The Monolith Deathcult, with whom all loyal NCS readers are amply familiar because we talk about them so much our lips are chapped, are offering a limited-edition box set that isn’t really a box set because it has no box, but does contain these items: Tetragrammaton (2013) 2-LP in 180 grams clear vinyl in gatefold design; Trivmvirate (2008) 2-LP in 180 grams clear vinyl in gatefold design; Obliteration of the Despised Promo (2002 – sold out!) LP in 180 grams clear vinyl; a heavy duty carrying bag for carrying items that need carrying; and a limited “crest” design T-shirt.
But lest you think we’ve become shills for band mercy, the real reason I’m posting about this isn’t the merch (though I’m sure TMDC would appreciate your buying all this shit here), it’s the TMDC product announcement. It’s good. It’s funny. So I thought I’d share it. Because I can:
Hand-pressed in a sweat shop by forced child labour. Purchasing this item ensures that one community in an emerging economy will live in a pit of toxic sludge and abject poverty for at least 15 years. Made from 100% unrecycled material from unrenewable sources. Only slighly lethal to aquatic mammals. Do not use as a toy. Observe proper safety instructions when handling. Keep out of reach of children. Use only in a well-ventilated area. Exposure to this box-but-hey-it’s-not-a-box-box set may cause joint pain, nausea, head-ache, or shortness of breath. You may also experience muscle aches, rapid heartbeat, and ringing in the cars. If you feel faint, call your doctor.
I’m still on vacation, and probably should be vacationing instead of spending time on the internet catching up on what’s been happening in the world of metal. Honestly, I expected that nothing would be happening without me there to notice it. You can imagine my shock and dismay in discovering that the world continues to turn even when I don’t pay attention to it. Something is seriously wrong.
Honestly, I didn’t try to dig too deeply into what I’ve been missing, but I did manage to fight through my depression and found a batch of recent things worth mentioning before returning to fucking off.
The last time a band’s merchandising ploy pulled me up short was when Ghost B.C. started selling dildos and butt plugs. But it happened again yesterday when, thanks to a link sent my way by The Autistic Metalhead, I discovered that Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse had started selling their own brand of pasta. It’s true. They’ve got four varieties and they’re shipping worldwide. In my case, it would cost 28 Euro, plus 20 Euro for shipping and handling.
Are you like me? Do you think packing for a long trip is much more fun if you wait until the last minute and then scurry around like a rat with rabies, thereby increasing the odds that you’ll forget a bunch of things and then feel like a dumbass when you get where you’re going? Yeah, I thought so. Everyone loves to do that. Which is why I’m sitting here banging out this round-up of diverse new items I saw and heard over the last 24 hours instead of packing for my vacation trip, which begins . . . (shit!) . . . in a few hours.
I saw that Profound Lore’s first release of 2014 will be the much-delayed third album by Chicago-based Avichi, Catharsis Absolute, which was recorded by Andrew Ragin (The Atlas Moth) and mixed by Sanford Parker (Nachtmystium, Twilight). The official release date is January 21. This album will be entirely the solo work of Andrew “Aamonael” Markuszewski (also in Lord Mantis). PL has also begun streaming one of the album’s new songs, “Lightweaver”.
“Lightweaver” is a study in winding the coil and then letting it go. Avichi builds the tension, ratcheting it upward with storming, tremolo-picked scales . . . and then lets the storm break in a rocking beat with a bounding bass line . . . and then proceeds to tighten the spring again. And so it goes, back and forth. And through it all, Aamonael howls like a winter wolf while weaving a trilling (and thrilling) guitar melody, chaining together chaos and something approaching beauty. Listen next:
(NCS contributor Austin Weber has delivered unto us a three-part introduction to new and forthcoming releases by 7 bands. In this first part, he focuses on The Conjuration and Order of Leviathan.)
The end of the year is usually a slower time for new music releases, a time when much alcohol is consumed and countless amounts of money are wasted on bullshit soon forgotten. But fortunately I’ve got plenty of releases and new songs to catch up on and spread the word about.
I wrote about them a few months back regarding their 2012 release The Human Condition, an unhinged album with a schizophrenic avante-garde meets progressive take on death metal unlike anything I’ve heard before. Recently a new album titled Surreal was announced, with a release date coming up soon, sometime in December. They just premiered “Capricorn” through their Facebook. In addition to that track, sole member and composer Corey Jason sent me another track to check out called “Kaleidoscopic Thoughts”.
“Capricorn” starts in a keyboard meets groovy death metal interlocking mass before transitioning to thrashy blasting death metal that is soon layered in the same keyboard flourish that starts the song. As per how The Conjuration usually structure their music, the song suddenly splinters off to somewhere new, which is a tantalizing heavy groove that lasts for only a moment.
