis since the first of the year.

MOURNFUL CONGREGATION

More than six years after their last album and almost four years after their last EP, Australia’s Mournful Congregation will release a new album named The Incubus Of Karma through 20 Buck Spin on March 23rd. This morning those details were revealed along with the album art — and the album’s first single, “Scripture of Exaltation and Punishment“.

Jan 152018

 

In 1983 the U.S. Congress passed a bill by a veto-proof majority, subsequently signed into law by President Reagan, establishing Martin Luther King Day as an American federal holiday. It’s being observed here today in the U.S., though one wonders whether such a law would have been passed by the current Congress or signed by the current President, what with all the talk about shitholes and such.

Here in our own metallic shithole we’re conducting our own kind of observance, the kind that doesn’t depend on Acts of Congress or presidential largesse, but only on the continuing brain-blasting creativity of metal musicians, which seems never-ending. The torrent of new music since shortly after New Year’s Day has been kind of staggering. I may have to try to do one of these round-ups every day this week in an effort (one doomed to failure) to keep up.

VENOM PRISON

My colleague Andy called Venom Prison’s debut album Animus “nothing less than a neck-wrecking explosion of audio ultra-violence that fans of Dying Fetus, Cryptopsy, and Cattle Decapitation should already be salivating over”. Roughly 18 months after that all-killer, no-filler advent, Prosthetic Records will reissue the album on February 23rd. To pave the way, the band released a new video late last week (via Revolver mag) for a track off the album called “Immanetize Eschaton“.

Jan 082018

 

For the second year in a row, NCS is proud to co-present Northwest Terror Fest, which will take place this year on May 31 – June 2 in Seattle, Washington. We and our co-conspirators in the NWTF crew have been gradually releasing the names of bands who will appear this year, but today we’ve revealed the entire line-up, which in our completely objective opinion is wonderful. And the revelation of the full line-up is timed to coincide with the launch of further ticket sales, following our sale of limited early-bird passes last year.

Here’s a tip: Act quickly, because the ticket sales began at the moment this post appeared — 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time — and we expect the full three-day passes will sell out fast. Info about how to acquire tickets is down below.

And now, let’s talk about that line-up. As you can see, thanks to the festival poster created by Becky Cloonan, the three headliners for the three nights of NWTF 2018 are Panopticon, Integrity, and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. They are supported by a stellar group of other bands, and we’ve organized them all below according to the dates of their performances and the venues.

Jan 062018

 

I had a very busy week, both on and off our site, so busy that I wasn’t able to cobble together a round-up of news and new music. However, I did try to keep abreast of what was coming out, and my list of intriguing tracks that appeared over just the last week is YUGE — so YUGE that I’m afraid I’ll have to resort to an OVERFLOWING STREAMS post on Monday, one in which I don’t do anything but just stitch together new music streams and release details without commentary.

But I decided I would do something for today as a head-start (in addition to working on a SHADES OF BLACK post for tomorrow), and here’s what I’ve done: I picked the latest recommendations from three of my NCS colleagues, and then added one of my own, which happens to be the latest new song premiere that I’ve listened to. But first, a news item…

PANOPTICON

A few days ago the administrator of Panopticon’s official Facebook page posted the artwork you see above, along with these few words: “Slip case cover for the new double album. the scars of man on the once nameless wilderness. Out in March on Bindrune Recordings in the USA and Nordvis in Europe. Art by Hanna Larsson of Sólfjall Design.”

Jan 062018


artwork by Kali 15

 

Our LISTMANIA 2017 series isn’t over yet, though it will be soon. I have five more lists to publish for sure, and I hope a sixth one I’m eager to see will arrive soon, but we should be finished during this coming week. And I’ll also begin rolling out my list of 2017’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs next week as well.

But having said that, we’re also looking ahead to what 2018 will bring us… and of course a huge flood of additional releases is headed our way. We’ve been in the midst of a metal Renaissance for years now, and it shows no sign of ending.

I spent hours over the last two days assembling a list of 2018 releases (by band name) that I’m interested in, or that I think our readers would be interested in. I scrolled through our overstuffed e-mail in-box, visited label Facebook pages, conducted internet searches, and canvassed a few members of our own staff. And the result of that effort is a list of 112 albums, EPs, and splits. And almost all of them are expected to be released in just the first quarter of the year!