In the daily discourse about metal, whether it be online, in print, or in face-to-face conversations, it’s common for the music to be described in physical terms. In fact, I can’t think of any other genre of music where fans, critics, and musicians so frequently discuss and describe what they’re hearing by reference to the physical sensations that the sound triggers in their imaginations.
For example, when someone describes a song as “galloping”, most metal heads immediately have at least a general idea about the pace and rhythms of the music. And that word is always the first one that springs to my mind when I listen to China’s Tengger Cavalry — and not just because the word “cavalry” appears in the band’s name or because their music is so heavily influenced by Mongolian culture, in which the horse occupies such a central place (The Font of All Human Knowledge tells us that nomads living in the traditional Mongol fashion still hold more than 3 million horses, which outnumber the country’s human population).
Tengger Cavalry have completed recording a new album entitled Ancient Call that will be released on February 1, 2014, and thanks to a tip from my NCS comrade DGR, I learned that they’ve just made it available for pre-order on Bandcamp and have started streaming two new songs (which can be downloaded immediately by those who pre-order the album).
Even before today, next year’s edition of the Maryland Deathfest had already been shaping up as a truly stunning festival. But about an hour ago MDF announced a slew of additional confirmed appearances that further increase the stun power — and they’re still not finished. Check out the list of bands announced today:
DARK ANGEL (One of only a few US shows)
TRIPTYKON (Switzerland) – (Exclusive US appearance)
CRIPPLE BASTARDS (Italy)
LEFT FOR DEAD (Canada)
For reasons I won’t bore you with, over the last 24 hours I haven’t been able to devote my usual efforts to scouring the world of metal for new sightings and hearings. However, with a little help via links from friends, I did compile the following brief round-up of items that are very much worth mentioning.
The first item is at the top of this post. It’s the cover, released today, for the next album by Kampfar — Djevelmakt, which appears to mean “devilpower” in Norwegian. This is noteworthy for two reasons: First, because Kampfar chose a painting by the masterful Zdzisław Beksiński for the cover art. And second, because Kampfar is an excellent band, and whatever they do next will be worth hearing.
(NCS contributor Austin Weber brings us news of a new label signing and a new single from littledidweknow.)
A few months back I wrote here at NCS about a talented local group from my hometown of Louisville, KY, called littledidweknow. At the time, they had just released their lengthy spectacular debut called Lucid Happenings. Now a few months later, and Subliminal Groove Records just announced that they have signed littledidweknow.
A guitar playthrough for a new song called “Permagrin” was released to accompany this signing announcement. This song gives us more of their chopped-up presentation of metal, both technical and brutal, and quite groovy with piercing death metal outbursts spiraling out of control while erupting with vicious vocal assaults and some excellent tapping- and shred-accompanied breakdowns:
Yesterday I came across new music from four bands with whom I hadn’t previously crossed paths. I really liked what I heard and hope you will, too. Part of what makes this quartet so appealing is that none of them sounds like any of the others, and together they give us another reminder about the amazing diversity of metal as an art form.
TOWERS OF FLESH
Towers of Flesh are a three-man band from the UK who released their debut album in 2010 (The Perpetual Paradox). All three of the band members (Anil Carrier, Tom Hinksman, and Jack Welch) have been active in other projects, but they have now managed to complete a new album entitled Antithetical Conjurations, which is projected for release in early 2014. It’s adorned by an eye-catching cover panting by Aisha Louisa Al-Sadie (edited by Bryan Hancox).
Yesterday the band released a sampler of music from the new album. I didn’t know what to expect, since I hadn’t heard their first album, but man, the sampler sounds excellent — a blend of of melodic black metal and death metal elements with dark, reverberating guitar melodies that are attention-grabbing even after only a few seconds, and plenty of low-end thunder.
Guess what? NO CLEAN SINGING is four years old today. That’s right, we made our first post on November 21, 2009. There’s a word for metal blogs who are still around after four years. They’re called “survivors”. “Stubborn” and “too dumb to quit” would be alternative descriptions. Many other metal blogs who started around the same time we did (or even later) are no longer with us. We’re still very happy to be here.
My two original co-founders fell by the wayside long ago (though rumor has it, one may be making a guest appearance in the near future). In their place I’ve been very lucky to work with the four dudes who have helped keep the site going and growing over the last two or three years. For the hell of it, I went back and identified their first appearances at NCS.
Andy Synn’s first post was a review of Dimmu Borgir’s Abrahadabra on September 23, 2010. BadWolf’s first post came on November 15, 2010 — a review of Terraphobic by Dagon. TheMadIsraeli made his debut with a review of The Interbeing’s debut album Edge of the Obscure, published on May 11, 2011. And DGR’s first post was a series of year-end lists on December 28, 2011. I’m proud to call all of them friends as well as colleagues, and I’m so grateful they’ve hung in there with me.