Dec 272017

 

I’m three days late with this week’s edition of SHADES OF BLACK, and still woefully behind in sharing new music in a blackened vein that I’ve discovered over the last month. I’m bound and determined to do at least one more of these features before 2017 is interred in a moldy grave, as long as I’m sufficiently unbound by other distractions.

This particular collection includes one complete new album, advance tracks from two more, some new live videos, and a new single.

EUCLIDEAN

To begin this selection of music, I want to strongly recommend Quod Erat Faciendum, the debut album of the Swiss band Euclidean, which was released on December 21 and came strongly recommended to me by starkweather and by Miloš.

Dec 262017

 

I hope everyone had a good Christmas Day, even if the day itself is nothing special to you. As you may have seen, NCS was alive and kicking despite the holiday, with three premieres yesterday. And we’ll continue to kick for the rest of the week with a rollout of more year-end lists by NCS contributors and invited guests, plus assorted other posts.

I wasn’t able to get a SHADES OF BLACK post done for Sunday, but it’s coming soon… and may be a two-parter, because there’s a lot I want to write about. But to start the six days that remain before New Year’s Eve, I selected three recent songs and one new EP that sound like the antithesis of peace on earth, good will toward men, because I can only take so many demonstrably impotent platitudes of that nature before I have to dose myself with flesh-eating music.

ATOMWINTER

The consumption of flesh commences with a track from Catacombs, the new third album by the German harbingers of total death in Atomwinter. The album will be released by Trollzorn on February 9 (digital, CD, and gatefold LP). And isn’t that a hellishly fantastic album cover?

Dec 222017

 

After a nearly two-week vacation in which I blogged very little, I returned to Seattle late last week and was promptly slammed by my fucking day job, unforeseen personal obligations, bad weather, and a whole bunch of NCS articles to write or edit, including the continuation of our LISTMANIA series, interviews, reviews, and a bunch of premieres. I can’t really say I need another vacation already… but I kind of do.

Anyway, I haven’t written one of these round-ups in 12 days, and I’m way behind in even listening to all the new songs that have appeared since my vacation began 19 days ago. I started working on this collection early this week but decided to include a couple of songs that have appeared more recently. I hope to do more catch-up round-ups this weekend, including a Sunday SHADES OF BLACK feature, because holidays don’t mean shit around here.

PESTILENCE

Roughly four and a half years after their last album, Pestilence will release a new one via Hammerheart Records named Hadeon, and earlier this week Hammerheart previewed the album with a single called “Multi Dimensional“. It didn’t take long for my NCS comrade TheMadIsraeli to send me an alert about the song, wth a positive message.

Dec 172017

 

On Friday night I returned to Seattle after a very nice vacation that lasted nearly two weeks. Thanks to the efforts of my NCS writer comrades, I was able to keep my promise to my spouse that I wouldn’t blog (much) while on vacation. And as a further bonus, the loris horde didn’t burn the NCS compound to the ground while I was gone, though I did notice what seem to be the bones of a few small children strewn behind their barbed-wire enclosure that weren’t there when I left. That seems like a fair price to pay if it avoided an assault on our headquarters.

As I try to get my head back in the game, I count 14 days remaining in 2017, and I thought I’d give you a preview of what lies ahead at NCS before the year dies and we cremate its remains. And because I detest posting anything here that doesn’t include music, I’m throwing in one new song after that.

Dec 122017


Afgrund

 

(Like the good cowboy he is, DGR has stepped forward to handle round-up duty today.)

We at NCS are big fans of posts full of genre whiplash, and this roundup of things that caught our eyes and ears last week will likely be one of those. We try to always keep our giant fish net of news-and-music catching open for stuff to fall in and we like to clean it out whenever we get the chance, even though you would’ve figured that last week things should have slowed down just a bit…you would think.

However, just because it’s close to the end of the year and time for everyone to begin writing up summaries of their favorite albums of 2017, and just because our editor managed to escape from the loris horde encircling the NCS compound for a vacation, does not mean heavy metal got the hint and decided to slow down for a bit. We did here in our little comfortable corner of the ‘net, but that doesn’t mean everyone did. And so we go outside to clean off the radar dish and see what landed in the net over the past week.

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